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The Metro Bars & Clubs 2004 Guide
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Los Gatos

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

This is one of a handful of Los Gatos bars perched two stories up, high above the center of a town that looks, but never is, sleepy. Situated in a multiunit building better suited for dentist and insurance offices, Numero Uno attracts crowds in their 30s and up with happy popular rock and disco bands. When the spacious dance floor heats up, the sweaty can dry off on a balcony overlooking Santa Cruz Avenue, and they can bring their drinks—a rarity for LG patios. Expect a cover charge on hot nights. (JT)

iPod and a Shot: The Black Watch's Kamikaze's set the tune for a night of hard-driving music.

Black Watch
141 1/2 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Belying this small pub's dark and somewhat scary exterior is a darker and much scarier interior. But belying that is a lively and comfortable crowd that often includes the young and hip, hard-driving rock and blues music powered by an iPod and Lord of the Rings pinball. Oh, and this seedy standby's signature drink? A sweet and pretty Kamikaze pint poured daintily into your shot glass. (JT)

Boulevard Tavern
15043 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos
408.358.0774; www.blvdtavern.com
Is that a dog in the bar? Yes! That's Luke, the rambunctious black lab. The other furry regular, Angus, isn't here tonight, but the rest of the cast is, including Mike, the affectionate, tank-top-wearing, inside-the-bar smoker who likes occasionally to be hosed down with the bar gun. Luckily, the bartender, Cody, is game, if he's not busy spitting fire or pouring a salacious shot he has yet to name, although he's thinking Sex on the Dryer. They say it's a former biker bar, although the "former" seems not to fit. If there aren't Harleys outside, they must be in garages somewhere, waiting for their owners to walk home once Cody kicks them out with a smile and a friendly "F-you." (JT)

Carrie Nation's
8 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
The utility hitter of the Los Gatos bar scene, this small and popular place can play every role necessary. Its medium lighting and simple, tasteful décor (framed pictures! In a bar!) make it a quality candidate for before- or after-dinner drinks. In the back, a big screen and other TVs and a decent-sized seating area are Super Bowl party-ready. Its proximity to other bars and popularity among cab drivers make this a popular place for young, sharp-featured folks to get regrettably drunk and hook the hell up, for once. (JT)

The Cats
17533 Santa Cruz Hwy, Los Gatos
This saloon, cuddled against the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains on the highway, sneaks up on drivers like a morning alarm clock. But once inside, quickly poured beverage in hand, patrons can be lulled into a dreamy rest by the hovering-low ceilings, faint lighting and, often, live folk or other music. The mismatched chandeliers and Adventure Land exterior only add to the charm. (JT)

C.B. Hannegan's
208 Bachman Ave, Los Gatos
408.396.1233; www.cbhannegans.com
This thoroughly Irish restaurant and bar, one waitress says, "is either the first stop or the last stop" for many patrons, including its roster of steadfast regulars. No music plays at this split-level pub, so chatter serves as the soundtrack. The outdoor patio, complete with fireplace, allows visitors a way to change up the scenery, which one regular says "feels like home—with green aprons." (JT)

Double D's Sports Grille
354 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
408.395.6882; www.doubledssports.nv.switchboard.com
With 22 TVs, every channel imaginable and impeccable service, Double D's is widely regarded as the best sports bar in the South Bay. Whether it's a Sharks playoff game or a tape-delayed square-off between the Rhein Fire and Berlin Thunder, the smiley staff here will find a TV, find the channel and find you a beer—fast. A menu of great variety and a semiseparate game room make D-squared a happy destination for kids and families. For dads, it's heaven. (JT)

Goguen's Last Call
408 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Ample and comfy seating help this dive bar live up to its name as a solid place to spend last call or the several hours before. A cast of regulars in their late 20s and up hold court at the bar and out front of this strip-mall watering hole on the dark end of Santa Cruz Avenue. But swarms of college-aged locals and others are known to invade the bar, its pool tables and tasty selection of brews. (JT)

