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[whitespace] Outback Steakhouse
1887 Bascom Ave, Campbell 408.371.5384

Hours: Mon-Thu 4-10pm, Fri 4-11pm, Sat 3-11pm, Sun 2-10pm.
Music: '80s hits
Decor: Disney Downunder
Signature Drink: Margarita incarnations
Games/Amenities: Boomerangs on the walls, but not for throwing; good bar food

This is not, by any measure, what anyone in their right mind would call a quiet spot for a drink. So get that out of your head immediately. This is a place where people go to eat, drink, laugh loud and hang out, although usually in the opposite order. The dinnertime popularity factor of this Pruneyard hot spot puts a flashing and vibrating pager into the hands of most parties in the bar as they await a table for dinner. And party-on they do here in "Bonzer!" style, as the strains of "Happy Birthday" can usually be heard at least once a night from somewhere in the dining room.

Although the restaurant is the main attraction, the bar stands on its own. The U-shaped configuration makes it conversation-friendly, the turnover of dinner folks and daters keeps the scenery changing just enough to be interesting. Maybe it's the meaty menu, but the clientele here is slightly more male than female. Not a problem, as "sheilas" get plenty of attention from the single and mostly buff boys. Word has it that this is one of the highest-grossing Outback chains in the nation, featuring the trademark boomerang collection and assortment of stuffed crocs and koalas hanging around like Tinker Bells at Disneyland. Sure, mate, all the Aussie-isms on the menu are a bit corny, but the quality is consistent, and staffers here work hard to please. Think a Marie Callender's for the Sports Illustrated and Cosmo set and you've got the idea.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: A koala bear, votes some staffers, motioning to the stuffed cutie clinging to the post behind the cash register. Big black nose, fan of eucalyptus leaves, hater of Quantas, you ask? No, because the Outback is a friendly, cuddly place with a lot to cling to.

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

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