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Metro's Club of the Week

T-Bar Lounge

(Inside Theatre on San Pedro Square) 29 N. San Pedro, San Jose; 408.283.0200; www.tosps.com

By Todd Inoue

Hours: Thu-Sat 6pm-midnight

WHAT THEATRE ON SAN PEDRO SQUARE lacks in signage, it gains in amenities. The former site of the Last Laugh located behind Peggy Sue's upstairs in San Pedro Square is now a sleek and classy theater/lounge with a beautiful bar, delicious food and impressive layout that any artist of any discipline could appreciate.

After the Last Laugh shut down in the '80s, the venue sat dormant for 12 years until producers of Tony and Tina's Wedding took over for a successful run. When the reality comedy served its last plate of spaghetti and corn, local guys Gary DeMattei and Mike Smythe took over and turned it into a successful dinner theater spot with plays like Eating Dis Order Eating Dat Order (which DeMattei wrote) and Forever Plaid.

They celebrate their third year of operation by expanding the format and the T-Bar Lounge area. The T-Bar will be booking big band and jazz acts in September. They're also looking into poetry (which would suit the T-Bar perfectly) and experimenting with cabaret. In July, appearances by Wesla Whitfield and William Michals blew the roof off the joint.

"One of our hopes is to keep cabaret alive," says DeMattei. "Wesla was the first. We had a great crowd both nights. We'll probably have her back in November. Eventually we want to cover chamber music, opera, world music and poetry."

Theatre on San Pedro Square will continue producing off-Broadway delights in early 2004 like My Cousin's Wedding, Late Night Catechism and The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron. Afro-Latin jazz figurehead Omar Sosa is booked on Oct. 4. DeMattei seems challenged by the tucked-away location and lack of signage. "It seems like we're a destination. As a drop-in spot, it's tough to find," he says. But when word of mouth begins to spread, and the Sharks begin their season, it could be the happening spot in San Pedro Square.

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From the September 11-17, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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