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Aruba's Bar
Four Points by Sheraton Sunnyvale
1250 Lakeside Dr, Sunnyvale 408.738.0111

Hours: Daily 11:30am-midnight
Crowd Age: Middle-aged
Music: No
Decor: Caribbean
Signature Drink: Aruba's Cooler
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Pool, patio and beach

A virtual oasis housed inside the Four Points by Sheraton Sunnyvale, this Caribbean bar displays all the trappings of an island getaway. While the adjoining Island Grill is known for its gumbo, the bar owes its popularity to its refreshing tropical drinks. This resortlike watering hole offers a miniescape from the corporate rat race.

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

The Bean Scene
186 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.738.4523

Hours: Mon-Thu 6:30am-6pm, Fri 6:30am-10:30pm, Sat 7:30am-10:30pm, Sun 8am-5pm
Crowd Age: All ages
Music: Live jazz and blues bands every Saturday
Decor: Cozy coffee hangout
Signature Drink: Mocha Freeze and Bubble Tea in Thai iced tea, mango, plum or green tea flavors
Dancing: Only if the customers get too wired
Games/Amenities: Chess, Internet access

This warm, Roman-style cafe offers a rich, inviting environment inside and breezy patio seating outside. It's a perfect place to stop and set a spell, catch up on reading or hang out with friends.

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

Beefy's Cabin
1028 W. Washington Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.7141

Hours: Daily 8am-2am
Crowd Age: Mixed crowd, older patrons during the day
Decor: Well-worn neighborhood dive
Music: Jukebox with a mixed selection; bar will put in albums requested by locals
Signature Drink: No
Dancing: Not usually
Games/Amenities: Pool, darts, pinball, video games, legal indoor smoking

This owner-operated neighborhood bar is one of the last bastions left where patrons can legally puff in peace. Welcoming and populated by friendly regulars, Beefy's also offers a pool tournament every Friday night.

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

Blue Max
828 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale 408.746.9500

Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-2am; Sun 10am-midnight
Crowd Age: 21-68
Decor: Neighborhood bar
Music: Jukebox, karaoke
Signature Drink: Beer
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Karaoke Thu 9:30pm-2am; Sat 10pm-2am

Co-owners Jeanette and Robert keep things neighborly at the Blue Max, which is named after a German WWI airforce medal--thus the bar's subtle aviation theme. After a few beers, you may be flying high enough to participate in Blue Max's karaoke, hosted by Robert--or, as Jeanette says, "by the people, for the people." The people tend to be in their 20s and 30s.

If your bar could be any animal, what would it be? Snoopy's Red Baron

Brass Rail
160 Persian Dr, Sunnyvale 408.734.1454

Hours: Food served Mon-Fri 10:30am-2pm, shows daily 11:45am-2am
Crowd Age: 21 and up
Music: DJ
Decor: Gentlemen's club
Signature Drink: No, but there's a full bar
Dancing: By the club's dancers
Games/Amenities: Six pool tables, big-screen TVs, ATM machines, wet-T-shirt contests Wed, amateur talent showcases Friday afternoons, Monday-night football parties with hot dogs and hamburgers at halftime during football season

With four stages, the Rail can get pretty noisy as more than 40 girls a day entertain. Though the dancers don't take it all off, videos of the girls dancing topless accompany their onstage performances. Here, the dancers double as cocktail waitresses, so there's plenty of social interaction between the girls and the Rail's patrons. This club also serves full lunch meals with lunch specials every weekday.

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

Fibbar McGee's
156 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.749.8373

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: Young to middle-aged
Music: Live modern-rock bands Fri-Sat (and sometimes Thu), starting around 10pm
Decor: Traditional Irish pub
Signature Drink: Guinness Stout and the specialty cocktail Who's Your Daddy?
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, darts, dice games, a smoking patio and big-screen TVs for sporting events

A celebration of all things Irish, this traditional pub offers a taste of the green island with Irish drinks and a menu full of traditional Irish fare, including steak and kidney pie, Irish stew and corned beef & cabbage.

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

The Hiphugger
948 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale 408.736.8585

Hours: Daily till 2am
Crowd Age: 21-45
Music: Jukebox for the dancers
Decor: Casual bikini bar
Signature Drink: No; the club only serves beer, but a full bar is on the way
Dancing: If your name is "Sinamin"
Games/Amenities: Pool, pinball, video games, big-screen TVs, ATM available

Dancers mingle with patrons after their numbers, giving this neighborhood club with two stages a casual, almost chatty atmosphere. Sometimes they even come in on their off-days to hang out and shoot pool with the regulars. There's never a cover charge at this friendly establishment.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Lap dog-wink, wink

Jungle Bar and Restaurant
155 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.720.1535

Hours: Thu-Sat 9pm-2am, no cover before 10:30pm
Crowd Age: 21-30
Music: DJ nightly; DJ showcase Thursday nights
Decor: Plastic vines lining the walls
Signature Drink: No
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Video games, foosball, pool table, air hockey

Formerly Full Throttle Sports Cafe, Jungle has a different nighttime personality altogether. A restaurant during the day, Jungle goes wild with young people getting freaky and shaking booty on the two dance floors. Upstairs, the vibe is more mellow and less sweaty, and boasts a second DJ doing progressive house and trance weekend nights. Smokers can exhale outside on the balcony which overlooks South Murphy. All ladies get two drinks for the price of one on Ladies' Night Thursdays. There is a dress code: for men, no baseball hats or shorts. The mantra for girls here is more pleather, more pleasure.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: A swingin' monkey

The Kit Kat Club
907 E. Arques Ave, Sunnyvale 408.733.2628

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-2am, Sun 6pm-2am
Crowd Age: 18 and up; 20s-40s
Music: For the dancers
Decor: Cathedral ceiling and wood-paneled gentlemen's club
Signature Drink: Alcohol is not served; lots of juices and fruit shakes
Dancing: By the dancers
Games/Amenities: ATM; secluded couch-dance areas

A surprising number of couples frequent this club where the kittens take it all off under black lights, strobe lights and a spinning disco ball. The newly remodeled spot features two stages and several poles on which the fully nude dancers do gravity-defying erotic tricks. Private dances are offered in private lounges, and open auditions for dancers are held every Tuesday at 9pm.

