April/May 2019 59
Let’s start in a civilized mode—with cocktails in hand from a lofty
perch as you toast the change of seasons at a rooftop bar. The
panorama of the Santa Cruz Mountains is simply sensational from
Cielo Wine Bar and Rooftop Terrace at Hotel Valencia in Santana
Row. If the temperature drops, warm your hands over the fire pit.
Fortunately, this is a no-smoking area, and your lungs will thank you.
Need more warmth? Further south in San Jose, imbibe sips
at Scott Seafood’s outdoor LED-lit bar, and go early for a prime
location in front of the 18-foot-high fire place. Beverages span the
wine, beer, cocktails and mocktails such as the $7 Basil
Passion fruit mojito. Specialty cocktails include the $13 Scott’s 185,
a concoction of gin, lemon juice, rosemary syrup and prosecco.
A daily happy hour with drinks starting at $5 and food at $4 brings
regulars to the outdoor garden patio at Loft Bar & Bistro, also in
downtown San Jose. It features a slateful of California wines and
spirit-free drinks—virgin Mojito, anyone? If you have never tried a
lychee Martini or a spice cucumber Margarita before, this is the
place to get initiated.
Where else to come upon tongue-in-cheek cocktail monikers
such as Garnished Wages, Off Shore Account and Liquid Assets?
At Menlo Park-based British Bankers Club, of course—“a contemporary
tavern” that serves up libations, raw oysters and hamachi
from its third-story rooftop bar. Erected in 1925, the handsome
brick facility with white pillars started as a bank, and then became
a city hall, library and police station, before running afoul of the
law. In 2012 it had its liquor license suspended. Restauranteur Rob
Fisher who also owns Palo Alto Creamery and Scratch in Mountain
View came along to post bond, take over the location and renovate.
Locals were thrilled when the doors opened again in 2016 with a
new look and revised menu.
IMBIBING IN STYLE
CIELO WINE BAR AND
FROM TOP: MICHAEL SOO, COURTESY OF LOFT BAR AND BISTRO,
COURTESY OF SCOTT’S SEAFOOD