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Bar Fly: Playhouse Sports Lounge in San Jose

In Music
SENSORY OVERLOAD Playhouse features wall upon wall of TVs.

SENSORY OVERLOAD Playhouse features wall upon wall of TVs.

Thursday evening: 11pm, and the night is a slow one at Playhouse, the new San Jose nightlife venue. Having opened in late June, Playhouse is still comparatively unknown to club-goers, but I’m grateful for the small crowd. It gives me the opportunity to do what I enjoy the most—sit around and sip a beer.

Playhouse bills itself as a sports lounge, but from what I see, it’s more of a posh nightclub than anything else. Playground sits in the same building as the now-defunct Vault Ultra Lounge—a renovated two-story bank building. Gold upholstered couches line both sides of the first floor while a center staircase, upholstered in the same gold leather as the couches, rises to the second floor—a spacious balcony area with seating that overlooks the dance floor.

The DJ stands in his corner on the second floor, spinning a dance-worthy mix of electronic music while two of the staff, women in gold-sequined dresses and platform stilettos, dance at the foot of the stairs, bobbing and jutting out their chests. Playhouse would be entirely nightclub were it not for televisions: the greatest number of TVs I have seen outside of a Best Buy store—more than 21—cover every wall and they’re all tuned to the X-Games on ESPN.

Come midnight, business picks up. Muscular men in tees and jeans and women in curve-hugging cocktail dresses—San Jose’s classier and well-behaved version of Jersey Shore—arrive. They head straight to the bar for drinks and flag down the waitresses for $200 bottle services. The waitresses vanish for a few moments, then return, their arms heavy with trays of Grey Goose, shot glasses, juice and fruit chunks. The party spreads to the couches and tables, filling much of the first floor seating. For me, the night is ending, and I move toward the exit. Peering back, I spy the waitresses go-go dancing on the tables. Looks like it’s going to be one heck of a party. The Barfly

Playhouse
81 W. Santa Clara St.
San Jose

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