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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 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
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
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 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