Silicon Valley is full of new bars and clubs championing new trends and neighborhood staples that have served loyal patrons today.
We’ve assembled lists of some of these favorite watering holes. We hope you will use the information to find something new or revisit an old favorite with your personalized bar crawl (with a designated driver, of course) around Silicon Valley.
Cocktails & Craft Beer
55 S. First St., San Jose
66 S. First St., San Jose
1110 Willow Ave., San Jose
Steins Beer Garden
895 Villa St., Mountain View
374 S. First St., San Jose
390 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos
37 S. First St., San Jose
43 W. San Salvador St., San Jose.
Beyond Pub Grub
By Stephen Layton
Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea, and with places like these, who would want to? Instead of limp burgers and decade-old peanuts, these bars serve up everything from gourmet tacos to pork belly sliders alongside their liquor.
632 Emerson St., Palo Alto
25 W. San Fernando St., San Jose
San Pedro Square Market
87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose
Firehouse No. 1
69 N. San Pedro St., San Jose
Grill on the Alley
Neither the word pub nor grub would ever apply to this white-tablecloth spot. Housed in the Fairmont downtown, prices are about as high as you’d expect, though during the happy hour, 4-7pm on weekdays and 5-7pm weekends, both the food and drink are more reasonably priced. The Grill serves up a surf and turf menu alongside a variety of classy-sounding cocktails like the Red Velvet Martini or Cucumber Gimlet.
Bottoms Up, Shades On
By Jenn Elias
Why limit yourself to indoor drinking, when you can take advantage of the Silicon Valley’s near-perfect summer weather? These patios don’t limit you to the typical crowded bar scene. Whether it’s under a big oak tree or atop a hotel or hillside, these spots offer a unique environment for those looking to break free from the musty confines of their local dive.
368 Santana Row, San Jose
Old Wagon Wheel Saloon
73 N. San Pedro St., San Jose
535 Ramona St., Palo Alto
5635 Silver Creek Valley Road, San Jose
Home Team Favorites
By Stephen Layton
For sports fans, hitting up the bar around game time can be a clutch move, whether it’s to celebrate a victory or drown their sorrows after a loss. Below we’ve paired local sports venues with a quality nearby bar.
Britannia Arms Downtown
173 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose. All those people walking under the 87 toward HP before the Sharks game? They’re probably coming from the Britannia Arms. This English-style pub is a go-to spot on game nights, somewhere to pre-game or, for fans without tickets, to watch. The pub’s famous fish and chips are a local favorite.
Buck Shaw Stadium
3200 The Alameda, Santa Clara
The Old Pro
541 Ramona St., Palo Alto.
SJSU Events Center
69 E. San Fernando St., San Jose.
563 Second St., San Francisco. Before shelling out $9 for a Bud Light at AT&T Park, grab a couple local craft brews right down the street at 2First Amendment. Check out the notorious summer seasonal “Hell or High Watermelon” wheat beer, or a more conventional IPA like the “Live Free or Die!” There’s a three-hour happy hour window on weekdays with $2 draft beer, but unfortunately, there’s no happy hour on game days. Regardless, it’ll be full of Giants’ fans.
Bogart’s Lounge and Techpub
1209 Wildwood Ave., Sunnyvale. While more bars might spring up after Levi’s Stadium is actually finished, the current closest is Bogart’s (not counting the nearby historical landmark: one of the few surviving Bennigan’s). While waiting for the 49ers to come to the South Bay, fans might as well stop by for karaoke, pool, live music and a couple drinks.
Get Yer Freak On
By Aaron Carnes
People can hook up at any bar, but some are just designed to help facilitate the process. Ideally, it’s a club with lots of dance music (Top 40, hip-hop, EDM preferred), some glitzy ambience, a big open dance floor and a place people feel inclined to dress up (or dress less). These are the clubs where “gettin’ yer freak on” is as common as ordering a shot of high-end tequila. The music is loud, but that just means you need to quit your yapping and show off your moves. Just don’t expect to get past the velvet rope wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops.
