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[whitespace] Bars, Clubs and Coffeehouses 2000


Aruba's Island Grill
1250 Lakeside Dr, Sunnyvale 408.738.0111

Hours: Daily 5-10pm plus Mon-Fri 6am-2pm and Sat-Sun 7am-2pm
Crowd Age: 20s and up
Music: Call for information
Decor: Caribbean motif
Signature Drink: Aruba's Cooler
Dancing: Call for information
Games/Amenities: None
Ambience: Scuba gear, palm trees, aquatic murals and poolside dining separate the restaurant from the connecting hotel and provide an appropriate setting for the island cuisine of fresh fish, icy drinks and spicy side dishes.

Bank Shot Billiards
350 Altair Way, Sunnyvale 408.733.3855

Hours: Mon-Thu 4pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 4pm-2am
Crowd Age: 30s-40s
Music: No live music
Decor: Urban sports bar
Signature Drink: Beer
Dancing: No dancing
Games/Amenities: Jukebox, darts
Ambience: A mellow place to play pool. This well-established upscale billiard palace draws "everybody from bikers to bankers." Handsome granite countertops; pool tables are carved oak. A casual atmosphere free from the worries of having to run the table or cop an attitude.

Bathtub Gin and Blues
1131 Lawrence Expwy, Sunnyvale 408.734.2500

Hours: Daily, 10am-2am
Crowd Age: 25-60
Live music
Warm, comfortable
Signature Drink:
Not yet
Pool tables, darts, TVs, jukebox, other games
Ambience: Only three weeks old, this huge, friendly bar with open ceilings and a stage for live bands is sure to become a favorite. By no means a sports bar, Bathtub Gin and Blues does have TVs for those who must see a game. With live music on the weekends now, the classy club plans ultimately to feature live acts five nights a week.

Bean Scene
186 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.738.4523

Hours: Mon-Thu 6:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 6:30am-11pm,
Sun 6:30am-8pm
Crowd Age: Everything from kids on up
Music: Live weekend bands
Decor: Comfortable
Signature Drink: Espresso
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: None
Ambience: Like many coffee shops, this is more a community gathering point than a spot just to get a caffeine fix. Chess provides intellectual stimulation while such associations as the origami club feed patrons' artistic needs. Or customers can just drink a cup and trade political views or book reviews with Sunnyvale's finest minds.

Beefy's Cabin
1028 W. Washington Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.7141

Hours: Daily, 8am-2am
Crowd Age: 30s and up
Music: No live music
Decor: Basic neighborhood bar
Signature Drink: Whiskey and Budweiser
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Electronic darts, golf machine, pool table, pinball machines
Ambience: One of the friendliest bars in Sunnyvale. Patrons are greeted by regulars lining the bar, each with a good story to tell between swigs of the house specialties (whiskey and Bud). Warning to upstart dart enthusiasts: most are humbled by Beefy's award-winning throwers. Special note: one of the few bars in the valley that legally allow smoking.

Brass Rail
160 Persian Dr, Sunnyvale 408.734.1454

Hours: Daily, 10am-2am
Crowd Age: Adult
Music: No live music
Decor: Come on ... this is a strip club
Signature Drink: Anything that gets you in the mood
Dancing: Only by the strippers
Games/Amenities: T&A in abundance. Six pool tables. Major sporting events on big-screen TV. Video monitors showing close-ups of the dancers. ATM machine in case you need the cash.
Ambience: There is a $2 cover charge, no minimum bar, with mostly naked dancing girls, so it's a popular location. Not for the elite or for people who want to be discreet; no telling who you may run into. And who cares? If you're here just to see pairs of jiggly things up front, there's plenty of them.

Candid Club
1053 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale 408.246.3624

Hours: Daily, 11am-2am
Crowd Age: Adult (no cheating)
Music: No live music
Decor: You go for the décolletage, not the decor
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: Yes, but only by the girls
Games/Amenities: Three big-screen TVs, continuous toplessness, full liquor bar, continuous sports programming
Ambience: Easily the smallest of the valley's bikini bars, which also means the Candid Club is one of the more intimate strip joints--this is a place where patrons can get closer to the dancers. The strippers regularly join the customers at the pool table between sets or chat at the bar. Not-so-private floor dances available for $10 and up. No cover.

Cheers (Club 685)
685 El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, 408.749.1289

Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30pm-2am, Sat-Sun 7pm-2am
Crowd Age: 20s-30s
Music: Live bands
Decor: Lots of space to kick up your spurs or shake your booty
Signature Drink: Margaritas and iced coffees
Dancing: Most definitely
Games/Amenities: Big-screen TV, pool tables and a game room
Ambience: Casual, friendly and small enough that its patrons really do get to be known by name, yet large enough for a moderate-sized dance floor and a round bar. One of the South Bay's most popular country nightclubs, with DJ music, dance lessons and enough specialty drinks to quench even the two-stepper's thirst.

