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141 1/2 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.354.2200
Hours: Daily, 9am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-55, younger on weekends
Music: Bartender's pick
Decor: Wood with Scottish emblems
Signature Drink: Kamikaze
Games/Amenities: free steel darts, pinball and video games
Ambience: A neighborhood bar by day and a crowded hot spot by night, the Black Watch is home to bikers, locals and college students, all of whom flock to the windowless tavern for a casual, relaxed bar experience. Always entertaining and occasionally rowdy.
The Boulevard Tavern
15043 Los Gatos Blvd, LG 408.358.0774
Hours: Daily, 10am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-40, older during happy hour
Music: Live bands Fridays
Decor: Wood fireplace, hardwood floors
Signature Drink: "Yagermikey"
Games/Amenities: Jukebox, pool table, video games, big-screen TV
Ambience: Formerly known as Otto's, the place has been transformed from a hardcore biker bar into an upscale dive bar. A diversified crowd of professionals, blue-collar workers, doctors and medical students from the neighboring hospitals frequent this lonely outpost on Los Gatos Boulevard. Bad Apple liqueur is a popular refreshment.
42 Elm St, LG 408.395.1599
Hours: Sun-Mon 8am-6pm, Tue-Thu 8am-10pm, Fri-Sat 8am-11pm
Crowd Age: High school to elderly
Music: Jazz quartets, classical
Decor: Rotating art exhibitions, 1930s-'40s vintage
Signature Drink: Café Glasé
Games/Amenities: Backgammon, board games
Ambience: Great place to bring your sweetheart to gaze out at the Los Gatos hills and enjoy drinks of the caffeinated variety. Poetry readings every third Wednesday with open-mic opportunities make it a hopping place for the artistic crowd and retired folks. Crowded in the evenings.
Old Town, 50 University Ave, LG 408.354.8118
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm,
Crowd Age: 35-55
Music: Live music four nights a week, jazz trios on weekends
Decor: Classy--woodwork, copper, carpeting
Signature Drink: Fine wines
Ambience: An award-winning wine list and elegant bar complement this upscale, contemporary California cuisine establishment. A heated patio allows tech execs to sample wines while making deals. White tablecloths are standard, but jeans are acceptable. A warm, comfortable and expensive experience.
8 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.354.1771
Hours: Daily, noon-2am
Crowd Age: Diverse, young on weekends
Music: Rare occasions
Decor: Hardwood, brick, brass and lot of plants
Signature Drink: High-end scotches and martinis
Ambience: Classy but not pretentious, Carry Nations hosts a crowd of regulars in addition to the hordes of young people who crowd the dark bar on weekend nights. Historical pictures of Los Gatos and palm trees decorate the small bar, where businessmen and construction workers drink together.
Highway 17, just south of LG, 408.354.4020
Hours: Tue-Sun, 4:30-whenever
Crowd Age: 25 and up, 30-40 late nights
Decor: Rustic, old wood
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: Some nights
Ambience: Capital "R" for rustic and "C" for casual, this Old West saloon-style bar attracts an interesting mix of mountain folk, Santa Cruz residents and Los Gatos locals. Patrons can look at pictures of classic performers while listening to modern blues and folk bands that let it rip late into the night.
208 Bachman Ave, LG 408.395.1233
Hours: Daily, 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 25-40
Decor: Dark wood banisters and bar, funky
Signature Drink: Guinness
Ambience: The smell of cooking meat makes it hard not to order food once there. The cluttered Irish motif appeals to beer lovers of all sorts, including lots of loyal locals who join the weekend crowd to make it a lively nightspot. Hannegan's is unpretentious and sports an extensive beer list.
The Chart House
115 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.354.1737
Hours: Mon-Thu 5-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm, Sun 5-10pm
Crowd Age: 24-35
Decor: Modern Victorian, nautical paintings
Signature Drink: Bloody Mary and margarita
Ambience: This converted 1891 Victorian still looks like a home from the front lawn. Inside, the atmosphere is deceptively casual and features an early crowd of locals and techies enjoying mixed drinks. Currently being remodeled, the place will soon boast a heated outside deck and more modern interior.
Clocktower Bar & Grill
140 S. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.395.7070
Hours: Daily, 4pm-midnight
Crowd Age: 25 and up
Music: Not yet
Decor: A true lounge with fireplace
Signature Drink: In development
Ambience: Lots of business execs sit on couches and lounge chairs, relaxing next to the fireplace, piano and a gallery of autographed photos recording the visits of legendary summer series performers who have stopped by the bar, and sometimes jammed. An octagonal bar looks over the patio. Located in the Toll House Hotel, the bar is undergoing some changes to coincide with the hotel renovation. Music may be part of the new Clocktower.
Double D's Sports Grille
354 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.395.6882
Hours: Sun-Thu 9:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 9:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-50
Decor: Well-lit, vinyl booths
Signature Drink: Beer
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, video games
Ambience: Little League and soccer teams by day, adult softball teams by night. A full-on sports bar featuring 21 TVs with corresponding satellite. Very family-friendly. Gets loud and lively when big sporting events are on. Conversation, billiards and a friendly bar staff keep the crowd of regulars returning.
Great Bear Coffee & Los Osos Café
19 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.395-8607
Hours: Mon-Thu 6am-10pm, Fri-Sat 6am-11pm, Sun 7am-10pm
Crowd Age: Varied
Decor: Hardwood abounds
Signature Drink: Chocolate coffee cream
Games/Amenities: Plenty of tables for work and play
Ambience: The Bear offers everything that the caffeine-deficient could hope to soak up in a coffee shop. Big bay windows lighten up an airy space complete with wooden tables and a swanky, curvaceous counter stocked with specialty beans. Baristas offer up a full selection of espresso drinks, coffees and teas, as well as baked treats and daily hot lunch specials. The shop's incredible chocolate coffee creams alone require a pilgrimage.
