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Mission Ale House

Reviewed by Ami Chen Mills

Our friend, we'll call him Jake, misses the old days--when the Mission Ale House was Dot's. "It was great, and funky and bizarre. There were a lot of people here with no teeth." Jake, slightly buzzed, has decided to give the newly respectable replacement joint a once-over. Still looks like a corner dive from the outside, but for those who prefer to hang with a dentally insured crowd, the Mission Ale House offers the sort of Old World detail any discriminating bar hopper can appreciate.

Gone are the flea-market castoffs that once decorated Dot's. Gone, too, are polite society's castoffs. "They're all outta here," says the nicely chiseled barkeep with a low growl. Instead, find a young, professional set sucking on stogies--sold from behind the Honduran-wood bar. A stunning mahogany bar back rises along the wall like a specter of worksmanship past, its delicately crafted shelves gleaming with a multitude of clear, green, golden-hued bottles of amber and crystal liquors--many of them premium and vintage.

The spiffy chrome tap offers fully 24 brews--"I like the beer selection," grants Jake--and in its pre-expansion stage, the Mission Ale House is still cozy, with two TVs in its high corners, four long-legged tables, generous drinks, a full food menu, dart board, lazy overhead fans and the latest Top-40 tunes (Seal, for example) booming from its speakers. In a few months, the place will curve into the building next door and expand into a pool hall and outdoor beer garden with live music. And Jake will have more getting-used-to to do.

97 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose (408/292-4058).

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From the June 13-19, 1996 issue of Metro

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