San Jose is the largest city within the Bay Area and in Northern California, known as a global city for its thriving economy and affluence. With so much to offer, we have narrowed in on the Downtown San Jose area to explore the best bars.
The Caravan Lounge
The Caravan Lounge is a popular spot known for live music and local bands, catering mainly to punk rock and metal. Drinks are reasonably priced and generously poured, and the staff is friendly. With karaoke nights on Sunday and Monday, pool tables, and a jukebox, the bar has some form of entertainment just about every evening.
Address and telephone number: 98 S Almaden Ave, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 995 6220
Paper Plane is a classy cocktail bar with a long bar in a spacious brick setting. Try one of their creative cocktails like The Monkey & ½ banana, the Pearadise City, or the Indian Summer made with Old Monk rum, passionfruit, carrot, orange, lemon, pastis, kummel, and Peychaud’s bitters. Paper Plane also features a few brews on draft, and a small menu of snacks and bigger bites as well. If you’re unsure which cocktail is right for you, a bartender will create your own personal drink based on your preferences.
Address and telephone number: 72 S 1st St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 713 2625
Britannia Arms is an English pub setting for casual eating with regular events like happy hours, trivia nights, karaoke nights, and DJ sets. Choose from a selection of traditional fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, Irish stew, or a Brit bulldog burger. There are about 15 brews on draft plus a large collection of bottled and craft beers, a handful of signature cocktails, and a spread of wines. Known as ‘The Brit’ to its regular crowd, this bar has everything you need for a casual hangout.
Address and telephone number: 173 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 278 1400
Loft Bar & Bistro
The Loft Bar & Bistro offers two levels of dining space and two bars in a spacious setting with brick decor, as well as a lovely rooftop garden patio. A few favorite dishes include panko crusted chicken breast, scampi prawns and braised lamb shanks made with ingredients that range from mint-rosemary port wine sauce and papaya-jicama salsa to whole-grain mustard demi-glace and tarragon aioli. As far as nightlife goes, the Loft Bar & Bistro comes alive with Bay Area DJs.
Address and telephone number: 90 S Second St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 291 0677
O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub
With a whopping 54 brews on tap that change weekly for some of the most excellent variety you could ask for, O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub offers a charming atmosphere with traditional Irish fare. If beer is not your thing, O’Flaherty’s full service bar stocks a wide variety of whiskeys and other spirits as well. Try something from the vast menu of appetizers, salads, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees all inspired by traditional Irish fare and California cuisine.
Address and telephone number: 25 N San Pedro St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 947 8007
Dive Bar is a fun, friendly neighborhood bar with great bartenders, excellent drinks, all types of music, and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. With a lounge area, local DJs, a pool table, trivia Tuesdays, and Wednesday night karaoke, Dive Bar has much to offer in the form of entertainment. There are many drink specials and DJs take the spotlight on weekend nights, mixing house favorites, 80s, old school, and top 40 varieties.
Address and telephone number: 78 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 288 5252
55 South is a craft cocktail bar and lounge offering a classic signature menu of items like the Pisco Sour, Sidecar, French 75, Moscow Mule, and the State of Grace crafted with muddled raspberries, elderflower liqueur, orange/lime/lemon juice and sparkling wine. There’s a regular Happy Hour and a limited food menu with items like mac and cheese, burgers, and even entrée-style meals like chicken marsala.
Address and telephone number: 55 S 1st St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 288 6000
Old Wagon Saloon & Grill
Old Wagon Saloon & Grill serves up Texas BBQ, mixed drinks, draft beer and a regular Happy Hour with the charm of the Wild West. The Saloon features an outdoor patio equipped with a bar, beer pong tables, a live music stage, and toasty fire pits. There’s also a collection of TV’s inside so the entertainment is never lacking. On occasion, the Old Wagon Saloon even has an outdoor screen after sunset for watching movies.
Address and telephone number: 73 N San Pedro St, San Jose, CA, USA + 1 408 971 9346
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.