On the outside, there's no names or hanging signs. Just a barrel. This place is pretty awesome. Why? Well, it's like you walked into the prohibition era (maybe why that's why they don't have hanging signs outside). The whole vibe is like you stepped into the 1920s-30s. You don't order drinks. They ask you questions like:
Do you like something sweet or spicy or ____?
Do you like something with a citrus flavor or tarty?
Do you like something with a kick or something desserty?
And more questions.
Once you answered a bunch of questions, they will make you a drink with the tastes you requested and they're usually really good. They use fresh fruit and high quality mixes.
Amongst my group, we had one drink that had a raw egg in it that tasted surprisingly good. Another person had a spicy but sweet drink. There was a jalapeno in it. There were a lot more but you get the idea. Very unusual and good drinks. They're not cheap but not overly expensive compared to these day's standards. About $10 a drink.
BTW, you have to wait a LONG time outside to get in, and once you're in, the place has a comfortable amount of people. Not packed. They do it to make sure that every seat is filled, but not with one person more. So yes, it's a pain to wait. But I think if you have the patience, it's pretty cool.
Dress Code: The people who work there are dressed in nostalgic speakeasy type of clothing. You can wear whatever you want though.
Located here at Santana Row where all the restaurants and bars are is the wonderful wine bar. After a long day of interviewing I decided to meet Ro, Danny and Curtis for a few needed drinks.
The Vintage Wine Bar is located in the middle of Santana Row Park. It's a nice outdoor bar with quite a few tables and an excellent place to enjoy a few drinks as well as people watch. The menu is full of some excellent California wines, some 25+ as well as mixed drinks and beers and they also have a small appetizer menu for something to eat if you're hungry. Prices are reasonble as well.
Ro and I enjoyed a great California Red but I am so bad with those things, so I am not sure the name all I do remember is that it was quite good, nice and smooth. We decided to only have the one glass of wine each as we wanted to do some shopping before making our way to Santa Clara where were were invited to Mark's for a nice dinner party later that evening.
Trials is an fun little pub with an authentic old time atmosphere. It is located in an old, historic 19th century building with lots of wood and high ceilings, a long narrow room that feels like an old pub. There are a two comfortable big chairs in front of the big front window, a long row of stools along a bar, and a small back room with tables for larger groups of patrons. British football memorabilia on the walls adds to the atmosphere.
An extensive and original beer list makes the selection of drinks special. A menu of British type pub food is available too.
The Tied House in San Pedro Square is another in what is becoming the stereotypical American microbrewery. The same old beer list, high prices, average service, and unremarkable decor leave little to write home about. Neither of the beers we wanted from the menu were actually on tap so we had to settle for our second choices, after a long wait for the bartender to actually get our orders. Beers were $4 each at what must've been the late happy hour, and definitely not bad but nothing outstanding either. The bar closed at midnight, 2 hours before the city's last call and they booted the customers out to the street. That's bad for business. Bartender must've had a hot date.
Probably my biggest complaint is the complete mess behind the bar. There were no doors on any cabinets and the lights were brighter than they should have been, so I got to stare at all the junk under the counter top in the bartender's area. Rather than closed doors or neatly aligned bottles and glasses, the Tied House displays all kinds of junk from empty cardboard boxes to extra garbage bags.
The best description I can come up with is Tied House is the diner/cafeteria of microbreweries.
Here is what is on the bar's web page. It is pretty much true. The Dive Bar is a good place to go in downtown. It is in a league above the many college bars in the area, and not a part of the typical club scene.
" A lot of people who walk into the Dive Bar for the first time immediately comment, "this isn't a dive bar!" Well, yes and no......
The dictionary defines "dive" as a slang term, best described as a "disreputable or run-down bar or nightclub". So, in that sense, no, we're not a dive bar. But anybody who has stumbled upon a local dive bar and had a great time, knows that dive bars are sometimes the most fun, neighborhood bars -- not pretentious, not stuffy, no attitude. So, in that sense, yes, we are a dive bar.
This was our objective when we opened Dive Bar on October 9, 2004 -- to create a fun, friendly neighborhood bar with great bartenders, excellent drinks, all types of music, and a comfortable, relaxed (and relaxing) atmosphere.
We do consider Dive Bar to be very "tongue-in-cheeK" as far as dive bars go, and even added a neon diver sign like the motels of the '50's had, to continue our play on the word "dive".
