The Best Cocktail Bars In San Jose, California

Josh Wright

Despite lying within Silicon Valley, many of San Jose’s mixologists have embraced tradition in recent years, drawing inspiration from 1920s’ speakeasy culture. The art of the cocktail is alive and well, with plenty of quality establishments to choose from. We list the best places for a mixed drink here.

Tiki Tuesdays

1. South

55 South

This lively venue keeps the drinks flowing into the early hours while hosting bands and theme nights. Motown Mondays bring classic soul to downtown San Jose while an entirely new cocktail menu accompanies Tiki Tuesdays. 55 South also have an extensive wine list and whiskey selection, TVs that show live sports, an enticing food menu and the Moscow Mules come in traditional copper cups.

55 S 1st Street, San Jose, CA, +1 408-288-6000

Old Fashioned | © Jazz Guy/FlickrOld Fashioned | © Jazz Guy/Flickr

2. Haberdasher


Setting itself apart from similar joints in San Jose, Haberdasher not only offers kegged cocktails available on tap, but also a table-side service where their expert mixologists will create a made-to-measure cocktail based off your own personal tastes. Just as well-crafted is its decor: vintage light fittings, polished wood, crimson wallpaper and curtains, and suede seating booths. They also provide light snacks, American craft beers in bottles, cans, or on tap, and signature cocktails.

43 W San Salvador Street, San Jose, CA, +1 408-792-7356

Liquor bottles | © Nicolas Lannuzel/FlickrLiquor bottles | © Nicolas Lannuzel/Flickr

3. Paper Plane

Paper Plane

At Paper Plane you will find the welcoming spirit that promotes accessibility and eschews elitism, they even provide an innovative flavor chart on their menu so you can decide which beverage is the one for you. Purists, there’s something for you, too, with a range of ‘Signature’, ‘Old School’, and ‘New School’ cocktails available.

72 S 1st Street, San Jose, CA, +1 408-713-2625

Manhattan | © My Aching Head/FlickrManhattan | © My Aching Head/Flickr

4. The Hedley Club

Bar, Beer, Cocktails

Courtesy of The Continental
With its sumptuous art deco surroundings and frequent live jazz bands, The Hedley Club is the kind of place you’d expect to see Jay Gatsby sipping on a cocktail. The swanky new Palm Court Terrace is the perfect place to enjoy their Mediterranean-inspired food menu, which includes pizzas, salads, fritto misto, and arrosticini. A place to unwind rather than let loose, you can also watch movies here on Sunday nights.

5. The Continental

Bar, Beer, Cocktails

Courtesy of The Fountainhead
The Continental can be found in downtown San Jose within the historic SoFA district, a cultural and artistic hub that provides the bar with a wealth of live musicians and DJs to play underneath their vaulted ceiling. Located within a brick building dating back to 1917, The Continental’s retro decor is largely made up of reclaimed and salvaged material from across the Santa Clara Valley. They stay true to their roots by stocking craft beer from Santa Clara Valley Brewing and in their choice of house cocktails.

6. The Fountainhead

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Market, Beer, American

For a cocktail bar owned by an architect, the design of The Fountainhead is, unsurprisingly, immaculate. Elegant and refined, this bar also prides itself on using local, organic, and sustainably produced ingredients. Continuing with the theme, their signature cocktails are named after famous architects or architectural movements. High-end liquors, microbrews, and an impressive wine list round off this spruce venue.

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