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[whitespace] Los Gatos

No. 1 Broadway
102 S. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.354.4303

Hours: Tue-Thu 3pm-2am, Fri-Sat 8pm-2am
Crowd Age: Hipsters to boomers
Music: Live rock, blues
Decor: Lodge look, with stained glass
Signature Drink: Martinis
Dancing: Oh, yeah, baby
Games/Amenities: Pool

One story up and south of Los Gatos' main drag sits this cozy bar with class. It has a down-home welcome, but it's "fancier than a log cabin," says owner Jim, pointing out the mahogany and stained glass. But every class needs an after-school special, and No. 1 Broadway is also a fine place for neighbors and other boogying types to dance, dance, dance the night away to live, live, live R&B. Plus, there a smoking deck.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Jim says, "A golden retriever, because we have one here every day. His name is Murphy; he's the bar mascot."

Boulevard Tavern
15043 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos 408.358.0774

Hours: Daily 10am-2 am
Crowd Age: 21-50s
Music: Live music Fris
Decor: Dive chic
Signature Drink: California Chill'um
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Juke box, pool table, video games, big-screen TV

With a happy-hour crowd that sings the body eclectic, this bar proves that everyone has common interests--even the working class and yuppies! The owners just fixed up the place, too, adding new floors and countertops. Early birds can catch the pool table while it's still free. Tardy folks can drink the serious cocktails and watch the motley crew.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Great white shark, "because all of our drinks have a bit of a bite," says owner Mike

California Cafe
Old Town, 50 University Ave, Los Gatos 408.354.8118

Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun 10:30am-9:30pm
Crowd Age: 30-50
Music: Live music
Decor: Classic elegance
Signature Drink: Award-winning wine list
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Outdoor heated patio

This "marriage of fine wine and great food" joint is for dressing up and having a real night out. It's also great for fireside wine tasting, as the cafe's got a fireplace and a lot of wines. Gourmet chow solidifies the upper-class atmosphere. Looking for a place to drown your sorrows in cheap whiskey? Get your bad self away from those white tablecloths.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Teddy bear, "because of the friendly service," says manager Ben

The Cats
17533 Santa Cruz Hwy, Los Gatos 408.354.4020

Hours: Tue-Thu 4:30-10pm, Fri-Sun 4:30pm-midnight
Crowd Age: Kids to 80-year-olds
Music: Live music Tue-Sat
Decor: The only roadhouse that feels like home
Signature Drink: Cosmopolitan
Dancing: Depends on you
Games/Amenities: No

This mountain man and woman spot (on mountainy Highway 17) puts the meat in meaty Los Gatos. Bartender Alan admits the Cats' real purpose is to deal carnivorous fixes. Steak and ribs are plentiful. But there's also live music (from solo guitar and blues to piano)--and drinking--to be had. You'll find the historic place (it used to be a stagecoach stop in the 1800s) by the stone gatos south of downtown.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Uh, meow (that's cat for "duh!")

C.B. Hannegan's
208 Bachman Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.1233

Hours: Daily 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: Gets younger as the day goes on
Music: Rock on special occasions
Decor: Rich old wood and dark lighting
Signature Drink: Chill'um, single-malt whiskey, imported ales
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Management smartly refrains from giving customers anything sharper than a rubber ball

Cabbage ain't just for rabbits at C.B. Hannegan's, where Irish eyes meet funky comfort. The neighborhood bar is described by locals as whiskey heaven--and its menu of close to 100 single malts has the awards to prove it. Fish and chips, burgers, pizza and, of course, corned beef and cabbage give the whiskey something to settle on.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: A friendly lion

The Chart House
115 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.354.1737

Hours: Sun-Thu 5-9pm, Fri-Sat 5-10pm
Crowd Age: 30-70
Music: Background
Decor: Old Victorian mansion
Signature Drink: Sapphire and Tonic
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Patio

Not to be left behind by changing tides, the Chart House powers have made some recent changes. They've toned down the nautical and turned up the old Los Gatos. New flair hypes local history with pictures of the old town, where the bar first emerged from the depths of 1891.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: A turtle, because it's quiet and slow

Double D's Sports Grille
354 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.6882

Hours: Mon-Tue 11am-10pm, Wed-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri 11am-midnight, Sat 9:30am-midnight, Sun 9:30am-10pm
Crowd Age: Everyone young enough and old enough to love sports
Music: No
Decor: Hockey sticks and jock pics
Signature Drink: Light beer with tequila shots
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Sports TV, pool, arcade games

This is where the men are--they must be drawn, irresistibly, by continuous sports games displayed on 22 TV screens scattered throughout Double D's. Or perhaps the name of the place piques male curiosity. Either way, an attached big-platter restaurant keeps these men full of vittles and ready to scream at the referees.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: A kitten or a lion, depending on the time of day

Great Bear Coffee
19 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.8607

Hours: Mon-Tue 6am-9pm, Wed-Thu 6am-10pm, Fri 6am-11pm, Sat 7am-11pm, Sun 7am-9pm
Crowd Age: Newborns to 60-year-olds
Music: Open mic, some live shows
Decor: Industrial loft
Signature Drink: Chocolate Coffee Cream
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No

Philosophy goes down pretty well with coffee, and Great Bear promotes both. Of course, history shows that beer and wine can help advance really confusing philosophies, like existentialism, and Great Bear is happy to pour glass of these adult beverages too. Add weekly open-mic nights and live music, and we might just be talking about a Los Gatos revolution.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be? Black bear

La Hacienda
18840 Saratoga/Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos 408.354.8118

