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Alberto's Salsa Studio and Nightclub
736 W. Dana St, Mtn. View 650.968.3007
Hours: Mon-Fri 5-11:30pm, Sat 5pm-2am, Sun 5-10pm
Crowd Age: 21 and up
Music: Live bands weekly
Decor: Fake metal palm trees
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: Salsa, the Lindy Hop and East Coast swing are all taught by dance instructors in a monthly series or on a drop-in basis
Ambience: Hot, hot, hot. This is the place to learn merengue or show it off to the beat of live bands. Usually dance lessons for beginners to advanced precede the general dance-off. Plenty of attitude, leaps and spicy couples heat up the place. College students take to the floor as part of Tuesday's college salsa nights. Admission is half-price with valid student I.D.
California Billiard Club
881 E. El Camino Real, Mtn. View 650.965.3100
Hours: Daily, 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 18 and over
Decor: Mahogany and murals
Signature Drink: Black & tan, Snake Bite
Games/Amenities: A dozen video games and three foosball tables
Ambience: A mature and friendly place for after-hours and company parties. Thirty-four pool tables sit on the lower floor, while the seating area is elevated by a foot, so that patrons get a full view. Serious pool sharks, take note: The club was selected as one of the best pool rooms by Pool & Billiard magazine last year and voted the world's seventh-best pool room by Billiard Digest in 1998.
1711 W. El Camino Real, Mtn. View 650.940.9778
Hours: Daily, 5pm-2am
Crowd Age: 21-71
Music: DJs on Friday and Saturday; karaoke on Thursday and Sunday
Decor: Hanging disco ball and black-and-white dance floor
Signature Drink: Beer, although the Cosmopolitan is popular
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, video games, jukebox, pinball machine and darts
Ambience: For 25 years, Daybreak has proved itself as a quintessential neighborhood bar. And while the exterior looks sketchy, rest assured everything is just right inside. Bartender Melanie says everyone--straight, transgendered, cross-dressers, you name it--is welcome here. At the 20-seat bar, take a load off and select from several wines or full-bar offerings.
The Lime Light
228 Castro St, Mtn. View 650.903.4833
Hours: Sun, Tue, Thu 9:30pm-2am, Fri-Sat 9pm-2am
Crowd Age: 21-50
Music: Two DJs spinning house, dance, Top 40 nightly
Decor: Glass-bottom floors, handmade Italian sofas and chairs, leopard-print patterns
Signature Drink: 45 types of martinis
Games/Amenities: Phenomenal sound and lighting
Ambience: Revamped and reupholstered, The Lime Light shines in a space that has sheltered a movie theater, a concert venue and, just last year, the Rio Grande nightclub. The vibe here is feel-good fuzzy, and women can be assured that there won't be any haphazard groping by the bar drunk. There are three levels of action, beginning with the top-level VIP room known as the Rum Jungle room and moving down to the second-story Leopard Lounge and the main floor.
241 Castro St, Mtn. View 650.961.0108
Hours: Daily, 5pm-2am
Crowd Age: Over 21
Music: DJ Thu-Sat
Decor: Low ceilings and tables for two
Signature Drink: Guinness
Games/Amenities: Air hockey, pool table, golf video game
Ambience: The feeling here is intimate, kind of romantic and cozy with the help of some dimmed lanterns. Hard-core drinkers can choose from up to 40 types of Scotch, enjoyed either on the outdoor patio or at the wooden bar. Ultimately, patrons leave satisfied, with a taste and feel for the Irish motherland.
251 Castro St, Mtn. View 650.961.7744
Hours: Sun-Wed 5pm-midnight, Thu-Sat 5pm-2am
Crowd Age: 21-55
Music: No live music
Decor: Modern and industrial
Signature Drink: Austin Powers martini
Ambience: According to owner Alex Khanbabian, Pockets is a party kicker, a foundation for the night ahead. "It's fun, very low-profile," he says. "I would say it's the lowest profile on Castro Street." Compared to its neighbors, Pockets is better suited for a date location or corporate gathering. It's easygoing fun, with plenty of billiard tables, 10 beers on tap, a full bar and wine.
301 Castro St, Mtn. View 650.968.2198
Hours: Mon-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri 8am-midnight, Sat 9am-midnight, Sun 9am-11pm
Crowd Age: All ages
Music: On Sunday evening, music by Dave Durrett
Decor: Classic and funky with a hanging bronze sculpture
Signature Drink: Mexicali Mocha
Games/Amenities: None, although board games and chess sets welcome
Ambience: The bookstore/cafe joint is upbeat and relaxed. The cafe, situated in the upstairs loft, makes for great people watching, as does the view from the small patio. Mid-afternoon the place is packed with students, but from midday on it's jumping with everyone else. The eats are traditional cafe fare, including deli sandwiches, a tasty grilled cheese deluxe, homemade lasagnas, and decadent desserts from several Bay Area pastry shops.
1400 N. Shoreline Blvd, Mtn. View 650.964.0780
Hours: Daily, 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 18-30
Decor: Plush and modern
Signature Drink: Beer, usually Corona or Heineken
Games/Amenities: Video games, dartboards, a pinball machine
Ambience: Since it's close to Laser Quest, the pool hall does attract a few families. Children, however, must be accompanied by an adult at all times. It's roomy and never loud, with friendly people in big groups gearing up for the weekend. No one expects you to gamble, unless you're feeling the color of money--and in that case, you need to find a real dive.
The Sports Page
1431 Plymouth St, Mtn. View 650.961.1992
Hours: Daily, 10am-2am
Crowd Age: 30-50
Music: Live bands on Friday night and Sunday afternoon
Decor: Two big-screen TVs and a sand volleyball court
Signature Drink: Margarita
Dancing: Two stages, one indoors and one outdoors
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, pinball machines, foosball
Ambience: For 50 years, it's been the place where white collars and blue collars mingle. Happy hour is quite crowded and a bit rowdy, but always fun. No volleyball threads are needed in the sand court--just make sure you don't get sand in your beer. There's a full bar, 18 beers on tap, a full lunch menu, and appetizers are served nightly. Try some of the signature salads or the popular club sandwich.
Tied House Mountain View
954 Villa St, Mtn. View 650.965.2739
Hours: Mon-Thu and Sat 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sun 11:30am-9:30pm
Crowd Age: 25-50
Music: Jazz or live bands on Saturday evenings
Decor: Cement building with very high ceilings
Signature Drink: Cascade Amber
Ambience: As with any spot where beer is the centerpiece, Tied House is noisy, crowded and popular. Dinner is a huge draw for those too tired to cook or those interested in sampling the sausages made in-house. There are eight varieties of beer on tap; four are regulars and the others are seasonal. It's the kind of place that can host large parties and makes for a nice alternative to the boardroom. There's a beer garden where smokers can light up during off-peak hours.
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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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