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Club Life

The Wave Room
50 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, Los Gatos (at the Los Gatos Lodge); 408.354.3300; www.losgatoslodge.com

By Jim Harrington

Hours: 11:30am-10pm Mon-Wed, 11:30am-1am Thu-Sat, closed Sun
Amenities: Full bar, juke box, food service, happy hour, karaoke, DJ music, jukebox, live music, video games, TVs, dance floor

THERE WAS a time when every player in the Bay Area knew about the Los Gatos Lodge. And we do mean "player," not "playa," since this was well before rap speak. Long before current local buzz spots Steamers and Forbes Mill were schematics in their owners' eyes, the house was rockin' at the little lodge bar at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains, packed with polyester-clad singles looking to find out what goes on behind closed doors.

The Los Gatos Lodge bar had a long reign as one of the area's top pickup bars, lasting from the '60s all the way into the '80s. In fact, no less of an authority than Hustler Magazine once ranked the place as the top pickup bar in the country. "It was the place to be if you were single in the '60s, '70s and even '80s," explained Matthew Kim, general manager of the Lodge bar. "It kind of died down in the '90s but we are trying to bring it back."

To accomplish that goal Kim and crew have completely transformed the once passé drinking establishment into a tiki-themed hangout called the Wave Room. Based on the grand opening party held in early July, this new spot has a real chance at successfully establishing itself as an alternative to the downtown-centric Los Gatos scene. The place has a tropical theme—complete with beach balls, hanging paper lanterns, fishnets and one Los Gatos cat dressed in Rastafarian gear. The tropicalia extends to the drink menu; try the Golden Island, a sweet mix of gold rum, Cointreau and tonic, or the Ship Wreck, an equally sugary blend of rum, pineapple juice and Barcardi 151. Soak up the alcohol with the appetizer menu, featuring such goodies as Cajun-fried calamari and teriyaki beef skewers.

Happy hour lasts from 4:30 to 7pm and offers two for one appetizers and daily drink specials. Thursday nights belong to karaoke, while DJs spin everything from dance music to classic rock on Fridays (for instance, I heard the Beastie Boys and Matchbox 20 played back to back) and area bands gear up on Saturdays.

The Wave Room is also working on a trivia night. Best of all, it will soon feature a fenced-off outdoor patio area, lit by torches, where thirsty patrons can enjoy Golden Islands near the lodge's pool. In recent years, the bar at the lodge has been known for attracting a mostly older crowd, but that should change as well. "We want to be known as not your grandparents' lodge," says Brandon Arnold, the bar's marketing manager.

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From the July 28-August 3, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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