Fibbar Magee's
156 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.749.8373

Hours: Daily, 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 20s-30s
Music: DJ on Friday, live music on Saturday
Decor: Emerald Isle charm
Signature Drink: Everything you can handle
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Pool table, dartboard
Ambience: An Irish pub that actually feels Irish. It's got an Irish manager and an Irish bartender. A group of Irish lads hangs out there, ordering things like bangers and mash or fish and chips. A large room in the back accommodates smokers, and little nooks and crannies throughout the bar make conversation easy.

Full Throttle Sports Café
155 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.720.1535

Hours: Mon-Sat, 5pm-2am
Crowd Age: 21 and up
Music: DJs Thu-Sat
Decor: Motorcycle/sports bar
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: Oh, yes!
Games/Amenities: Two pool tables, video games, foosball, smoking on the outside balcony and, of course, satellite TV sports feeds
Ambience: On a street that otherwise offers fine dining, Full Throttle is definitely different. With a menu that emphasizes hamburgers (nine kinds), sandwiches and pizzas, and with more than 10 beer imports and microbrews on tap, this is a fun place to hang out that caters to both families and the sports crowd.

The Hiphugger
948 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale 408.736.8585

Hours: Daily, 11am-2am
Crowd Age: Adult
Music: Recorded
Decor: Early raunch
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: The girls do it ... you can't
Games/Amenities: Pool table
Ambience: Two stages averaging a five- or six-dancer rotation. The beer is pricey, but then booze isn't the club's primary attraction. Besides, there's no cover charge. Between sets, customers may converse at length with the dancers--for a price.

The Kit Kat Club
907 E. Arques Ave, Sunnyvale 408.733.2628

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-1:30am, Sun 6pm-1:30am
Crowd Age: 18 and up
Music: No live music
Decor: Poles, mirrors and neon
Signature Drink: Soft drinks only
Dancing: Table and stage dancing, but none of the lap variety
Games/Amenities: Megatouch game
Ambience: A perfect place for people who like to relax while watching wiggling women with shaved genitalia and pneumatic breasts. Nothing is left to the imagination at the Kit Kat (save what the dancers' mommies think). If the stage dance isn't intimate enough for you, get a table dance. But no touchies!

The Lion & Compass
1023 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Sunnyvale 408.745.1260

Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 5:30-9:30pm, Sat 5:30-9pm
Crowd Age: Corporate Silicon Valley business types
Music: No live music
Decor: Casually classy; posh English pub look
Signature Drink: Brazilian daiquiri
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No
Ambience: An upper-class dining room serving "California nouveau cuisine with an Asian flair"; entrees cost in excess of $20. Check out the English influence: The bar, stained glass, door, lampposts and library (there is a separate library room) were all bought at an auction in Fairfax, England. Why the stock ticker floats NYSE quotes, no one knows, since most of the customers are NASDAQ junkies.

Murphy's Law
135 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.3822

Hours: Mon-Sun, 10am-2am
Crowd Age: 20s-40s
Music: Fri-Sat nights, live blues
Decor: Stools, a bar and tables. Keeps it simple.
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: On weekends it breaks out, but not a big dance place
Games/Amenities: Shuffleboard, hockey game, jukebox, big-screen TV with satellite, dartboard, computer games
Ambience: Murphy's Law calls itself an Irish pub, but take away the name and it's really a classic, low-key American bar. On Murphy Avenue, Murphy's Law is a nice midway point between yuppieish Scruffy Murphy's and the grimy Paul & Harvey's. Bartenders are friendly, there's no cover, and the drinks are strong. Large rear patio shelters smokers.

The Palace
146 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.739.5179

Hours: Tue-Sat, 6pm-2am (check ahead)
Crowd Age: Mostly 30s and 40s
Music: Live jazz 6pm-10pm, DJ Fri-Sat 10pm-2am
Decor: Art nouveau
Signature Drink: Purple Hooter
Dancing: Fri- Sat 10pm-2am
Games/Amenities: No
Ambience: The Palace is a polished restaurant and nightclub smack in the middle of the Murphy Avenue strip. The menu boasts contemporary American entrees from $18 to $24. Cover for dancing is $5 on Fridays and $10 on Saturday. DJ plays hits from the '70s to the '90s. Dress code: no T-shirts or tennis shoes.

Paul & Harvey's
130 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.5770

Hours: Mon-Sun, 6am-2am
Crowd Age: mostly 30s, 40s, 50s
Music: No live music
Decor: No-frills bar, dark
Signature Drink: Liquor and beer, have no fear
Dancing: Not often
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, jukebox, dartboard, pinball, TVs
Ambience: Take a break from impressing people and pull up a stool at Paul & Harvey's--a place where real men (and they are mostly men) sit and drink, where the barmaids (and they are mostly maids) are friendly and chatty, and the locals (and they are mostly locals) can be found there at all hours of the day.

