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The Metro Bars & Clubs 2003 Guide
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1875 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell; 408.371.4404

Hours: Daily noon-2am
Crowd Age: 21-40
Music: Cover bands, karaoke and DJ
Decor: Dim neighborhood dive
Signature Drink: Chillum
Amenities: Megatouch video games, TVs

Boswell's is the diveiest of all the bars in the Pruneyard, sporting mirrored beer signs and a giant moose head. The Gents used to play there before Smash Mouth took off, and it's where actor and standup comedian Kevin Pollak used to hang. Cover bands provide the bulk of the entertainment, playing Top 40 hits from multiple decades.

Campbell Billiards
1777 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell; 408.377.9886

Hours: Daily Noon-2am
Crowd Age: 18-late 20s
Music: Jukebox stocked with classic rock, modern metal
Decor: Basic no-frills pool hall
Signature Drink: Beer
Amenities: Pinball, video games, jukebox, Megatouch video game, 24 billiard tables

Dimly lit and sparsely decorated, Campbell Billiards may not score high on ambience, but sharks and guppies alike can find a pool table with their name on it. This place won't break the bank either--tables run $10 an hour for two people, $1.20 for each additional player. Mondays are ladies night, and Tuesdays are tournament night with a cash prize of $100-plus for first place. The hall is open to all ages but does serve beer. Fridays and Saturdays draw the most action.

The Cardiff Lounge
260 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell; 408.374.7477

Hours: Mon-Fri noon-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am
Crowd Age: 20s-30s
Music: Nightly DJs, Fri DJ dance party, with down-tempo, rare groove and deep house
Decor: Ultralounge
Signature Drink: Cocktails
Amenities: Flat-screen TV, T-1 laptop connections

This classic watering hole with the volcanic facade has gotten a major facelift thanks to longtime club promoter Sam Ramirez. No longer the dim and shabby old-school bar favored by locals and rockers, the new Cardiff resembles a swanky lounge--it's bright and modern, with sparkling tiles, elegant lighting, a backlit bar and a DJ station suspended by chains. Silicon Valley's fashionable crowd caught on quickly, designating this hip new lounge one of the trendiest spots in the South Bay, where people dance, sip cocktails and mingle freely.

Effie's Restaurant and Bar
331 W. Hacienda Ave, Campbell; 408.374.3400

Hours: Bar 6am (though it's usually empty until 11am) to 1am or 1:30am
Crowd Age: 35-65
Music: Karaoke
Decor: Hotel cocktail lounge
Signature Drink: Martini
Amenities: Dice

Frilly on the outside, with frosted doors, green-felt walls and tan booths on the inside, Effie's is a comfortable neighborhood bar and restaurant that attracts a variety of professional people. Local real estate agents, mortgage brokers and the like return night after night for a cocktail or two and a turn at karaoke hosted Tue-Sat by Erica.

The Garret
1777 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell; 408.559.7930

Hours: Daily 10am-1:30 am
Crowd Age: Family mix
Music: Nope
Decor: Good-karma pub
Signature Drink: Beer
Amenities: Espresso bar, sports on TV, video game room with pinball

In one form or another, the Garret's been hosting after-surfing or after-softball pizza parties since the '70s. Its newest incarnation sports a small but sociable bar kept cool by brick tiles and shuttered windows. The pizza's great, but it's the personality that draws the regulars.

The Gaslighter Theater
400 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell; 408.866.1408

Hours: Vary; doors for live shows usually open at 6:30pm
Crowd Age: All-ages
Music: Live bands
Decor: Old vaudeville theater
Signature Drink: Beer and wine
Amenities: Outdoor smoking area in back

Most Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for melodrama and vaudeville theater, but other nights throughout the week--including most Thursdays and Sundays--the Gaslighter Theater hosts all-ages rock, metal, punk, ska and indie shows. It's one of the few remaining spaces for minors to catch live bands on a regular basis, attracting a mixed crowd of kids, parents and local-music lovers. This historic venue has a homey feel, and beer, wine and hot snacks are served at the bar.

