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[whitespace] Tony Thomas
Michael Amsler

On the house: Belvedere bartender Tony Thomas mixes up a cold one.

Shaken, not Stirred

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN the jingling phones and the jangling nerves, you devise a way to slink out the office in search of a fortifying cocktail, preferably taken somewhere that's dimly lit, low-ceilinged, and evokes bygone days. The majestic Queen Anne-style Belvedere mansion, built in 1901, has a lace-bedecked restaurant appointed with dainty Victoriana. But hidden below the stairs, the denlike basement bar is unpretentious and comfortable with the feel of a casual 1920s gentlemen's club. Belly up to the impressive vintage bar carved from Hawaiian rose-brown wood, ponder your potion (a steely-smooth chilled vodka-martini--made from Belvedere vodka from Poland will do nicely-- straight up with two plump green olives, perhaps?) and catch up on daytime soaps beaming overhead, with expert input from the soap-savvy bartender. At night, the bar becomes a student hangout--and popular with Independent readers, who anointed the Belvedere as winner in the Best Cocktails category--where SRJC types are drawn to the pool tables, video games, chess, backgammon, and heated outdoor patio. Beers, wines, and pub fare also available. The bar opens for cocktails at noon Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 4 p.m. the rest of the week. Last call is at 1:30 a.m. Be there . . . Belvedere, 727 Mendocino Ave.; 542-1890.

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From the March 26-April 1, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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