The Quarter Note
1214 Apollo Way, Sunnyvale 408.732.2110

Hours: Mon-Sun, 10:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-40s
Music: The name ain't just for show--five nights a week feature blues and rock. Mon-Wed, jam nights; Fri-Sat, live bands
Decor: American bar and grill
Signature Drink: "The bartender will do whatever you want"
Dancing: "Every night"
Games/Amenities: Pool, shuffleboard, pinball, darts, foosball
Ambience: A place with more energy than your average watering hole. Something is always going on. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's karaoke; the other nights, music. Appetizers, hamburgers, hot dogs and bar food are available from the grill. "It's a tavern atmosphere with full service," says the husky-voiced bartender.

The Roadhouse Blues and Rock Café
1102 W. Evelyn, Sunnyvale 408.739.7939

Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-2am
Crowd Age: Mixed drinkers
Music: Thu jam night, Fri live blues, Sat rock, Sun karaoke.
Signature Drink: $2.75 Bloody Marys
Dancing: When the music is good, the dance floor gets going.
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, dartboards and video games
Ambience: Located by the railroad tracks, the Roadhouse has to be looked for, but with those cheap Bloody Marys, it's worth the looking. A good no-frills place to listen to live music, drink and relax in casual attire.

Rooster T. Feathers
157 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale 408.736.0921

Hours: Thu 8pm, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30pm shows
Crowd Age: Late 20s, 30s.
Music: No
Decor: A small classroom-like theater
Signature Drink: Milktails
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Laughs
Ambience: The South Bay's only comedy club sits barely noticeable near the corner of El Camino and Mathilda Avenue. A visit to Roosters is as good as the comedians on stage, who are frequently pretty damned good. Big names like Seinfeld have trodden the boards at Roosters. Shows are usually three acts: an emcee, an opener and a headliner.

Scruffy Murphy's
187 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.735.7394

Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-2am
Crowd Age: Older in the day, 20s and 30s at night
Music: Wed-Sat, live rock
Decor: Varnished, polished and shiny pub
Signature Drink: None
Dancing: Oh yeah
Games/Amenities: Smoking patio upstairs, pool table, darts
Ambience: In a new-looking red building, Scruffy Murphy's is a pleasant bar for neatly groomed folks. If Paul & Harvey's is at one end of the Murphy Avenue spectrum, then Scruffy Murphy's is at the other. Good pub food available from opening until 9pm. Note the Irish influence in more than a few accents.

Shooters Bar and Grill
769 N. Mathilda Ave, Sunnyvale 408.738.2787

Hours: Mon-Sun, 10am-2am
Crowd Age: 30 and up
Music: No
Decor: No-frills American bar, full of sports pennants, pool trophies and electric beer signs
Signature Drink: Ditra Dilemma
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, darts, pinball, poker machine, jukebox, big-screen TV, patio
Ambience: You want a low-key place to drink, play pool, watch sports and smoke, this is your joint, assuming you live nearby. It's got a full bar and 11 beers on draft. Grilled food available. Rid your life of pretension and pull up a seat at Shooters and take root.

Starlite Ballroom
1160 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Sunnyvale 408.745.7827

Hours: Mon-Wed 1-10pm, Thu and Sun 7-11pm,
Fri-Sat 8pm-midnight
Crowd Age: Mid 20s to late 50s
Music: DJ plays Latin ballroom
Decor: Simple 17,000-square-foot space get spruced up in accordance with certain themes
Signature Drink: Soft drinks only
Dancing: That's what it's all about
Games/Amenities: No
Ambience: In the middle of a high-tech campus sits this jewel for dancers and people who want to learn. Beginner Fridays are a good place for neophytes to start. Lessons in everything from the cha cha to salsa give way to an open dance floor. It's laid-back, but people dress nicely. A great (and comfortable) place for people looking to escape the routine and get moving.

111 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.733.7824.

Hours: Daily, 11am to closing (varies with the crowd)
Crowd Age: Lots of business folks coming after work--20s and 30s
Music: Reggae performances Sundays on the patio at 3pm
Decor: Casual swank
Signature Drink: Stoddard's brews its own beers on the premises; at any time, there are four house products on tap
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Beer garden out back
Ambience: Decently priced American bistro and great original beer make Stoddard's well worth the stop. Laid-back but smart, with plans to expand--another opens in Campbell next year. A good place to begin if you've never been to the still relatively secret Murphy Avenue strip.

Tao Tao Café
175 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.3731

Hours: Mon-Fri 1am-2pm, Sun-Mon 4pm-9pm, Tue-Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-10:30pm
Crowd Age: 25-50
Music: No
Decor: Traditional Chinese
Signature Drink: Mai tai
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Televisions for sports
Ambience: The lounge here is the coziest and the wackiest in the area. Everything and anything can happen at any time. Just make sure you have a lip-smacking mai tai on hand when it does. The place gets crowded. Good Cantonese food served at the bar and lounge tables. Say hello to Kingman, the venerable mai tai master.

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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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