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June 20-26, 2007

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Silicon Valley Bars & Clubs 2007


Silicon Valley Bars & Clubs 2007:
Intro | The Barman's revenge | San Jose | Campbell | Cupertino | Los Altos | Los Gatos | Mountain View | Palo Alto | Santa Clara | Saratoga | Sunnyvale

Aqui Cal-Mex
201 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell; 408.374.2784
Like its sister restaurant in Willow Glen, this place carried 40 different kinds of premium tequila, plus skillful infusions of Mexican, and Asian flavors to wow your palate. The brand spanking new Campbell restaurant also has plenty of outdoor seating right out on downtown Campbell's main drag.

1875 S. Bascom Ave in the Pruneyard, Campbell; 408.371.4404
Boswell's is the quintessential local bar in Campbell. Even though it's located inside the Pruneyard shopping center, it hasn't lost any of its old school charm—or pricing structure—from its heyday in the '70s and '80s. You can catch live cover bands starting on Wednesdays and stretching right through the weekend, and nothing goes so well with cheap whiskey and beer as some wannabe rock star belting out tunes on a tiny stage. Seriously though, we've spent some great nights and afternoons drinking at this Campbell local bar, and even remember most of them.

Campbell Billiards
1777 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell; 408.377.9886
Not exactly a bar in the traditional sense because it's open to all ages, Campbell Billiards does serve beer to those of you who are of age from their small snack bar. And the prices for pool—even at the hourly rates—are cheap. There are also video games and pinball for entertainment, and on Sundays, Campbell Billiards hosts a $5 open buy-in tournament where local sharks can brush up on their skills before they aim their cue at bigger fish.

Caper's Eat and Drink
1710 W. Campbell Ave in the Kirkwood Plaza, Campbell; 408.374.5777
Caper's has been providing the Campbell community, and everyone in the San Jose area, with palatable food and drink for a number of years in their sporty confines. Nearly every seat at the bar provides you with a view of a television, and the bartender is always willing to put your favorite team on while you down a brew or cocktail from the extensive house selection.

Cardiff Lounge
260 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell; 408.374.7477
The Cardiff Lounge existed as a scruffy neighborhood bar until it got a modern makeover and cemented itself as the new Campbell hot spot for chilling out and dancing to slick DJ stylings. Even though we loved this local bar in its previous incarnation, shooting stick against the wizened regulars, the new hipster spot is a welcome addition to Campbell's growing nightclub scene.

2240 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell; 408.379.2654
Family friendly restaurant by day and rocking neighborhood bar by night, Coach's provides Campbell with an amicable, relaxing spot to chow down on some nachos or burgers, swill some cheap beer and watch the game. When the game isn't on, Coach's supplants the televised entertainment with a host of other distractions including foosball and darts. On Fridays, the local Campbell wannabe crooners jam into this neighborhood bar to belt out their renditions of all your favorites, while every other Saturday they host hip-hop DJs.

Effie's Restaurant and Bar
331 W. Hacienda Ave, Campbell; 408.374.3400
An older mix of business professionals step into the distinguished dining room of Effie's in Campbell, which is reminiscent of the dining decks on luxury liners from times gone by. The unintentionally retro restaurant features a variety of excellent cuisine to delight the palate coupled with their equally well-prepared cocktails and the extensive wine list.

Elephant Bar
499 E. Hamilton Ave, Campbell; 408.871.8401
It's literally a jungle in the Elephant Bar in Campbell. During one drunken evening there, swilling some South African aphrodisiac called Amarillo Cream, we actually believed we saw Dr. Livingstone hiding in the corner—or maybe it was Jane Goodall. Anyway, the jungle motif at the Elephant Bar is taken to the extreme, providing endless entertainment to the kids that crowd the dining area of this Campbell restaurant and bar. In the bar area, a more adult atmosphere prevails, with TVs showing a variety of sports rather than the Crocodile Hunter (R.I.P.)—although that guy is freakin' hilarious after a few beers.

The Garret
1777 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell; 408.559.7930
Campbell bar regulars happily co-exist with future hall of famers from local Little Leagues at the Garret, which happens to be the best place in Campbell to catch a game, grab a surprisingly wide selection of tasty eats and down some ridiculously underpriced draft beer. Patrons queue up at the counter, cafeteria style, to order anything from pizza and burgers to cheese fondue—yeah, what other neighborhood bar offers cheese fondue? None. The Garret is a favorite hangout of drinkers anytime of the day, but especially for those meeting up for a quick bite before entering the emerging fracas of the Campbell bar scene.

