San Jose Night Life part 2

Bars and Lounges

In every city, town, or village there’s always a place where you can go to get piss drunk; the old watering hole, the bar. These bars, pubs, or whatever you want to call it are the main facet of male social gathering. Some bloke a long time ago decided he wanted to mix alcohol with the first sport-viewing event, hence the “Sports Bar”, and shortly after the “Nudie Bar”. Over time and centuries later the average male became a chauvinist alcoholic, but surprisingly quite the sports statistician all thanks to the bars and the alcohol that provides their sustenance.

In this day and age, women go to the bar as much as men. When the women outnumber the men it is no longer a bar. It’s called a “lounge”. This designation change also applies with an increase amount of yuppies invading the same establishment. As the bar meta-morphs into a lounge many things change. The genre of music begins alter. House-style and 80s music dominates the juke box. You favorite beer is replaced by feminine cocktails with an assortment of garnishes. Non-Lounging types unaware of this change may soon find themselves sipping on an apple martini and humming along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” without even knowing it.

San Jose has a plethora of bars and lounges sprinkled across our diverse city. Some of these establishments are a hit, and some are not. Some have karaoke nights where you can sing to your heart’s content or until you get shot for making the patrons’ ear bleed. The 1-dollar-beer nights are popular, but the beers are usually third-class home-made crock of shit brew that somehow somebody found a way to bottle it and slap on a flashy logo. Other bars take it a step further by squeezing in a DJ and a tiny dance floor to make it a club-esque type of deal.

Smoke Tiki Lounge is a popular hangout for those college students on Thursday nights. Their itty-bitty dance floor and their outdoor area make it a modest place to hang out. It’s also one of the few bars that have DJs that play current popular music and mixes it quite well which puts the dance floor to good use. At Tiki, make sure you order only the top shelve liquor and avoid their Mexican beers. It’ll be more expensive, but you’ll be glad you did it. Who drinks Mexican beer anyway? Their beers are made with their native Mexican water; the same water where they bath and wash their gardening tools with. Why do you think everyone puts salt and lime in their beers? To make it taste better? No. It’s to kill the remaining bacteria that didn’t die from the alcohol. Anyhow, just order shots of Grey Goose and Jager and you’ll be fine.

Fahrenheit is an upscale lounge. I’ve never been to it before so it must suck. Okay, next…

Loft is relatively new. I’ve been there a few times last year and a couple of times this past month. Loft has a very small dance floor similar to Tiki’s. Interior-wise it looks decent. The crowd is usually mixed and the music is good, with one exception from my last visit. The DJ was horrible. In fact, he was the worst DJ ever. He played crappy music and mixed it with older crappier music. It’s the kind of music where you had to put effort to dance to it. I didn’t have any to drink that night, and maybe I should have. It comes to show that the music really makes a big difference. Whether you’re dancing or just hanging out the energy of atmosphere relies on the music that is being played. As of now, Loft has a strike in my book.

Britannia Arms off of Almaden is always popular and the crowd is a bit more mature (older). The Brit usually have live cover bands and, not to mention, karaoke, but only on Wednesday and Sunday nights. Britannia Arms is a real bar with dart boards, LCD TVs with all the sports channels, and they have this little Golf Arcade machine that no one ever plays, but still, they have an arcade. Certain nights the place can be packed and the line can extend down the length of the building towards the sidewalk. People go to drink and mingle. Some people actually dance on that small patch of carpet near the stage, but that’s because they’re drunk out of their minds. It’s not even dancing, but an epileptic twitch that involves a half-empty a beer bottle in one hand. The Brit is the place to go if you’re looking to hang out at a bar with a wide variety of drinks and where the music doesn’t matter.

San Jose has a decent night life, but for those who lived here their whole lives it all seems to be the same old scene. In the end, it’s not where you go, but who you go with and what you do with it. So if you didn’t have fun it’s because you didn’t make it happen.

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