Studio 8 has one of the biggest dance floors in San Jose and also draws some of the biggest celebrities. From local rappers (IAMSU and Bailey) to porn stars (Jenna Jameson) to celebrity DJs (Pauly D), there’s something on most weekends to draw long lines, short skirts, and buff-and-bronzed bodies to the dance floor.
389 S. First St., San Jose
399 S. First St., San Jose
While most of the large South Bay dance clubs are in downtown San Jose, Axis offers an alternative in the old Peppermill building in Santa Clara. Local DJs spin Vegas style Top 40, hip-hop and EDM, with the occasional national headliner making a stop as well.
The restaurant and lounge setting at Fahrenheit creates a slightly more upscale vibe, but the later it gets, the looser the crowd. DJs spin R&B, hip-hop, EDM and Top 40 Thursdays through Saturdays.
By Aaron Carnes
Not every dance club is intended to be a sweaty meat market—not to say that people can’t hook up at these bars, but the clubs here offer much more. Most have a casual, intimate environment with DJs working in tracks and genres outside of the mainstream. Some are geared toward dancing; others have more of a lounge environment. People can dress up if they want to, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from heading out to these clubs and listening to DJs spin some of the most interesting mixes out there.
Mountain Charley’s Saloon
15 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos
170 S. Market St., San Jose.
The Branham Lounge is the place in south San Jose to go dancing, or at least go out to hear loud music. It falls somewhere between a cozy neighborhood bar and a fist-pumping dance club. The fireplace and couches are a nice touch. The DJs play an eclectic mix of house, electro, rock, punk and hip-hop.
260 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell.
152 Post St., San Jose.
803 Lincoln Ave., San Jose.
355 Santana Row #1010, San Jose.
Loud and Proud
By Aaron Carnes
Long before Chuck Berry did his first duck walk, the Ramones blasted their first power chord and the first long-haired, quiet kid picked up a guitar and stared at his shoes, there was alcohol involved with the live music experience. The two go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and there is no shortage of bars in San Jose that host live music and a thirsty crowd. The styles of music run the gamut—rock, punk, metal, jazz, blues, rap—but the drinks are almost always cold and the music loud.
31 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose.
Poor House Bistro
91 S. Autumn St., San Jose.
20990 Homestead Rd., Cupertino.
98 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose.
3439 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose. JJ’s
44 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose.
610 Coleman Ave., San Jose.
By Aaron Carnes
Bars come and go. It’s a tough business—the liabilities are high and so are the headaches, and things just somehow manage to fall apart even at once-thriving watering holes. Try dealing with irate drunks, teetotalling government agents and NIMBY neighbors at any given point, seven days a week. The bars in this category are survivors, meaning they’ve been in business at least 25 years, which is a lifetime in bar years. A few are much older than 25 years. How they did it is anyone’s guess.
21619 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino.
102 S. Montgomery St., San Jose.
This little dive has been open since the 1930s. It’s located over by HP Pavilion, so it draws lots of Sharks fans, concertgoers and Caltrain commuters. It’s the perfect spot for those who miss their train, intentionally or unintentionally.
141 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos.
This is a dive only by Los Gatos standards. It’s been around since 1959 and is most famous for its Kamikazes, which are served by the pitcher, and come with several shot glasses on the side. It’s home to a nice mix of old-timers and youngsters.
2425 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell.
There is tons of sports in Courts: 13 TVs tuned to sports channels, a pool table and lots of dart boards. It is a neighborhood Cheers-style bar that’s been open since the late ’70s.
300 Orchard City Dr. #101, Campbell.
208 Bachman Ave., Los Gatos.
321 S. California Ave., Palo Alto.
399 N. 13th St., San Jose.
This is technically a neighborhood bar, in that it is literally in the middle of a residential street. Its slogan is “Where friends meet,” which might not seem true at first glance at the rough looking regulars, but they are actually quite friendly, inviting people.