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[whitespace] Bars, Clubs and Coffeehouses


1875 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell 408.371.4404

Hours: Daily noon-2am
Crowd Age: College to 40s
Décor: English pub
Music: Live rock bands
Signature Drink: Chillum
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Darts, video games
Ambience: Boswell's feels like a cross between British pub and '80s class reunion. Stuffed deer heads oversee an eclectic, all-age crowd, with an even more eclectic collection of dance moves, groovin' to live rock music nightly. A popular hangout for college students, white-collar workers and retirees, the unpretentious atmosphere at Boswell's makes for a friendly crowd and ensures a good time to be had by all.

Campbell Billiards
1777 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell 408.377.9886

Hours: Daily noon-2am
Crowd Age: Teens, 20s
Music: Jukebox
Décor: Pool hall
Signature Drink: Beer
Games/Amenities: Pool, video games, trivia
Ambience: The name says it all. With sticks, balls and tables as far as the eye can see, Campbell Billiards is a pool shark's dream. Monday is ladies' night, when gals play for half price, and guys fantasize about kicking some ass on and off of the felt. The Billiards is open to all ages, but does serve beer for the 21-and-over crowd.

Campbell Coffee Roasting Company--The Pruneyard
1875 S. Bascom Ave #112, Campbell 408.559.8040

Hours: Daily 7am-11pm
Crowd Age: 16-30
Music: Jazz CD mixes in the background
Décor: Wall-to-wall tables
Signature Drink: Mocha Freeze
Ambience: Outta the way, Starbucks. This place is open later and boasts a more studious, social crowd as opposed to the commuter traffic that the other corporate joint gets. There's also plenty of confections like chocolate chip cookies, pastries, muffins and, for the hungrier patron, sandwiches. Inside, it's quiet enough to spend some time with an iBook, while the outside patio area resembles a concrete beach. Scores of young and attractive people mingle late into the night, sipping on espressos or gossiping about last weekend's prom.

Effie's Restaurant and Bar
331 W. Hacienda Ave, Campbell

Hours: Sun-Mon, Wed 11am-10pm; Tues, Thu, 11am-12:30am, Fri-Sat 11am-1:30am
Crowd Age: 30-50
Music: Karaoke Tues, Thu-Sat
Décor: '70s casino lounge
Games/Amenities: Happy hour buffet nightly, 4pm-7pm
Ambience: Located in the heart of the San Tomas neighborhood, Effie's is a locally loved, visitors-welcome lounge. Karaoke rules here. Everyone knows Erica, the talented songstress who hosts karaoke Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Friday, it's her chance for the spotlight. "People have a great time," says one local, "all the way to closing."

Elephant Bar
499 E. Hamilton Ave, Campbell 408.871.8401

Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11:30pm
Crowd Age: Twenty- and thirtysomethings
Music: Not African
Décor: Safari
Signature Drink: Prickly Pear Margarita for two
Ambience: Forget about dashikis and couscous--this is not an ethnic African place. Like an attraction at Disney World, the Elephant Bar is simply themed after the proud pachyderm and its habitat. From dark wood furnishings to brass fixtures, from leopard carpet to a giant rock wall sculpture, some serious capital went into the creation of this veldt wonderland. The bar is a circular affair, sitting under a backlit midnight-blue ceiling flecked with tiny stars. Brass elephants hang from the bar, from lamps, from the walls and essentially from every nook and cranny. The young bartenders here have that busy-bartender thing going where they try not to make eye contact with people, so be persistent. Patrons are a mix of bar friends, singles and people waiting for tables in the restaurant, where they can take in generous and reasonably priced portions of California and continental fare.

The Garrett
1777 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell 408.374.3400

Hours: Daily 10am-1:30am
Crowd Age: 21-40
Décor: Pizza parlor
Signature Drink: Beers on tap
Games/Amenities: Video game room
Ambience: Families just in from the night's Little League game come here for a quick pizza dinner. For those in danger of missing SportsCenter, don't fret. There's a television in the dining area, and several by the bar.

Gaslighter Theatre
400 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell 408.866.1408

Hours: Vary depending on performance
Crowd Age: All ages
Music: Live shows and musicals
Décor: Old-school theater elegance
Signature Drink: Bottled beer
Dancing: Sometimes
Ambience: The Gaslighter Theatre isn't a bar, but it's a fine place to sip a bottled beer while taking in a musical--and the occasional live local ska or punk show. The plush red carpet and black-and-white photos give the theatre an old-school elegance and provide a perfect spot for local performances. Soft drinks and concessions are also offered for the under-aged.

Giuseppe Italian Restaurant
33 S. Central Ave, Campbell 408.370.7705

Hours: Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm; Dinner Tue-Sun 5pm-varied closing time
Crowd Age: 20-70
Music: Opera in the background
Décor: Casual and white tablecloth
Signature Drink: Cosmopolitan
Games/Amenities: Outside patio for alfresco dining and drinking
Ambience: With its warm staff and paintings of the countryside, it's hard not to reminisce about Italy. It's not so unusual to be greeted by the restaurant's owners or cooks upon entering. Their job is getting everyone to eat and be merry. Though bar patrons can't sit at stools surrounding the bar (there are future plans to do so, however), they can sit around tables and drink or enjoy time outside in the newly fenced-in drinking area out front. Be sure to indulge in some of the restaurant's other pasta dishes and appetizers, such as the calamari fritti.

