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If you happen to get drunk at the Loft—well, in the actual outdoor loft on the roof—be careful. There's a maze of stairs to navigate before making it back down to street level. This of course becomes more difficult after a few mojitos, which rank among the best in San Jose (several scientific tests were carried out to determine this). The Loft also has amazing bread served with some type of balsamic dipping sauce from heaven. Save some money by having cocktails and warm bread on the roof during the warm summer months and then head to a restaurant with lower prices and better entrees.
Featuring some of Silicon Valley's best steakhouse fare in addition to a well-stocked bar, Brandon's Restaurant in Milpitas is a favorite destination of Silicon Valley residents who are discerning about their food and drink. Nightly drink and tapas specials cater to the after-work crowd, while mouth-watering prime steaks and a full wine list will satisfy any palate. Live music on Thursdays also boosts the upscale feel at this stylish steakhouse.
Decked out with that sleek, sophisticated style that San Jose professionals devour, Arcadia is an upscale gem that stands out from its San Jose brethren. The refined cocktail lounge within this downtown restaurant is a hotspot both pre- and post-dinner, filling in with dolled-up crowds who pass the time sipping specialty martinis and Macallan 18s. The cuisine is five-star, which pretty much guarantees that any meal is going to be amazing and amazingly expensive, whether you're indulging in ahi tuna tartare or American Kobe burgers.
When it comes to a good night out, food and drink is always a must. El Guapo is a one-of-a-kind San Jose favorite that mixes the traditional and authentic recipes of real mexican cuisine with the type of emphasis on fresh ingredients inherent to the California food scene. Beyond their quality meat selection and street taco menus (and the famous El Guapo Fish Taco), El Guapo packs a punch with a strong drink menu as well, including their house Sangria, which uses freshly cut seasonal fruits, and their extensive list of unique margarita mixes, including the house and patron favorite El Hefe Margarita. When looking for delicious eats and a stiff drink, there is a reason El Guapo's reputation is this strong.
Giveaway: Win VIP Bottle Service
Giveaway: Win VIP Bottle Service
As sleek and glamorous as San Jose's glitterati could want, Fahrenheit Restaurant & Lounge is decked out with all the style necessary to be a top-notch restaurant and ultra lounge. Colorful dim lighting and low-slung furnishings set a warm, fashionable stage for enjoying something from the menu of modern global cuisine. Pair any meal with one of their designer cocktails (which the bartenders might just prepare with a copious amount of fiery flair) and you've got a recipe for an ultra trendy lunch or dinner experience.
Spencer's for Steaks and Chops is a San Jose steakhouse institution. The extraordinary wine cellar and full bar lends to a lively atmosphere and ample pairing opportunities with the menu. The cuisine at this San Jose dining spot is defined by the moniker, but the menu surprises with centerpiece ingredients like the highest quality, 21-28-day aged, locally sourced, USDA natural and organic meats, as well as other fresh, high quality ingredients prepared with a contemporary flair. Special events line the calendar at Spencer's, with wine dinners, cooking demonstrations and more to turn any ordinary night into something new and exciting.
Email Capers Eat & Drink
Email Capers Eat & Drink
A stylish take on a sports-theme defines Capers Restaurant in Campbell. Sports memorabilia surrounds tables in this fun and lively Campbell hotspot, and multiple TVs allow everyone to catch the game, whether they’re seated at a table or on a barstool. Great happy hour specials, 2-4-1 deals on martinis all day on Mondays and Tuesdays, and lengthy menus of creative and familiar American bistro cuisine make this place tough to resist when hungry, thirsty and looking to keep up on the stats of a favorite team.
The suave, Rat Pack style of Grill on the Alley makes it the kind of place where you can impress a date with your expensive taste and your eye for super chic New York style. The lunch and dinner menus feature large portions of steaks, pastas and fresh seafood, all of which complement the extensive wine list and amazing selection of specialty cocktails. If you're not in the mood for a full sit-down dinner, you can settle into one of the cozy leather barstools and order something from the excellent bar menu.
A popular downtown San Jose restaurant, Chacho's packs in regularly with enthusiastic patrons aching to partake in killer Mexican food and mind-bending margaritas. Huge portions of traditional Mexican fare are prepared from family recipes and made fresh daily, the cocktails are potent and the selection of tequila is just about heavenly with over 90 varieties to choose from. This place can get pretty packed, but believe us when we say that any wait time is well worth it.
