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The Metro Bars & Clubs 2004 Guide
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Mountain View

251 Castro
251 Castro St, Mtn. View
Formerly Pocket's Billiards, the new 251 Castro maintains the pool-room atmosphere of its predecessor, updated with modern décor in blues and reds. In the afternoon, a patron or two sometimes nap on the plush couches while bartenders serve up $2 well drinks, house wines and draft beers. Drink specials vary, but the Apple Kamikaze consistently pleases. Bartender Brian Ebersole describes the crowd as sports conscious and adds, "We're laid-back." Until 10pm, play $5 games of pool, then boogie the rest of the night away to 251's dance tunes. (AB)

Alberto's Salsa Studio and Nightclub
736 W. Dana St, Mtn. View
650.968.3007; www.albertos.com
Nights at Alberto's start out with salsa or swing lessons earlier in the night (around 7pm, depending on the day), and the nightclub opens to the general public for dancing at around 9:30pm. DJs and live musicians play sexy salsa beats and Spanish rock from Thursday through Sunday. (AB)

California Billiard Club
881 El Camino Real, Mtn. View

If pool is a numbers game, California Billiard Club antes up. It has more than 30 pool tables, two English snooker tables, three foosball tables, four televisions, one jukebox and a variety of video games and pinball machines. Hard-core players can participate in tournaments for prize money or browse the pro shop, which sells cues, instructional videos and other pool-related accessories. Though there's a beer and wine bar, the California Billiard Club allows the 18-plus crowd in. Games cost $10 an hour for two, although rates rise for more players. A full kitchen satiates hunger pangs. (AB)

400 Castro St, Mtn. View
Lively with the bold colors and vibrant tastes of Latin culture, Cascal resonates with upscale joie de vivre. Its expansive bar offers a well-developed wine list as well as Latin-inspired cocktails. The Mango-Mint Margarita and the Caipirinha Naranja are among the must-try specialties. Tapas-style appetizers are also served at the bar (the Manchego Cheese is prepared with quince paste and roasted marcona almonds and is to die for). Come on a Friday night, when Cascal presents live flamenco jazz music. (AB)

Kapp's Pizza Bar and Grill
191 Castro St., Mtn. View
Sports fans (at least UC-Berkeley ones) will get a kick out of the fact that Kapp's was founded in 1984 by NFL great Joe Kapp and his brother, Larry, while Joe was still head football coach at Cal. Since Joe presided over Cal when the notorious "play" against Stanford happened, his restaurant serves as a veritable shrine to that indelible moment. (Ironically, Joe is now friends with Gary Tyrrell, the Stanford trombone player whom Cal player Kevin Moen mowed over on his way to the end zone, and they often dine here together.) Offerings include beers, pizzas and pastas, which diners might want to pair with appetizers like zucchini sticks or jalapeño poppers. Mounted over the bar are a plethora of hats, Cal paraphernalia, historic pictures of Mountain View and—what else?—a trombone. (AB)

King of Clubs
893 Leong Dr, Mtn. View
650.968.6366; www.kocbar.com
The King of Clubs is where gay and lesbian revelers from all over the Bay Area come to mingle and meet. On Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, a rather wild version of karaoke goes on, while Wednesdays and Fridays see DJs spinning electronica, house and 80s music. Saturdays are reserved for "Salsa Fever," a Latin mix of dance music including merengue and cumbia. Sometimes called Daybreak Bar (the name of its previous location), this former sailor's bar offers specialty shots and its signature fishbowl drink. There is a cover charge to get in (around $5, but it depends on the day), but the fee grants access to a trendy and uninhibited clientele. (AB)

My Money's on the Guinness: Garth O'Connell and Paul Young bet everyone's Irish at Mtn. View's Molly Magee's.