Katie Bloom's
369 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell; 408.379.9687

Hours: Daily 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-40
Music: Jukebox heavy on pop and traditional Irish/Celtic artists
Decor: Irish pub
Signature Drink: Dirty Redheaded Slut
Amenities: Heated patio for drinking, eating and smoking; big screen TV

Its mostly Irish staff gives Katie Bloom's a stamp of authenticity--furthered by a jukebox stocked with Shane MacGowan, the Cranberries, the Saw Doctors and the Chieftains. Food is served until 10pm, and big booths make an ideal place to socialize or watch sports on the big screen. While the hipoisie things bounce between Katie Bloom's and the new Cardiff Lounge on weekends, Leonard Webb brings out the older crowd for jazz night the first Saturday of every month. Wednesdays feature Brainteaser pub trivia and on Thursdays the dart team plays. The heated outdoor patio here is generally packed with people and pints.

300 Orchard City Dr, Campbell; 408.379.6340

Hours: Daily 11am-1:30am
Crowd Age: 25-49
Music: Thu karaoke, jukebox
Signature Drinks: Chillum and Irish coffee (drink separately)
Decor: North Africa oasis meets sports bar
Amenities: Foosball, darts

The sole survivor from Campbell's 1970s partying heyday, Khartoum combines the friendly character of a neighborhood hangout with the stylish swank of a gracefully aging fern bar. Artfully backlit museum-quality stained glass mural panels wrap the room and depict scenes of rustic Morocco that shimmer particularly well after three drinks. Neon beer signs are a more recent addition.

King's Head Pub & Restaurant
201 Orchard City Dr, Campbell; 408.871.2499

Hours: Bar Sun-Wed 11am-midnight, Thu-Sat 11am-2am; lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-5pm; dinner Mon-Fri 5-10pm; afternoon tea Mon-Fri 2-4pm
Crowd Age: Maidens and distinguished gentlefolk
Music: Mon karaoke, Tue C&W, Thu Celtic night, Fri-Sat live rock, Sun open-mic
Decor: Modern medieval
Signature Drink: Guinness
Amenities: ATM machine, outdoor patio, TVs

With a suit of armor standing at the pub's entrance and British flags and crests decorating the multilevel space, stepping into the King's Head is like stepping inside the great hall of a small castle--and there's a perpetually festive air of revelry permeating the stone surroundings. Smokers hold court nightly on the outdoor patio. Food from the restaurant's menu of traditional British fare, with a generous number of vegetarian options, is served until 10pm.

Murphy's Bar & Grill
2240 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell; 408.379.2654

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: 21+, older by day, younger by night
Music: Occasional DJs, jukebox
Decor: Sporty
Signature Drink: Jolly Rancher Watermelon
Amenities: pool table, dartboard, video game, TVs

What goes better with sports than all-American burgers, dogs or cheese steaks straight off the grill? Murphy's lives by any number of all-American maxims but this one primarily. Wall-to-wall sports memorabilia will make any Oakland A's or Raiders fan feel right at home.

Off the Hook
2369 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell; 408.374.3257

Hours: 11am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-50
Music: DJ every Sat
Decor: Sports tavern
Signature Drink: Diggler
Amenities: Pool tables, air hockey, pinball, darts, widescreen TV

Never mind that the bartender is a Tampa fan, he still serves up a friendly Ankles in the Air at this pleasantly dim, low-key sports bar. They've got Tool right next to Erasure on the jukebox, and the assembly-size backroom has a dance floor where a DJ cuts it up on Fridays. There are darts, pinball machines, 75-cent pool and air hockey. They've even got their very own kitchen in the back serving standard yummy bar grub delivered to your stool so you don't have to miss a second of ESPN 1, 2 or 3 on the TVs behind the bar.

Rock Bottom Brewery
The Pruneyard, 1875 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell; 408.377.0707

Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2am, Sat-Sun noon-2am
Crowd Age: 21-35
Music: CD mixes
Decor: High wood ceilings and cozy booths
Signature Drink: Raccoon Red
Amenities: Ten full-screen TVs, NFL Ticket package for complete football coverage

Come football season, the chaletlike interior of Rock Bottom echoes with the cheers and agonies of die-hard fans. Real agony can be drowned in one of 10 handcrafted beers on tap; every Thursday, the price of solace drops to $1 per beer.

Metro Bars & Clubs 2003 Features

Five Terrifying Minutes of Fame: Friends don't let friends sing, "Dude Looks Like a Lady" ... and other karaoke tips.

Caffeine Nation: A list of coffeehouses--the cream of the crop.

Thanks, Designated Driver!: An appreciation, and some tips, for the nondrinker.

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From the June 19-25, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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