Agenda Lounge399 S. 1st St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.380.3042
In the ever-changing SoFA district of downtown San Jose, places like the Agenda Lounge are a rarity for their ability to say that they've been here for more than a year. A one-stop shop for dining, dancing and schmoozing, Agenda has been filling South First with heavy house and steamy R&B beats for years, courtesy of some top-notch DJs that show up on a regular basis. This is also one of the hottest spots for showing off your best Salsa moves on Wednesday nights; Salsa newbies can take free classes before the open dancing starts. Sunday nights also rock the Planet Reggae party, the longest running reggae night in San Jose.
Aqui Cal-Mex Grill / Saddle Bar1145 Lincoln Ave., San Jose CA 95125; Tel. 408.995.0381
5679 Snell Ave., San Jose CA 95123; Tel. 408.362.3456
Three words: Industrial Strength Margarita. Not only is Aqui the kind of place where you can imbibe a margarita that will have you doing the hat dance naked in no time, it's one of the best places for awesome cheap food in San Jose. The food is the sort of flavorful, Cali-Asian-Latin blend that you'd expect to find in a higher-end type of place (think mango ginger chicken salads and Thai peanut chicken tamales), but the order-at-the-counter style cuts out the wait time and tip money, allowing you to spend your dough indulging in the goodness found in their 40 types of tequila.
Blowfish Sushi To Die For335 Santana Row #1010, San Jose CA 95128; Tel. 408.345.3848
Only at some sleek and sassy place like Santana Row will you find a sushi bar that doubles as a sleek and sassy nightspot. Blowfish rocks an über-trendy, well-dressed crowd and an atmosphere that borders on schizophrenic; the walls are dotted with TVs showing various psychedelic, seizure-inducing anime and random light displays. The sushi here is awesome, plain and simple, and the creative cocktails are strong enough to convince even the biggest wuss that daring to order the namesake fish would be a good idea if it were an option.
Consuelo Mexican Bistro377 Santana Row #1125, San Jose CA 95128; Tel. 408.260.7082
Consuelo Mexican Bistro is proof that the gods of tequila love us all very, very much. Sure, the authentic South American and Mexican food here is absolutely amazing, the non-tequila drinks are great and the service is awesome, but it's the tequila selection that leaves us drooling. The entire wall behind the bar is covered in tequila - from blancos to añejos, from $7 shots to $120 shots - and the bartenders know what to do with all of it. Sitting pretty on a corner of swanky Santana Row, this authentic Mexican bistro packs in regularly with well-heeled shoppers and drinkers who know where to go when nothing less than the best will do, tequila, sangria, guacamole or otherwise.
Dave & Buster's940 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas CA 95035; Tel. 408.957.9215
Anyone who hasn't been to Dave & Buster's is clearly missing out on one of the most entertaining and ridiculous nighttime activities. Like a giant senses-assaulting Chuck E. Cheese for adults, this place has more bells, whistles and games than a casino and an arcade combined. A full restaurant, bar and arcade combine to make this the kind of place where socialites can act like geeks and geeks can become social. Try your hand at Skee Ball when you're five shots in, or go a few rounds with your equally shameless friends on Dance Dance Revolution.
Eulipia374 S. 1st St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.280.6161
A longtime resident in downtown San Jose's SoFA district, Eulipia is a classy restaurant that's attracts a well-heeled set of locals looking for quality contemporary cuisine, excellent service, skillfully poured cocktails and a relaxed, yet upscale, setting. Located across the street from the California Theatre, this restaurant bar is a prime spot for relaxing with a cocktail before heading to the opera.
Firehouse #169 N. San Pedro St., San Jose CA 95110; Tel. 408.287.6969
Firehouse #1 clearly knows what the bar business is all about. This restaurant bar in downtown San Jose's San Pedro Square is only a year old, but it has quickly become a neighborhood favorite for a killer menu of flavorful bar food (including what are possibly the best sliders—or mini burgers—in town) and some seriously stiff drinks. When late night rolls around, this fun neighborhood bar packs in with a vivacious crowd and the bartenders begin to show off their fire flair skills.
Gordon Biersch33 E. San Fernando St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.294.6785
Gordon Biersch has a massive menu packed with every last bit of creative brewpub food that anyone could ever crave. Options range from burgers to Portobello skewers to rice pilaf, and the prices aren't too bad. The best part about hanging out at Gordon Biersch, though, is the beer (obviously). Winter or summer, rain or shine, this place offers some damn tasty house brewed suds that are too easy to drink.