Forbes Mill Steakhouse
206 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Forbes Mill is full of surprises. First, owners Dean and Darin Devincenzi—the visionaries responsible for the nearby Double D's Sports Grille—beat the odds by transforming the old Stovie's Pasta & Pizza location into one of the most popular culinary destinations in the South Bay. Now, Forbes has taken over the title of hottest watering hole in Los Gatos. Young, well-dressed, thirtysomethings drink pricey cocktails and chat each other up while unwinding after a long day and enjoying a trendy selection of specialty drinks such as chocolate and banana Martinis. (JH)

Johnny's Northside Grill
532 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Keeping an eye on the game, the match, the tourney and the race is no sweat from every seat in this small bar and grill—there's even a TV on the patio out back. And if watching the game won't hook the kids' attention, they can hit up the convenient basketball hoop in the back parking lot. At Johnny's, regulars cozy up to the bar to share a beer and a tale while families flood the patio after baseball games or family outings. (JT)

210 E. Main St, Los Gatos
408.354.8290; www.kuletoslosgatos.com
Slightly upscale but funky, Kuleto's attracts the established and the soon-to-be. It's of medium size, this restaurant/bar, but curtains and pillars slice it into smaller, more intimate and digestible pieces. The tones are safari, but the angles are sharp and give the joint a sense of importance. (JT)

La Hacienda Inn Hotel
18840 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos
408.354.6669; www.lahaciendainn.com
Stationed among the trees, between the downtowns of Los Gatos and Saratoga, La Hacienda has a reputation for attracting the older-than-50 crowd. But some there are looking to kick that rep, and they hope the Friday and Saturday live music can do the trick. A mix of oldies and contemporary rock draws a steady crowd of regulars who get loose on the dance floor and cool off on a covered patio. (JT)

Los Gatos Bar and Grill
15 1/2 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
The spacious upstairs spot often serves as a staging ground for Mountain Charley's Saloon, which is just across the hall. But LGBG, which closes shortly before 1am most nights, can be a destination of its own. College-goers and young professionals in well-fitting jeans take full advantage of the bar's many amenities, including a well-stocked jukebox, two pool tables, a big-screen TV usually locked on ESPN and a cool-down/smoking deck. Like every other bar in the universe, beautiful and/or rich people have the biggest chance of scoring here. But even average people, especially those in well-fitting denim, stand a chance. (JT)

Los Gatos Brewing Company
130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
408.395.9929; www.lgbrewingco.com
A popular roster of seasonal homemade beers and engaging staff make this classy, hangar-sized restaurant/bar a great choice for drinks or food—especially during happy hour, weekday afternoons and all day Tuesday, when those beers are a buck cheaper and the pub menu is 30 percent off. Plenty of TVs allow for keeping an eye on the Giants game during a casual yet lively yet romantic yet highly efficient first date. (JT)

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

Perhaps the place to party hard in the LG, Mountain Chuck's provides twenty- and thirtysomethings a solid chance to hook up, or at least to strike out trying. Overlooking the town's main drag, two full bars can't quell the booze-thirsty crowds here, where the dance floor is packed from Tuesday to Saturday. Live bands blast funk, rock and pop on Fridays, but partiers really swamp the floor when the DJ drops in with 50 Cent or Eminem. DJs spin Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, too, and every night but Wednesday will cost you $8 and sometimes a lengthy wait in line. Slipping a twenty or flirting endlessly could—could—score a quick and easy entry. But don't bet on it. (JT)

Steamer's Grillhouse
31 University Ave, Los Gatos

Settling in for hours here isn't out of the question, with a warm red wine or a crisp El Agave Margarita (Herradura Silver, Citronge Orange and fresh-squeezed orange juice) in hand. The colors are earthy, the chairs padded, the ceiling sweeping with curves, the music often smooth and loungelike. On the weekends, party-goers warm up at Steamers before frolicking into downtown for a night of fun. (JT)

Wine Cellar
50 University Ave, Los Gatos
408.354.4808; www.winecellar.com
Previous listings have saddled this secretive cellar as a destination for fortysomething romantics. But the young students and graduates, in hopes of finding their Mrs. Robinson, must've gotten wind, because bartenders say the crowd age now ranges from mid-20s to late-30s. The funky drinks, including a cucumber/vodka number and a fresh-squeezed Baja Special, Thursday's free Latin jazz and the once-a-month house DJ probably help attract the South Bay's well-groomed, suede-loafered youngsters to this perfectly lit restaurant/bar. (JT)

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From the June 16-22, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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