The Princess’ Personal (mini) Guide to Hip and Cool San Jose Dining and Activities

I have an enduring love-affair with the Bay Area. The last 6 years in particular I have developed an affinity for San Jose’s hidden culture. Some laugh when I say we are cultured and cool. Some raise an eyebrow when I say we have things I’ve not seen anywhere else. It’s true, they scoff, but we are a city of don’t ask don’t tell…and by that I mean that we don’t always SHARE our city’s gems unless we are asked. Well I am here to change that.

I’m not going to wait to be asked. I’m going to share the love, now, unabashedly. I’ll have a post about specific Arts I’m looking forward to this fall  later in the week (a preview, I think that’s what the journalist types call it, right?) but for now, here’s exhibit A (through about M)  for the case of San Jose Vs. Hip & Cool.

Warning, attending these events may cause extreme coolness. Exposure to these events may result in hip status.

Hip Downtown Eats and Drinks:

Singlebarrel:  Speakeasy, old-fashioned, artisan cocktails! Unique and fun. Get there early when they open as drinks take about 10 minutes to hand make. Great to watch the masters at work. Prohibition feel, dark and small basement local.

A Perfect Finish:  Leather couches, wine, whiskey, tequila, port flights, desserts and pate, open late, live music most nights. Avoid Thursday’s karaoke night…unless you like that kind of thing.

Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge: A real surprise. Although on Saturday night it becomes your basic loud night club, their lunch and dinners are really nice. Super food, pretty plated items and chill atmosphere. Happy Hour isn’t too crazy.

Pho69: Warehouse kind of converted space on South First. Great food. Organic chicken Pho soup in GINORMOUS bowl is what has been called “total nom nom nom.“ Art on the walls rotates every few months and is typically large and colorful. Sometimes there is live music as well.

HIP Santana Row EATS:

The Counter: Custom built burgers. Choose your meat(s), type of bread and select from TONS of condiment options to create your perfect burger. Fill out the form and hand to the server and you’re 15 minutes away from your own personal definition of awesome.

Yardhouse: 130 beers on tap. Enough said. Put on your best hoodie and expect Google Geek sightings.

Sino – Dim Sum Lounge. Very popular. Be seen here. Can get crowded, but officially if you are here you are hip. Food is presented beautifully but don’t try to have a conversation if you are here after 8pm…packed and loud, but the people watching is rich!—santana-row-pages-8.php

Citrus at the Hotel Valencia – Super posh, feel like a movie star, but eat like you don’t have to be on set in the morning,

Hip Activities:

Tech After Hours:  Very hip crowd, glow in the dark martinis, video games on the IMAX, different theme each month. 6pm-11pm 1st Wednesday of the month. Friends, dates, singles, this is a great place for “adults” to play.

South First Street Billiards – Bar, Pool, Ping Pont,  DJ’s, live bands, dancing even. Lots of space in the pool hall. A late night and casual stop for the fedora and t-shirt wearing crowd.

Pub Trivia: Every Monday at Trials Pub. . Several other places have different formats and manifestations of Trivia including Dive Bar and Loft Bar and Bistro. Test your smarts. Drink some beer. Listen to the Ex Pats chat with their  accents. Be aware the outside seating is a smokers section and at Trials teams of 3 only are permitted. Get there at 7pm for a good seat for the 8pm trivia.

Two Buck Tuesdays at Kaleid Gallery:  60+ local artists sharing a huge 4th street garage converted exhibit space. Great variety of art and on Two Buck Tuesdays (Third Tuesday of the month) they have demonstrations, quirky performance art, and lectures on art related topics as well as small art pieces to purchase for, yes, you guessed it. $2 a piece. It’s okay if you think some of the art here is WEIRD. It is certain that there is something for everyone here.

Comedy Sportz: Competitive Improv. Midnight show (11pm) is super fun (more adult themed rated-r humor incorporated and the first Friday of the month they do a Shakespeare themed Improv which is brilliant. Get a psycho donut from a psycho nurse on your way in… This is a TINY little theatre so get tickets in advance.

South First Fridays:  Really San Jose at its most creative. You never know what to expect here except the unexpected.

The Blank Club: Alternative, rock, punk, rockabilly, metal, and even British bands. It gets loud in here but this is urban music in all its glory. Very little seating at this place but reasonable cover and it rivals any small SF club for that underground feel.

Fairmont Hotel Lobby: This place never sleeps. Piano, bands, dance lessons, tea service, sushi,  Sports on the plasma screens, people wathing…oh, and over 500 martinis!!!

Hotel De Anza –Hedley Club: Live Jazz Thurs-Sat nights, free, occasional Wed night Jazz Jam, great happy hour food menu.


Pedicabs (Rickshaws): Great way to see the city. And free. The bikers work for tips. $5-$10 for a 15 minutes tour of the city is fair and a fun way to hit the night highlights or get to the shark tank! And it’s GREEN! Wednesday through Saturday from 7pm to 2am, call them or flag them down! Super friendly folks. Give your heels a break and take a pedicab!

Interactive Art: On the corner of San Fernando and South 2nd. (By the 88/The Market). Call the number and dial a code and watch the lights change their pattern. Hours of entertainment!!!

Movable Feast: The food truck craze is picking up momentum …check here for San Jose feast days.

Dishcrawl: This is a fun way to sample an area of the city via the food!

Capital Club: The view is stunning. Be a member or find a member to get you in.

I rest my case.

About Artsalot

Your personal Princess, spreading her love of the Silicon Valley Arts and Culture Kingdom! Your former Princess of Artsopolis, welcomes you to Artsalot!
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