[Bars & Clubs]

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[whitespace] Bars, Clubs and Coffeehouses


The Bank
14421 Big Basin Way, Saratoga 408.867.5155

Hours: Mon-Thu 1pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 1pm-2am, Sun 3pm-midnight
Crowd Age: 25-35
Music: Jukebox; George Heagerty plays every so often
Décor: Homey
Signature Drink: Irish coffee
Games/Amenities: Jukebox, Megatouch game, Direct TV, dartboard
Ambience: Once upon a time, this historic building in downtown Saratoga was a Bank of America. Standing since 1913, the old edifice is now home to a popular watering hole in Saratoga's quaint downtown section. This is a friendly saloon where patrons engage in intelligent conversation without pretense. This Irish bar's neighborly atmosphere is perfect for unwinding.

The Basin
14572 Big Basin Way, Saratoga 408.867.1906

Hours: Tue-Sat 5pm-midnight
Crowd Age: 25-60
Music: Acid jazz plays softly overhead
Décor: High quality meets high tech
Signature Drink: Lemon Drop with fresh Meyer lemon juice
Games/Amenities: DSL Internet access, TV (with DVD, CD, laser disc, VHS and cable), video and audio conferencing, a 100-inch flat projector screen and other multimedia capabilities
Ambience: With areas for nice quiet meals, power meetings, corporate events or celebrations, this tech-savvy bar and restaurant offers just about anything a Silicon Valley exec could ask for. With a refined menu of American food with worldly Mediterranean and Asian influences, an esteemed wine list with selections from local and regional wineries and hard-to-find bottles from France and Italy, and a martini bar featuring the Basin's own distinctive signature martinis, this swanky bistro smoothly unites comfort and class.

Big Basin Bistro
14480 Big Basin Way, Saratoga 408.867.1764

Hours: Wed-Sat 1pm-11pm
Crowd Age: 20-40
Décor: Casual comfort
Signature Drink: Wines for the tasting
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No
Ambience: Few outsiders would suspect that this casual spot features the most impressive selection of cheeses in town, and all kinds of imported and domestic wines to go with them. In addition to frequent wine-tastings, Big Basin Bistro offers a wide variety of bottled beer and espresso drinks. The lactose-intolerant needn't fear--in addition to cheese, this comfy spot also features Spanish tapas and an oyster bar.

Blue Rock Shoot
4523 Big Basin Way, Saratoga 408.867.3437

Hours: Sun-Thu 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat 7am-midnight
Crowd Age: all ages
Music: Live bluegrass Fri-Sat nights
Décor: Upscale rustic
Games/Amenities: Terraced patios in the back
Ambience: It's fitting that a town with such an East Coast name would be home to a hideaway seemingly straight out of the Adirondacks. The Blue Rock Shoot offers both the style and substance of a turn-of-the-20th-century mountain retreat. The converted multi-level house, with its stained glass a la Frank Lloyd Wright and rough-hewn wooden furniture and floors, is a mecca for fans of Arts and Crafts décor, but the coffeehouse also offers a pleasantly serene atmosphere in which to enjoy a salad, sandwich, or a good book.

International Coffee Exchange
14471 Big Basin Way, Saratoga 408.741.1185

Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-6pm, Sat 7am-6pm, Sun 7am-4pm
Crowd Age: All ages
Décor: Hardwood floors, tables
Signature Drink: Caramel Latte
Ambience: Tucked in between downtown Saratoga's busy shops and eateries, the International Coffee Exchange offers a laid-back escape from the hustle and bustle. Locals, business people and tourists sip iced coffee and take a break from shopping, or talk business in this cozy coffeehouse decorated with vintage poster prints. Yummy lemon bars, brownies and pastries satisfy the sweet tooth, while sandwiches, salads and wraps make for a more substantial meal.

The Plumed Horse
14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga 408.867.4711

Hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat 4pm-2am
Crowd Age: 30-60
Music: Ragtime jazz and piano tunes
Décor: Horse-lover's lodge
Signature Drink: Saratoga Rose, black martini
Dancing: Only tame dancing
Games/Amenities: TV
Ambience: With its cozy rock fireplace and log cabin-inspired décor, the Plumed Horse makes going out for cocktails feel like a quick vacation to a mountain lodge. Here, gray-haired men in suits mingle with elegant women while ragtime jazz bands belt out Louis Armstrong covers. This quiet hideaway may be known for its French cuisine, but it should become famous for its Black Martini--definitely the best espresso cocktail in town.

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.