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Club Life

Club Barcelona
767 N. Mathilda Ave., Sunnyvale; 408.245.8777

By Christine Lee

Amenities: Flat-screen TVs, DJs, live Latin music
Ambience: Fresh and forward moving, yet still familiar in all the right places

OPENING and reopening under a new name is an age-old tactic used to revitalize a lagging club locale. But after all the dust has settled, there's always that uncertainty—what if new isn't as good? For Club Barcelona, that question is laid to rest—because it's the same.

The old Club Monaco reopened as Club Barcelona but retains its easy Latin dance-party vibe. Catering to the young 18-25 VIVA 105.7 crowd, Barça plays the latest reggaeton, rock en español, salsa, merengue, hip-hop and house on Friday and Saturday nights when it's not hosting concerts by the next hot Latin thing. And like its predecessor, Barcelona can always be counted on to lure the most relevant names in Latin music down to the South Bay. Just a few weeks ago, Julieta Venegas, the most popular Latin pop/rock artist of last year and winner of MTV Latin's 2004 Artist of the Year, made an appearance. In a few weeks rock en español veterans Los Enanitos Verdes will be back for another whirl.

Outside, you still have to crunch through gravel, eke past the taco stand and casually sidestep the lady selling roses and guilt in a bucket to get to the front door. But once you're inside Barcelona, it's night and day—literally. R.I.P. the old light colored backdrop and white chandeliers; say hello to sleek flat-panel TVs against stark black walls. It makes for a much more modern setting, transforming it from that restaurant/bar feel to the mega-dance-hall that its fun-loving patrons have always treated it as. Young 'uns will be happy to know that the 21-and-under crowd is still welcome—as long as you get in your line and stay on the juice dispensing side of the wall.

As the saying goes, out with the old, in with the sort of new. Barcelona takes a step forward much like how reggaeton incorporates hip-hop into its Latin and dance-hall strides.

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From the May 4-10, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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