18840 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Monte Sereno 408.354.6669
Hours: Daily, 11am-1am
Crowd Age: 40s and 50s
Music: Live music Fridays and Saturdays
Decor: Authentic '40s charm
Signature Drink: Martini
Ambience: The sign hanging outside the restaurant-bar boasts, "Through this portal pass the nicest people in the world--our customers." Devoted patrons share the love, so much that everyone mingling underneath La Hacienda's crystal chandeliers seems to know each other, and the bartender, by name. The former roadhouse is all about classic meat-and-potatoes comfort--certified Black Angus beef recipes get an entire section of the menu.
Los Gatos Bar & Grill
15 1/2 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.399.5424
Hours: Mon-Wed 5-10:30pm, Thu and Sun 5-11:30pm,
Crowd Age: 21-35
Decor: Upscale pub
Signature Drink: Sex on the Beach
Games/Amenities: Billiards, electronic darts, pinball
Ambience: This upstairs hangout spot serves up its unique brand of "liquid therapy" seven days a week. Casual and cheery bartenders dole out drinks made with tender loving care every night of the week. And on Friday and Saturday nights, masses of extremely healthy types--large-chested gents and trim, halter-topped lasses--pack in for beautiful-people group therapy sessions.
Los Gatos Brewing Company
130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.395.9929
Hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-midnight
Crowd Age: 25-45
Decor: Upscale brewpub decor
Signature Drink: Local microbrews
Games/Amenities: Social television-watching
Ambience: The Brewing Company proves that going out for a beer can be quite a classy affair. This upscale pub, apparently a magnet for perfect-looking people, offers up an excellent selection of local brews and wines, as well as a menu featuring everything from oysters to burgers and grilled foccacia sandwiches. Beer lovers should come looking adorable, but not in a tank top: pub dress code forbids it, and a shoulder-covering shirt will be provided.
Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Co.
101 W. Main St, LG 408.354.3263
Hours: Mon-Sat 6am-7pm, Sun 6:30am-6pm
Crowd Age: Varied
Music: Live Celtic music on Sundays
Decor: Sleek hardwood
Signature Drink: Delicious mochas
Games/Amenities: Nifty shop for coffee paraphernalia
Ambience: Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Co. epitomizes refinement. With its long, sleek counters, the spacious cafe offers a wide range of iced and hot coffee drinks, freshly roasted beans and tasty desserts. An adjoining shop sells any type of caffeine paraphernalia imaginable. Every Sunday the coffee crew goes Celtic with live Irish-inspired tunes.
Los Gatos Lodge
50 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd, LG 408.354.3300
Hours: Sun-Thu 10:30am-midnight, Fri-Sat 10:30 am-1:30am
Crowd Age: 30-55
Music: Live music Fridays and Saturdays
Decor: Mountain resort meets '50s lounge
Signature Drink: Anything with Jagermeister
Games/Amenities: Tasty happy-hour treats
Ambience: It's not often that bar-lovers can find a spot that welcomes everyone--and their dogs--with open arms. But the roadside lounge exists in its own lodge-getaway universe, complete with fake rocks and weekend cover bands. The bartender, always up for a game of dice or helping a lost traveler, recommends Jagermeister, her personal favorite.
Mountain Charley's Saloon
15 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.395.8880
Hours: Wed-Sat, noon-2am
Crowd Age: 21 and over
Decor: Rock & roll saloon
Signature Drink: Lemon Drop and Purple Hooter
Games/Amenities: New shuffleboard table
Ambience: Most envision a saloon as the perfect set for a spaghetti Western, but this decades-old Los Gatos fixture proudly stakes its claim as the "Premier Dance Club of the South Bay." It proves Los Gatos is no ghost town with live music three nights a week, from Thursday to Saturday, and a DJ spinning dance tunes on Wednesday nights. The saloon boasts a nine-hour happy hour, which starts at noon.
102 S. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.354.4303
Hours: Sun-Fri 3pm-2am, Sat 8pm-2am
Crowd Age: 25-45
Decor: Classic wood and stained glass charm
Signature Drink: Bloody Mary
Ambience: Few think of Los Gatos as the capital of soul, but #1 Broadway serves up funky live shows, including jazz as well as rhythm & blues, four nights a week. Classic hardwood floors and a beautiful mirrored bar, complete with a colorful stained-glass tree, make this upstairs joint the perfect place to get a spot on its cozy green couch and stay for a while.
Pedro's Cabo Grill
316 N. Santa Cruz Ave, LG 408.354.7570
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-11pm
Crowd Age: Varied; thirtysomethings abound
Decor: Imported Mexican
Signature Drink: Margarita with salt
Games/Amenities: Bar and restaurant
Ambience: Tucked behind a foyer complete with big leafy plants, Pedro's manages to transform its busy spot on Los Gatos' main drag into a breezy vacation getaway. The grill is often packed with folks apparently nursing withdrawals from their latest trip to a Mexican Club Med, but the tasty margaritas and fresh Mexican fare make it worth braving the crowds.
50 University Ave, LG 408.395.2722
Hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-2:30pm and 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm
Crowd Age: 25-45
Decor: Classy but casual grill
Signature Drink: Any martini imaginable
Ambience: Steamer's creates an incredible blend of upscale ambience and casual comfort--maybe it's because the grill-house food is so amazing that most are too busy stuffing their faces with seafood and grilled sandwiches to be working the fashion-police beat. On quaint University Avenue, tucked next to the poshest Gap store ever, Steamer's offers hours of flavored-martini-sipping bliss.
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From the June 22-28, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.
Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.
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