Katie Bloom's
369 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell 408.379.9687

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-35
Music: Jukebox
Décor: Irish pub
Signature Drink: Guinness
Games/Amenities: Fenced-in patio out front for drinking and eating
Ambience: Unlike its downtown San Jose location, this one appeals to those who like to roam in and out of the pub, spilling out onto Campbell Avenue. It's an easy, roomy place to meet, and softer on the ears compared to downtown joints. Exclusive to this location: live bands from 6:30pm to 9:30pm every Sunday.

300 Orchard City Dr, Campbell 408.371.4404

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-50
Music: Jukebox
Décor: Leather couches and animal heads
Signature Drink: Chillum
Games/Amenities: Foosball, video dart games and big-screen TVs
Ambience: The stained glass and faux Tiffany lamps lend a saloon vibe to Khartoum. It's a mixed crowd that hangs out here, with a younger set of patrons cruising by after work. Become a regular and reap the benefits not advertised to the rest of us, like promotional nights similar to the one where Smirnoff vodka hooked up the house.

King's Head Pub
201 Orchard City Dr, Campbell 408.871.2499

Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 21 and up
Music: Live bagpipes, karaoke
Décor: Traditional beer hall
Signature Drink: Guinness
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Darts, trivia Tuesdays, karaoke
Ambience: The King's Head Pub has a wee bit of an identity crisis--a menu to suggest a British pub, German beer hall décor, Scottish bagpipes and kilts and a bar overflowing with Irish beer. It all adds to the charm of this cozy pub where friendly locals of all ages congregate to throw darts, play Tuesday night trivia or guzzle U.K. and Irish beers on tap. It's a must-go for those with a soft spot for bartenders with charming accents and men in kilts.

Neza Bar and Grill
1505 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell 408.866.0511

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: All ages
Music: Live music Fridays and Saturdays
Signature Drink: Corona
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Pool, darts, big-screen TV
Ambience: Formerly C.S. Riff's, this comfy neighborhood watering hole attracts all ages and ethnicities from the surrounding Campbell neighborhood. The pool tables are always popular, and the nine surrounding TVs play Spanish music videos. Boasting Lo mejor en comida al estilo D.F. (the best in Mexico City-style food), Neza's menu offers a tasty selection of tacos, tortas and seafood. The crowd picks up at night, lounging on the red and white checkered tablecloths and keeping the beat to live music.

Off the Hook
2369 Winchester Blvd, Campbell 408.374.3257

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-50
Music: Jukebox; DJ Friday; live band Saturday
Décor: Casual
Signature Drink: Diggler
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Beer patio, billiards tables, putting green, TVs, foosball, pinball, video and dart games
Ambience: Off the Hook lives and dies by its name. It's not so unusual to find someone at the entrance doing a handstand pushup, or someone else inside groovin' to ABBA's "Dancing Queen." That said, this bar has something for every beer nut. Every Wednesday is karaoke night, and golfaholics can actually putt on the huge green or shoot some pool at the two tables outside. Before rackin' them up, try a Diggler, described by one bartender as a "Long Island but stronger," or a banana split shot, which, well, tastes like a banana split. The bar's a little hard to find, so watch for the Campbell Plaza sign. It's next to Safeway.

Rock Bottom Brewery
The Pruneyard, 1875 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell 408.377.0707

Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2am, Sat-Sun 12pm-2am
Crowd Age: 21-35
Music: CD mixes
Décor: High wood ceilings and cozy booths
Signature Drink: Faller Wheat beer
Games/Amenities: TVs
Ambience: Think cavernous Tahoe chalet paired with a long bar and all kinds of comfort food coming from the kitchen: chicken-fried steak, big burgers and steaks. As is always the case of watering holes that attract the young and good-looking, the joint is raucous and noisy. Even more incentive to cut work early: every Tuesday, from 2pm to 6pm, is pint night. A glass is $4.95 and refills are $2.25 a pop.

Listings by Geographical Location:
Campbell | Cupertino | Los Gatos | Mtn. View | Peninsula | Central San Jose | San Jose 'Burbs | Santa Clara | Saratoga | South County | Sunnyvale | South County | Bar and Club Locator

Light's On, Door's Open: What makes a bar a favorite hangout the world over? One writer aims to find out.

I'll Have What She's Having...: What's new and what's cool when it comes to the latest cocktail twists.

Senoritas and Margaritas: Left at Albuquerque--blame it all on Route 66.

Scene Stealer: All the animals come out at night... to the Camera Cafe.

Saddle Up: Sangria Restaurant, where sitting at the bar is a gripping experience.

Retro Groovin': At the DancePlex. partygoers relive the '70s, '80s and... this morning!

Flash and Dash: Mardi Gras and other surprises at Nola Restaurant and Bar.

Knight Dreams: Black Watch--where swords cross and Stoli freezes over.

United Nations: Lido's Nightclub, where world beat has a whole new meaning.

Taste the Music: The Icon Supperclub is the new incarnation of the Edge.

Mineral Wealth: Mining for meaning under the Cinebar's disco ball .

In the Pink: All in a dogone day's work at the Pink Poodle.

Rod's Roadstop: Britannia Arms at Almaden wears it well.

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From the June 21-27, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.