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June 21-27, 2006

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Mountain Charley's

Look at the rack on the one: Stuffed heads—but not stuffed shirts—are always welcome at Mountain Charley's in Los Gatos.

Silicon Valley Bars & Clubs 2006

Los Gatos

Silicon Valley Bars & Clubs 2006:
Intro | Bartender myths | San Jose | Campbell | Cupertino | Los Altos | Los Gatos | Mountain View | Palo Alto | Santa Clara | Saratoga | Sunnyvale | Other cities

#1 Broadway
102 S. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.354.4303

You wouldn't think from the bland exterior, situated in a strip mall, that #1 Broadway in Los Gatos would rock, but rock it does for the 30-and-up set whose lives still have room for partying. This little local bar serves up live music, from local rock and disco bands, on some nights further packing the already claustrophobic dance floor and, this is a rarity in Los Gatos, you can actually take your drinks out on the patio that overlooks the street below for a breather.

180 Restaurant and Lounge
15 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.399.1804

With its swanky industrial interior and surprisingly eclectic culinary choices, 180 restaurant and Lounge has established itself as the hip place to dine and drink in Los Gatos. The menu samples a little bit of everything from contemporary American fare to Asian infused choices and the cocktail selections reflect the chic interior.

Black Watch
141 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.354.2200

Los Gatos' venerable dive bar, the Black Watch has that low-key hipster vibe that belongs in a more urban setting, but that certainly doesn't mean that we're not thankful it's here. You can toss a few rounds of darts or just kick back with friends and you're likely to hear the loud rock & roll music coming out of the Black Watch before you step inside to the dimly lit interior to take part in their signature drink special: a pint glass of kamikazes.

Boulevard Tavern
15043 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos; 408.358.0774

Local Los Gatos bikers hang out at the Boulevard Tavern to inspect the latest offerings from Harley Davidson, swill some cheap beer, listen to some good ol' rock & roll and generally forget that they're in one of the toniest neighborhoods around. The Boulevard Tavern sports this set to capacity nearly every night and is no slouch when it comes to partying.

C.B. Hannegan's
208 Bachman Ave, Los Gatos; 650.395.1233
Home to the largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the area, seriously when that magical March date rolls around if you're not there at like 6am go someplace else, C.B. Hannegan's also gets pretty rocking the other 364 days of the year. Regulars describe this bar as a home away from home and, if you've even been there once, you know exactly what they're talking about.

Carrie Nation's
8 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.354.1771

This mainstay of the Los Gatos bar scene has a little something for everyone and gets it done every night of the week. Carrie Nation's is small and extremely popular with the 20- and 30-year-old crowds and has a backroom with TVs where you can catch all your sports.

The Cats
17533 Santa Cruz Hwy, Los Gatos; 408.354.4020

This little saloon-style bar is nestled at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains as you make your way out of town. The drinks are poured fast and fierce for the slew of regulars who pack in to hear some local folksy live music for the nerves that can't be soothed by booze alone. The quirky exterior and mismatched lighting inside add to the Cats' charm.

Double D's Sports Grille
354 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.6882

A sports haven, Double D's Sports Grille will happily put on any game you want, seriously, even if you don't know what channel it's on, the bartenders will find it faster than it takes you to drink half of your first beer. For this reason, also for their awesome grill works and semiseparate arcade room, Double D's is one of our favorite sports bars to camp out on a Saturday or Sunday scoping the sports action.

Forbes Mill Steakhouse
206 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.6434

One of the most popular culinary destinations in Los Gatos, and across the South Bay for that matter, Forbes Mill Steakhouse knocks the proverbial ball out of the park with its contemporary twists on classic steakhouse cuisine. Also, the bar lounge at Forbes Mill has established itself as a chic watering hole.

Goguen's Last Call
408 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.354.9748

As the name implies, Goguen's Last Call gets packed to capacity at the tolling of the last bar bells, but even before that awful sounding to the end of an evening, this dive bar is teeming with twentysomething regulars and college kids getting their heavy drink on. It features a good selection of draft beers, cheap booze and pool tables.

Johnny's Northside Grill
532 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.6908

Johnny's Northside Grill in Los Gatos makes it incredibly easy to stop in and stay a while, with its many TVs showing any and all sports, its grill works that pump out classic American pub fare, its reasonably priced booze and its back patio complete with a basketball hoop in the parking lot.

210 E. Main St, Los Gatos; 408.354.8290

Kuleto's, a slightly upscale restaurant and lounge, serves up the freshest contemporary Italian cuisine because it changes its menu daily to reflect the exact ingredients that are in season. But don't think that Kuleto's is a starched linen type of place because it maintains this funky vibe in both the restaurant and lounge that compels diners and drinkers to keep coming back.

La Hacienda Inn Hotel
18840 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos; 408.354.6669

Although saddled with a rep as a hangout for the over-50 set, La Hacienda Inn Hotel is a cool joint to kick up your heels in on some wayward night when you get sick of the clubbers downtown. In hopes of drawing in a younger crowd, La Hacienda has started to showcase live music on the weekends, usually a mix of oldies and contemporary rock to keep their regulars and newcomers dancing.

Los Gatos Brewing Company
130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.9929

With a popular roster of handmade microbrews, including some really good seasonal selections, and a menu that not only covers your pub basics but also moves into more contemporary cuisine, Los Gatos Brewing Company has a firm hold on the Los Gatos brewpub scene. Also, LGBC sports a decent happy hour during the week to unwind your work day wind ups and those in the know skip work all together on Tuesdays when happy hour is on all day long.

The Los Gatos Lodge Bar & Grill
50 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd, Los Gatos; 408.354.3300

This tropically themed local bar, located within the Los Gatos Lodge, was touted as the best pickup joint for nearly four decades by authorities more renowned than us, and it is now holding onto that rep by offering good drinks.

Mountain Charley's Saloon
15 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.8880

The place to party hard in Los Gatos, Mountain Charley's Saloon sports two bars that can barely keep up with the demands for booze from the thirtysomethings who pack into this local bar every night of the week, sometimes creating a line that seems to go on in perpetuity. Because when Mountain Charley's has a live band strutting their stuff or when the DJ starts dropping some beats, the dance floor becomes a mass of gyrating flesh that would make Caligula proud.

Steamer's Grillhouse
31 University Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.2722

A great place to start an evening out at or even make an evening of, Steamer's Grillhouse makes you want to kick back and relax while sipping on some selections from its extensive wine and cocktail lists. Also, Steamer's contemporary seafood cuisine never fails to satisfy, compelling one to settle back into the overstuffed chairs for a whole five-courser.

Three Degrees Restaurant and Bar
140 S. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.395.7070

Three Degrees Restaurant and Bar, located inside the Toll House Hotel, has removed the imaginary lines between an upscale, stuffy restaurant and a casual lounge, melding them into one. The cuisine is contemporary Californian using the freshest ingredients available for the chefs to concoct some true culinary masterpieces. Also, Three Degrees Restaurant offers happy hour during the week. featuring drinks and appetizers at prices that belie the upscale, chic surroundings.

Willow Street Pizza
20 S. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; 408.354.5566

Here's a fun fact for you: the Los Gatos restaurant is the only Willow Street outlet that has a bar, and it's quite a scene. Scores of families already know this, as the place is packed all the time. It's also the most delicious nouveau pizza around, but that's another story.

Wine Cellar
50 University Ave, Los Gatos; 408.354.4808

Once only known as a secretive little spot for fortysomething romantics, the Wine cellar has been exposed and the younger crowds are moving in to get their taste of the hipper sophisticated life or, as one colleague put it, maybe they're searching for their own Mrs. Robinson.

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