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June 21-27, 2006

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Metro Bars & Clubs 2006 issue

Metro pool models: (left to right) Antoinette (Toni), Janet, Vicki, Michael, Josie, Ryan

Silicon Valley Bars & Clubs 2006

Pool parties rule. Our Bars & Clubs issue jumps in feet first.

Photographs By Felipe Buitrago

Intro | Bartender myths | San Jose | Campbell | Cupertino | Los Altos | Los Gatos | Mountain View | Palo Alto | Santa Clara | Saratoga | Sunnyvale | Other cities

We love the night life and all, but, man, we are wasted. Every year, the reporting for our annual Bars & Clubs issue is a haze of binge living—every spot to be tracked down and written about on half-soaked cocktail napkins, all colors and combinations of drinks to be imbibed, and of course, no sleep till Last Call. Is that any way to live? Well, yes. But our clothes smell like smoke, and after a while we start to feel like vampires. Not cool vampires like in Lost Boys either; lame vampires like in Dracula Has Risen From the Grave and Has to Go to Work With the Worst Hangover Ever. (Do not look that up on the IMDb; we're just trying to make a point.)

So this year, we raise our glasses to our favorite trend in club life: partying in the daytime. Wet. With scantily clad, totally hot people. The pool party is the feel-good hit of summer, and it's come to Silicon Valley in a big way.

How it got here is a long story. If nothing else, you at least remember something about pool parties from fifth grade. OK, now totally forget about those. The new breed of pool party is adults only, a spillover of night life into the daytime hours. The code word for the biggest ones is often "Cabana," which makes anything sound cool. But whether it's a top-billed event or just in your backyard, it's all the same: night clothes shed in favor of swimsuits (yes, the beautiful people in our photo spread went formal, but that's only because we can't pass up an opportunity for irony), smeared sunblock and lots of splashing.

Credit for wading bravely into these hard-partying waters has to go to Las Vegas, which has made pool parties so popular that it now has an entire cabana season, which opened last month with a record number of hotels competing for your shorts. The original and most famous Vegas pool party is Rehab, every weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel. This is about the most sin you can find in Sin City on a Sunday afternoon—hundreds of people in and around a gigantic pool surrounded by palm trees, beaches and cabanas. It's three acres of the ultimate pool party landscape, with tropical drinks and gambling well within reach. World-class DJs spin, hot bodies writhe and celebrities mix.

The recent sale of the Hard Rock Hotel, and the suggestion that the new owners will be looking for an older clientele, has led to rumblings that the notoriously saucy event may be on its way out. However, judging from last weekend's Rehab, which featured a "Who's Your Daddy Thong-a-Thon," it's not going down without a fight. And it's inspired so many newer pool parties around town that it's practically a victim of its own success—Cherry at Red Rock Casino is now throwing a weekend pool extravaganza, the Venus pool at Caesar's opens to a 21-and-over crowd during the day, Hooters Casino Hotel has a Backyard Bash complete with Swim-Up Bar, and other resorts have announced their intention to contend.

Here in Silicon Valley, the "Wild on Cabana" parties at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto have been wall-to-wall sellouts. The last one, on Memorial Day, was a 14-hour pool party that featured among its DJs Chris Fenton from Fahrenheit and Francisco Murguia from the Vault. With another one in the works, WOC has clinched the title of "Bay Area's biggest pool party."

So find the big splashes, or make your own, but get in on the action this summer. In the spirit of our newfound day-life, we've sunnied up this year's Bars & Clubs and even switched up the handy icons for our listings to match the fun-in-the- sun vibe. See you poolside.

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