Henry's World Famous Hi-Life301 W. Saint John St., San Jose CA 95110; Tel. 408.295.5414
There are few places in San Jose that are as unapologetically carnivorous as Henry's World Famous Hi-Life, and that's why we love it. If you've never been here, the deal goes like this: 1) walk in, take a number, park at a barstool, get a cocktail or brew and wait for the server to come by to take your order. 2) Have another round while you wait for the server to come tell you your food is ready, which is when they'll take you to an actual table. 3) Have yet another round and enjoy your plate of barbecued meaty goodness. It's that simple. During football season, Henry's gets packed with gridiron junkies seeking steak, eggs and beer as early as 8:30am. This joint is also stumbling distance from HP Pavilion, so it gets equally as packed when big shows or Sharks games are going on.
Hukilau230 Jackson St., San Jose CA 95112; Tel. 408.279.4888
Hukilau is a little bit of the islands transported to the mainland and planted between a sushi restaurant and a Japanese market in downtown San Jose's Japantown. Aloha Happy Hours that linger long into the night and Wahini Specials for the ladies prove that the intoxicated glory of Hawaiian drinks can be easily had when hanging out in San Jose, and an eclectic selection of Hawaii-inspired fare does a good job at arming the stomach for the addictive drinks. This is also the only place in town where you can get in on the great Hawaiian secret of Spam and how it's especially tasty musubi-style. Yes, yes - we all know that Spam seems a little scary; but could millions of Hawaiians really be wrong?
Il Fornaio in the Hyatt St. Claire302 S. Market St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.271.3366
Although it's more of white tablecloth fine-dining establishment than a walk up and order bar, but when you're in the mood to try new wines (and want recommendations from bartenders that actually know their shit), Il Fornaio is pretty hard to beat. The bar itself features a happy hour that makes it possible for the younger crowd to play dress up and pretend to be classy without going broke.
Mexico Lindo Restaurant and Cantina11 Race St., San Jose CA 95126; Tel. 408.295.7765
Boasting authentic Mexican cuisine and potent margaritas, Mexico Lindo Restaurant and Cantina satisfies cravings for home-cooked south of the border fare. The restaurant's décor matches the down-home fare and although somewhat simple, both the atmosphere and menu please those seeking a traditional dining experience. During happy hour, which starts at 3pm, fill up for cheap - the cantina's classic and fruit-flavored margaritas are $4 and tacos are just a buck.
Mosaic211 S. 1st St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.282.8888
For everything from happy hour celebrations to romantic dinners, Mosaic hits the spot. Located in the historic Hotel Montgomery in downtown, this San Jose restaurant and nightspot attracts a well-dressed crowd in search of expertly mixed cocktails and a top dining experience. The menu showcases Asian- and European-inflected American brasserie cuisine, and the bar impresses with nearly 100 vodkas and an appealing menu of creative, house-infused cocktails. The expansive patio features ample couch seating and bocce ball, making it a prime choice for outdoor relaxation.
O'Flaherty's Irish Pub25 N. San Pedro St., San Jose CA 95110; Tel. 408.947.8007
Known primarily for its drinks and clubby pub atmosphere, O'Flaherty's also hits high marks in the grub department. A full menu of Irish pub fare includes crispy fish and chips, hearty Guinness stew and shepherd's pie for a satisfying fill-up between pints. Live Irish music on Tuesdays and Sundays, happy hour specials daily and outdoor patio seating on San Pedro Square make O'Flaherty's a popular pub stop on any night of the week.
Original Joe's301 S. 1st St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.292.7030
Original Joe's has been a San Jose staple for over half a century. In restaurant years, that's almost an eternity. After a three-month closure for remodeling, OJ's reopened boasting completely new bathrooms, tables, booths and décor, along with three 47-inch flat-panel HDTVs in the upstairs bar. Original Joe's is a popular downtown SJ spot for appetizers and drinks before Sharks games, opera shows and concerts, all of which are easily walkable from the restaurant. Original Joe's kept the open kitchen, so patrons can still watch the chefs work. Drinks are delightfully old-fashioned, with a legendary Manhattan.