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 10am-10pm
Crowd Age: 40-60
Music: Live music Fri-Sat
Decor: 1940s manor
Signature Drink: Veranda Cooler
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Heated patio and happy-hour treats

Some members of Metro's Bar Investigation Team intensely appreciate establishments like La Hacienda, not just for their seductive velvet chairs and fancy crystal chandeliers, but for the smoking patio. See, some of us like to smoke as an enhancement technique while enjoying La Hacienda's renowned Verandah Cooler by the fire pit and chatting with the regulars. That way, we can pretend it really is the 1940s, and we don't know how bad tobacco is yet.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: "Foxy baby," says manager John, "'cuz it's cuddly but classy

Los Gatos Bar & Grill
15 1/2 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.399.5424

Hours: Sun, Tue-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 5pm-1am
Crowd Age: 20-40
Music: Jukebox
Decor: Brewery with ballroom touches
Signature Drink: Liquid Love
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Pool, video games

Don't let the stuffed flank steak, chicken satay or marinades and tapenades on the new menu fool you. This 5-year-old bar doesn't take itself too seriously. Witness the jars of gummy worms strewn about and the various liquor concoctions bartenders whip up for a smile and a small fee.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: A leopard, because "they're kind of docile when they're lying down, but they go from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds," says chef and manager Jeff

Los Gatos Brewing Company
130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.9929

Hours: Fri-Sat 11:30am-midnight, Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm
Crowd Age: 20s and 30s
Music: No live music
Decor: Sleek, classy pub
Signature Drink: Local microbrews
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: TVs

Look out Pabst, roll over Rolling Rock, the microbrew's got something to say. At Los Gatos Brewing Company, beer is a treat not to be taken for granted. There will be no ratty outfits in here. Stains and wrinkles would insult the classy, rich beer--that being the main focus and magic of this venue.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: A lion, because "they're a lot better than everybody else," says James, the manager

Los Gatos Lodge
50 Los Gatos/Saratoga Rd, Los Gatos 408.354.3300

Hours: Sun-Thu 10:30am-midnight, Fri-Sat 10:30am-1:30am
Crowd Age: 40-60
Music: Live music Fri-Sat
Decor: Rustic resort
Signature Drink: "Anything you want it to be!"
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Happy-hour treats

This lodge boasts a neat balance between a rustic cabin and a '50s lounge. On the one hand, it's got a green Naugahyde bar and plum-colored bar stools. On the other, it's got fake rocks and a fireplace. Regulars love this place, if not for its atmosphere, then for its equally timeless stiff drinks.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: "The majority of our regulars are Lion's Club members," says bar manager Gabriel, so, "A lion!"

Mountain Charley's Saloon
15 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.8880

Hours: Wed-Sat noon-2am
Crowd Age: 21-35
Music: Live music two nights a week
Decor: Dark rock & roll saloon
Signature Drink: Famous nightly drink specials
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Shuffleboard, karaoke

Shuffleboard and rock & roll--oh, the beautiful melding of cultures. That's what you'll get here at Mountain Charley's. Add nightly drink specials like the infamous Mandarin Kiss and a bartender who's also an ordained minister, and you may find yourself married to Los Gatos' hippest mountain man. Whether watching punk bands kick their amps on stage or sports players kick it on TV, Charley's patrons can rest assured of a fine time at the old rock-house saloon.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: A thoroughbred horse--a little bit saloon, a little bit rock & roll

Pedro's Restaurante & Cantina
316 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.354.7570

Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-11pm
Crowd Age: All over the map
Music: Sunday-morning mariachi
Decor: Mexican cantina
Signature Drink: Margarita
Games/Amenities: No

Pedro's has a new name. Until recently, it was Pedro's Cabo Grill--but the game is the same: the cantina still offers tequila shots smooth enough to ring in a new year every cabaña-style night.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: Toucan

Steamer's Grillhouse
31 University Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.2722

Hours: Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm, Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm
Crowd Age: 25-45
Music: No live music
Decor: Upscale grill house
Signature Drink: Martinis in 12 flavors
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Watching the beautiful people

Martinis are too often underestimated and undervalued. That never happens at Steamer's. The Bartenders--or Steamerettes--so honor the drink, that they make a diversity of types and styles to capture the imagination and taste of former Martini nonbelievers. Bar-goers have a dozen from which to choose.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: "A horse," says server/bartender Olvin, "because we're very fast, and horses are beautiful animals"

Toll House Hotel, Lounge & Restaurant
140 S. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.7070

Hours: Daily 4-11pm
Crowd Age: 35 and up
Music: Piano
Decor: Traditional European
Signature Drink: White Russian, wine from local wineries
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No

Toll House--formerly Clocktower--is a sports-fan friendly lounge, highly beloved at game time. Fans rush the place when local teams play. Missing, however, are women. "There's a lot of guys in here, not a lot of women," laments manager Nick. "It's disappointing for the bartenders." But what it lacks in estrogen, Toll House tries, arguably successfully, to compensate for in lots of TVs, and sports. And beer. Lots of beer.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: A little bear cub, says manager Mary, "because it's warm and fuzzy"

160 W. Main St, Los Gatos 408.354.8108

Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight, Sun 5-10pm
Crowd Age: 25-50
Music: No
Decor: Classy bistro
Signature Drink: Award-winning Martinis
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No

Valeriano's has a secret. It's stolen away experienced masters from other Silicon Valley upscale establishments, like downtown San Jose's Eulipia, to create a sort of super bar/restaurant force. The result (surprise!) is friendly elegance and tasty drinks and food.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Animal It Be?: A chameleon, because "the crowd changes throughout the day," says Rob, the general manager, "but the drinks are always good"

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From the July 18-24, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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