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You'll Be Spending the Night in San Jose

And loving it.

Haberdasher, a sorta-speakeasy. 

 

Read more about the future of cocktails.

Still have your doubts about the nightlife of the South Bay? Don’t. Paper Plane outperforms most Bay Area bars: It’s a voluminous space staffed by fast-moving bartenders used to slinging drinks at speed, particularly post–Sharks games or during tech conferences. The drink menu is large and varied, with more than 25 cocktails—some of them on tap and available by the pitcher—ranging from fruity gin, rose, and hibiscus numbers to bold and boozy drinks built around smoky scotch and rich madeira. Fruit-infused whiskey is centrifuged to increase shelf life and save muddling time. The Long Island iced tea ($13) isn’t filled with the swill you drank in college: Here it’s milk-clarified, carbonated, bottled, and made with top-shelf spirits. And then there’s the Chester Copperpot, which comes garnished with edible paper floating atop a drink printed with a scene from The Goonies ($13). All delicious.

Your next stop should be the nearby Haberdasher, a subterranean, red-walled not-really speakeasy with ever-changing theme menus and drinks that include matcha tea and whole egg. Round out the night at Five Points for jazz acts plus a mix of vintage cocktails and party drinks from the craft-cocktail slushee machine.

Have time to go further afield? Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell is an unpretentious small-plates restaurant with an outsize cocktail program. The drink descriptions themselves are worth the price of entry: a Singapore sling ($13) combining cachaça with a beet cordial, or carrot and macadamia orgeat in the hurricane ($13). Meanwhile, in Los Gatos, drinkers in the cabin-like interior and huge beer garden of Jack Rose Libation House can order excellent mule variations and whiskey-based cocktails as well as weird-sounding but amazing-tasting concoctions like a recent showstopper featuring peanut butter foam.

Next: Increase your highball intake.

 

Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco 

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