Paolo's333 W. San Carlos St., San Jose CA 95110; Tel. 408.294.2558
Overlooking the Guadalupe riverfront, Paolo's is a favorite among San Jose locals that enjoy a fine wine in a scenic location (well, as scenic as downtown can get). Continually rotating eight wines by the glass, patrons can try something new pretty much every visit to the restaurant. Prices at Paolo's are what you'd expect from a fancy Italian joint, but Martini Nights on Thursdays from 4pm-8pm feature $4 well martinis and $6 premiums, making it easier on the conscience to have a few extra drinks.
The Park Bar & Grill at The Moorpark Hotel4241 Moorpark Ave., San Jose CA 95129; Tel. 408.864.0300
The Park Bar and Grill at the Moorpark Hotel is a stylish New American cuisine restaurant and lounge that boasts an extensive wine list featuring California varietals and a signature cocktail menu filled with contemporary twists on classic drinks. The designer boutique hotel styling of the Moorpark Hotel and The Park Bar and Grill attracts a hip and mature crowd more into social networking rather than clubbing. The Moorpark Hotel displays a distinguished air of refinement without losing a low-key San Jose nightlife vibe that includes occasional live music nights.
Plaza Inn1182 Lincoln Ave., San Jose CA 95125; Tel. 408.292.0132
A tiny, no-frills cantina, the Plaza Inn is a neighborhood hangout for drinkers seeking traditional Mexican fare and an after-work cocktail. The unpretentious atmosphere is perfect for sipping a beer and watching a soccer match and although the menu is somewhat predictable, dishes are well made, satisfying a taste for favorite dishes like menudo or enchiladas. After dinner, relax with a margarita or shoot pool at this favorite hangout of neighborhood locals.
Poor House Bistro91 S. Autumn St., San Jose CA 95110; Tel. 408.292.5837
Poor House Bistro is a favorite before and after Sharks games watering hole with tasty New Orleans inspired food. Crawfish pasta, blackened chicken wings, BBQ shrimp and of course po' boys are favs at the Poor House Bistro. PHB also continually wins accolades for being an awesome music venue for live blues throughout the year. Its hard to find a more relaxing San Jose bar to kick back, soak in some live blues and sip on a fine cocktail.
Rosie McCann's Irish Pub355 Santana Row #1060, San Jose CA 95128; Tel. 408.247.1706
While the Santana Row bug has clearly bitten this San Jose pub - there's a cover charge to get in at night and the menu includes something called Chicken Valentino - the Jameson and Guinness still flow freely enough to call Rosie's an Irish pub. Stick to Rosie's menu of pub favorites, including a delicious plate of bangers and mash with Guinness gravy, and you'll be fine.
Sino Restaurant and Lounge377 Santana Row, San Jose CA 95128; Tel. 408.247.8880
Sino's sexy atmosphere and elegantly plated dim sum and Chinese fusion dishes draw a hungry see-and-be-seen crowd to this Santana Row hotspot. Well-dressed patrons crowd into Sino to sip expertly mixed signature cocktails and sup on a range of tempting dishes including Maine lobster potstickers, beef chow fun and the restaurant's signature Kobe beef sliders.
Straits Restaurant333 Santana Row Suite 100, San Jose CA 95128; Tel. 408.246.6320
Appealing small plates, an exciting list of signature cocktails and a rotating list of DJs make Straits a destination for Santana Row's well-heeled crowd nighttime crowd. On any given night groups of scantily-clad young women sip cocktails of house-made infusions and nibble on crab cakes and roti prada while well-dressed men ogle and order shots. It's hard to know if crowds come to Straits for the drinks, the food, or the people-watching, but there's always a wait at this Santana Row hotspot.
Teske's255 N. 1st St., San Jose CA 95113; Tel. 408.292.0291
Arguably San Jose's best place for schnitzel and German beer, Teske's lengthy menu and friendly service draw hungry drinkers from across the South Bay. A jovial beer garden with a list of hard-to-find German beers on tap, Teske's has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and hosts a fairly large group of regulars.
Thea Mediterranean3090 Olsen Dr., San Jose CA 95128; Tel. 408.260.1444
This elegant Mediterranean restaurant and bar in Santana Row draws a mellow crowd of well-dressed patrons. At the dark mahogany bar, bartenders pour specialty ouzo drinks and classic cocktails while patrons take in the ambiance: glass mosaics, natural marble and Moorish floral patterns. After a cocktail, most of the visitors at Thea's bar choose to sup on the restaurant's well-crafted Mediterranean- and Turkish-inspired dishes like spanikopita, braised lamb and whole roasted fish.
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