We hope you find Dive Bar to be everything we planned and that every time you and your friends and colleagues come in, you know we're not just a dive bar, but the Dive Bar.
Dress Code: This is California, so it is pretty casual. However, wearing a t-shirt and looking sloppy won't win you points here; it is a little classier than that.
A great place to hear the Blues 7 nights a week. A clean safe club with a varied and interesting audience of regulars and tourists.
doors at 6pm with two live performances each day starting at 7-ish and 9-ish. The bands usually play until midnight - later if the audience can make them.
There are also two jam nights.
San Jose has plenty of nightlife downtown that runs from simple bars to trendy nightclubs. In fact, I can honestly say I have never seen so many nightclubs in one small area in my life. I would guess we walked past at least 10-15 clubs, most with long lines stretching out the door and down the street, some with hundreds of people waiting to get in. Most of the clubs were between 1st and 3rd Streets near San Jose State University.
The quieter, yet still popular, places are in San Pedro Square. We stopped in to the Tied House microbrewery, and this area also has a few Irish pubs, good restaurants and other bars.
I came here about 45 minutes before closing time and it was dead. There were 6 people in the back, and some 40 year old DJ dressed like he was going to sit in a lawn chair outside of his RV. The bartender started giving us the pouty/whiny face when she wanted us to go (be mature and cool you moronic chick) and for a place that has the name Dive Bar...it is far from that. Maybe on other nights when there are more people there it might be nicer. But for some reason I didn't really feel it here, and if I had a choice, I would never go back.
Oh my. I knew I wasn't going to dig this place when I noticed that all the guys outside had virtually the same style shirts and hats on. It's a complete fraternity hangout with a bunch of people who are just concerned with getting blasted out of their minds and continuing to not care about what happens tomorrow and only focus on the present. Definitely not my scene. I prefer a place with a more laid back and realisitic edge, or a place where people can actually have a conversation that might possibly stretch the level of their intelligence, or a place with a lot more style and grace.
I only had some appetizers at the bar as I consumed drink after drink, but all 3 were good. As was the blueberry infused vodka...I love anything blueberry, so I am biased. The design of the place is really well done. Stylish and smooth...that modern edge. It's the type of place you go if you want to be somewhere swanky, yet good...and with pushing towards 100 kinds of vodka.
Dress Code: I'd say dress nicer for this place.
Blank Club in Downtown San Jose is the ideal alternative club. THe place host event and DJ theme nights like "80's"electro night, Brit-pop and Dance-punk nights. Live Bands like Punk and hillbilly rock bands make the rounds also. It is a definite plus and alternative to all the mega nightclubs downtown ( Vault, Glo, Farenheit).
Dress Code: Soho hip, Rock-a-billy Joe, Alterna-girl pretty, Gothy-Gretchen or Skate-boy Brian.
I really enjoyed my visit to the Flying Pig Pub in San Jose. Its rather a small place, with just the one bar, with seating inside and out (although not too much of it). Loved the staff who make you feel at home. Average priced drinks, but really cool music. That is, if you like grungey stuff. Think Pearl jam and the like. Open till 2am.
Dress Code: Just normal pub attire. Pretty relaxed dress code.
The V-bar, located on the 9th floor of the Valencia Hotel in Santana Row, is a huge indoor/outddor bar where you can drink expensive cocktails while people-watching. The atmosphere is mellow and the poeple are dressed to a t.
Dress Code: Dress-up or go elsewhere.
San Francisco might get all the credit for having all the major nightlife in the Bay Area, but San Jose does have its share. The catch is that you really have to find it, and locals are the ones who know where they are.
Yahoo Travel Guide's listings to San Jose's nightlife is fairly extensive and should give you a good idea of what's going on in town. You'll notice that much of the nightlife is themed around premises, so be prepared for a change in clothing. Some of San Jose's best known night spots are the infamous Saddlerack (Country/Western bar with a mechanical bull), the Cactus Club (rock) and Mac's Club (gay).
The area around San Pedro Square is also good nightspot, with cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Cinebar is a tiny little dive bar that deserves mention. It is truly a hole that got discovered by the college crowd due to it's proximity to campus and the great juke box.
Any night of the week you can drink beers with countless 19 year old college girls as pretty much the age on their ID's don't matter to the owners.
Can't believe it is still around.
They can pour a mean cocktail, but order beer later in the evening as the bartenders tend to get drunk and sloppy.
Dress Code: casual
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