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

Lion and Compass
1023 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Sunnyvale 408.745.1260

Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, dinner Mon-Fri 5:30-9:30pm, Sat 5:30-9pm, closed Sun
Crowd Age: Early-to-middle-aged high-powered Silicon Valley executives
Music: No
Decor: Antique bar and lampposts imported from England
Signature Drink: Brazilian Daiquiri
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No

Like a country club for Silicon Valley's tech-savvy big boys, this business restaurant acts like a beacon for corporate suits who dress to impress. The restaurant offers new California cuisine with an Asian flair and a full bar that specializes in scotch and tequila. Enjoy elegant, classy meals indoors or dine outdoors near the tropical gardens when the weather conditions are favorable. There are also several private banquet rooms for execs to make and seal the deals.

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

Murphy's Law
135 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.3822

Hours: Mon-Thu noon-11:30pm, Fri noon-2am, Sat 10am-2am, Sun 10am-11:30pm
Crowd Age: Mid-30s to mid-40s
Music: Live classic rock and blues bands on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 9pm
Decor: Sports bar
Signature Drink: Cosmopolitan
Dancing: There's a small dance floor
Games/Amenities: Video games, electronic dart board, big-screen TV and a jukebox stocked with classic and alternative rock and blues

Given a mild makeover, this older establishment has become a little more upscale. The place draws talkative, well-meaning regulars who love to chat with newcomers.

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

Paul and Harvey's
130 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.736.5770

Hours: Daily 7am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-80; older crowd by day, younger by night
Music: Jukebox
Decor: Rustic
Signature Drink: Ask the bartender
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, TVs, video games, pinball, darts

This quirky little joint just got a makeover. It's bigger, better and brighter, with a fresh paint job, new windows, new bathrooms, handicapped access and a small patio for smokers. Still a work in progress, some of the old decorations aren't up yet, but they should be soon. No doubt, Paul & Harvey's will continue to bring a mix of bikers, yuppies and college kids out of the woodwork to jockey for the bartender's attention.

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

The Roadhouse Blues and Rock Cafe
1102 W. Evelyn, Sunnyvale 408.739.7939

Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Crowd Age: 30s and up
Music: Live blues and rock
Decor: Casual
Signature Drink: No
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Darts, pool tables, video games

This somewhat hard-to-find bar can pack 'em in after the nine-to-fivers call it a day. A thirtysomething-and-up crowd dresses casual and, in general, seems to just be looking for a good time. Weekends, live blues and rock bands turn drinkers into dancers.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Happy clam

Rooster T. Feathers
157 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale 408.736.0921

Hours: Wed-Thu 7:15-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 7:15pm-1am

Crowd: 21-55
Music: No
Decor: Comedy-related entertainment memorabilia
Signature Drink: The Cocktease
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: No

Until the Improv opens, this local comedy club is one of the only places in the South Bay to catch standup comedy on a regular basis. The local laugh-factory has been voted Best Comedy Club in the Bay Area by Metro's own readers five years in a row. There's a $12 cover nightly. Regulars might consider joining Rooster's V.I.R. (Very Important Rooster) club and ensure they never have to wait in line again. The club is under new ownership with a new logo and a new sign on the way.

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

Scruffy Murphy's
187 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale 408.735.7394

Hours: Daily 11am-1:30am
Crowd Age: Late 20s-50s
Music: Live rock bands Fri-Sat 9:30pm; Irish bands last Sun of each month
Decor: Old-style European
Signature Drink: Black & Tan and Guinness Stout
Dancing: Yes, when bands play
Games/Amenities: Dart board, pool tables, video game, smoking patio

This friendly and familiar Irish-themed pub draws a handsome crowd. Celtic and acoustic rock bands frequent the bar, providing entertainment during and between rounds. Fridays and Saturdays are also ladies' nights; Tuesdays offer a trivia contest with prizes for the winner.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: Celtic tiger

Shooters Bar and Grill
769 N. Mathilda Ave, Sunnyvale 408.738.2787

Hours: Daily 10am-2am
Crowd Age: Middle-aged
Music: Jukebox stocked with rock & roll, country and more
Decor: Sporty
Signature Drink: Lots of shots
Dancing: No
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, darts, big-screen TV, smoking patio

Friendly and unassuming, Shooters is a great place for fans of sports and fans of shots--lots and lots of shots, in fact. Keep occupied during halftime by playing darts or pool or having a long smoke out on the patio.

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

1160 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Sunnyvale 408.745.7827

Hours: Parties Thu 7:15-11pm, Fri 7:15pm-midnight, Sat 8pm-midnight, Sun 7-11pm
Crowd Age: 20s-50s
Music: DJs
Decor: Clean, modern dance hall
Signature Drink: No; alcohol is not served
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: No

You too can be Lord (or Lady) of the Dance at the Starlite. Arrive early to take lessons from ballroom's dance staff. Afterward, show off your new steps when the whole place becomes a nightclub for serious ballroom dancers.

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

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

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