Molly Magee's Irish Pub
241 Castro St, Mtn. View
650.961.0108; www.fibbars.com/mollys
Molly Magee's wakes the heck up on weekend nights. Irish-accented bartender Seamus McCorry explained that the bar is easygoing from Sunday through Wednesday, but from Thursday through Saturday, there are "kick-ass DJs," and the dance floor turns into a lively singles scene. The bar also has a pool table, a jukebox and an open-air patio with a television. On-tap Irish beer is the drink of choice here, though there are huge wine barrels adorning the walls. (AB)

The Office Bar
820 El Camino Real, Mtn. View
Make sure to pack your voice when you head to the Office; if you're there on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, you'll need it for the karaoke this tiny place is known for. The Office has some friendly quirks (no windows, a full suit of armor standing guard on the liquor wall), but there's lots to do besides karaoke: shoot pool, play darts or pinball, watch a game on a big-screen television or play the lottery. It's all part of a productive day's work at the Office. (AB)

St. Stephen's Green Irish Pub and Restaurant
223 Castro St, Mtn. View
650.964.9151; www.st-stephens-green.com
This traditional Irish pub is decorated with wood and glass paneling, brick walls, and on Thursday through Saturday nights, a mass of people dancing the night away to a DJ's thumping beats. Things are a bit more subdued when patrons tipsy off Guinness try to learn how to jig during Tuesday night Irish dancing lessons. Other notable drinks include Cosmopolitans ($2 on Thursdays), and the bucket o'five Bud Lites ($10 on Thursdays). During the day, hang out and catch a game on one of three massive TVs. (AB)

Shoreline Billiards
1400 N. Shoreline Blvd, Suite C-1, Mtn. View; 650.964.0780
This is another place where amenities reign supreme: 24 pool tables, two snooker tables, two dart lanes (play for free!), five arcade games and a 100-CD jukebox round out Shoreline Billiards' offerings. After sinking the eight ball, throw back one of the bar's specialty import beers or domestic brews. Appetizers and snacks such as French fries, mini-pizza and pretzels are available. The focus, though, lies heavily on playing pool. Equipment is well-maintained, and when players find out they're not as good as they thought, they can take one of Shoreline Billiards' BCA-certified pool lessons. (AB)

The Sports Page
1431 Plymouth St, Mtn. View
The Sports Page clientele love sports. And beer. Which is why there are more than 24 local and international beers on tap, $10 pitchers and two big-screen televisions tuned into notable sports events. The Sports Page actually has a small sports arena of its own: a full-size beach-style volleyball court. When not spiking one over the net, customers can dance to the live-music performances on Friday and Saturday nights, belt one out during Karaoke on Tuesdays or take a wild guess on Trivia Thursdays. The Sports Page also serves casual American food and decent mixed drinks and has two pool tables, video games galore and a heated outdoor patio. (AB)

Tied House Café and Brewery
954 Villa St, Mtn. View
650.965.2739; www.tiedhouse.com
A Mountain View fixture since 1988, Tied House produces its own award-winning beers. On any given day, Tied House has at least eight beers on tap, plus 12 more specialty selections, depending on the season. A favorite among the staff is the Ironwood Dark, a British-inspired brown ale. The 625-gallon brewing tanks add to the appeal of the establishment's spacious wood-and-brick architecture. Tied House also has a pleasant open-air patio (which it calls its beer garden) and a social clientele. (AB)

1313 El Camino Real, Mtn. View
This year-old dive bar was started by local girls Carrie Rogers and Jessica Cohen—the name was their grandfather's idea. Known for having Pabst on tap and for interestingly named specials that rotate weekly, Ugly's attempts to be an alternative to the typical dive bar. "Too many places do the same stuff," Rogers said, so she has coordinated in-your-face events like an anti-Valentine's Day party at the expense of couples and a "6/9" party on June 9. The décor here can only be described as garage-sale kitsch. Rogers and Cohen award a free drink to anyone who brings in an item worthy of hanging on the wall, but Rogers admits, "If it'll hang, it'll go up." (AB)

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

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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