The Heritage Theatre
1 W. Campbell Ave #32, Campbell; 408.866.2797
Located at the Campbell Community Center, the Heritage Theatre has established itself as the place where those loving the fading sounds of golden oldies go to cavort and generally relish a bygone era in well-heeled comfort. The Heritage doesn't sport the hippest of rosters, but definitely has a following among the deep pocket set.

Jersey's Tavern
1781 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell; 408.374.1415
On Sunday mornings during football season, it's almost impossible to get a table at Jersey's Tavern, which bills itself as the West Coast home of the Philadelphia Eagles, for some of their mouth-watering cheese steaks and beer—which is so cheap you can afford to drink here all day. But we swing on in anyway every few Sundays because there's nothing like some heart-stopping food for the morning game. Jersey's is broken up into several rooms, each sporting TVs and deep wooden booths, so multiple games can be shown at once at this Campbell favorite. And, if you don't feel like plopping your butt down at Jersey's, you can always get the cheese steaks to go—just make sure you double bag 'em. Come September, they'll be moving downtown, so keep an eye out.

Katie Bloom's
369 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell; 408.379.9687
As an age-old drinking rule, you must have fun at Irish bars, and Katie Bloom's makes it easy, because this downtown Campbell bar gets extremely packed nearly every night of the week with drinkers of all ages raising their pints to the sounds of some of Ireland's favorite sons and daughters. You can also grab some authentic Irish food from their grill—Katie Bloom's is owned and operated by Irish lads and lassies who've decided to reside in California, even thought hey still consider Ireland "home."

300 Orchard City Dr, Campbell; 408.379.6340
With its large inviting space, numerous TVs broadcasting all major sports, and other entertainment diversions that drinkers love, Khartoum is the perfect local bar in Campbell to spend an afternoon enjoying a few beers and whiskey shooters. We've spent many a day doing just, that and the amicable staff doesn't even care when we stumble a bit across the floor to grab another round from the bar, just as long as we don't actually fall.

King's Head Pub & Restaurant
201 Orchard City Dr, Campbell; 408.871.2499
A favorite local bar to Anglophiles in Campbell and across the South Bay, the King's Head Pub & Restaurant serves up authentic British grub and pints in its rustic two-story interior. Also, the King's Head sports the largest back patio of any bar in Campbell, complete with a pool table for some alfresco billiards and large tables that can accommodate all of your drinking buddies. Live music is also on the bill at this local bar, featuring original and cover bands rocking out many nights of the week.

Left at Albuquerque
1875 S. Bascom Ave #50 in the Pruneyard, Campbell; 408.558.1680
Tequila lovers like us pack into Left at Albuquerque in Campbell because they boast over 75 varieties of that evil little agave spirit to go along with their above average Southwestern culinary selections. The interior looks as if some tornado traveled through Mexico before it hit Texas and then dumped the jetsam down in this local bar, but with all the tequila in your blood, the décor should be the last thing on your mind.

Off the Hook
2369 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell; 408.374.3257
Regulars are attracted to this neighborhood bar because there is so much entertainment provided: pool, pinball and air hockey—ah, air hockey, it culls the weak from the herd and you can play drunk.Off the Hook will even let you shoot pool for free on Sunday nights, and has free appetizers during happy hour; quite generous of them we say. But even better than free pool, Off the Hook has a huge patio out back that has decidedly different seating than you'll find at any other local bar in Campbell, like a freakin' swing glider, which we never get to use because of our high blood-alcohol content.

Rock Bottom Brewery
1875 S. Bascom Ave in the Pruneyard, Campbell; 408.377.0707
It's hard to miss the large water tower looming over Rock Bottom Brewery in Campbell's Pruneyard, beckoning microbrew lovers to pull up a stool and sample their latest offerings. Rock Bottom keeps their five standard brews on tap at all times along with one of three specialty brews, which is dictated by the season. The spacious restaurant serves up some interesting culinary concoctions, and this local bar also has a great patio where you can bring your canine companion, because dogs like beer, too. Other perks at Rock Bottom include a mug club frequent drinkers program, of which we are proudly a member, and they also offer their beer to go in various sizes.

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