60 South Bay Accent PAPER PLANE SAN JOSE While this large nightclub/restaurant/lounge dropped the “ultra” from its name a while back, it still aims to deliver a bit of glamour to those venturing downtown. Neon lights, Grecian columns and other accouterments play up the fact that it’s a night spot, with DJs and dancing later in the evening. Nevertheless, Fahrenheit also includes a full-on restaurant serving modern cuisine ($14 gourmet burgers, anyone?) before the dancing starts. This spot is serious about its cocktails, offering a list of reworked classics as well as house inventions like the San Pedro Square, a blend of highend tequila, peach liqueur, pineapple and lime juices with a hit of chipotle powder. Or sip the romantic Romeo & Juliet, which combines berry rum, Champagne, lime juice and rose petals. A signature drink is the Lychee Martini that mixes tropical fruits with creamy, coconut-flavored rum. Bartenders have been known to put on a show by juggling bottles and lighting drinks on fire, but the vibe never gets too overly raucous given the presence of burly bouncers who keep a lid on. 99 E. SAN FERNANDO ST., SAN JOSE; 408/998-9998; FAHRENHEITSJ.COM The cocktail renaissance downtown is continuing, with Paper Plane joining 55 South, SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant and many other spots. This newer bar is a recent collaboration between Original Gravity owner Dan Phan and former Singlebarrel bar manager George Lahlouh. Focused on upscale craft cocktails and comfort-food small plates, Paper Plane has jumped on some of the latest bar trends, like barrel-aged cocktails and house-made punches. Among the latter, sip on Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire, which combines tequila, mezcal, port, lapsang souchong tea, grapefruit, ancho chile, spices and ginger beer. The bar’s low-key, friendly atmosphere is personified by a clever cocktail menu that’s like a scatter chart diagramming where various drinks reside based on elements like creativity, familiarity, refreshment and strength. Popular are drinks like the frothy Root Beer Flip that combines an herbal-spice-root liqueur with turbinado sugar, bitters and egg, and the bar’s version of the exotic Violet Fizz, which pairs gin, lemon juice, crème de violette, syrup, cream and a little soda. Unpretentious, with a huge back-lit bar, Paper Plane draws a diverse group of 20- and 30-somethings and can get crowded. For noshing, the list of a dozen bar bites contains people pleasers like a slider of breaded chicken and waffles, house-made tater tots with bacon and cheeses and bone marrow vol-au-vent. 72 S. FIRST ST., SAN JOSE; 408/713-2625; PAPERPLANESJ.COM ROOT BEER FLIP ROMEO & JULIET FAHRENHEIT RESTAURANT & LOUNGE SAN JOSE OR SIP THE ROMANTIC ROMEO & JULIET, WHICH COMBINES BERRY RUM, CHAMPAGNE, LIME JUICE AND ROSE PETALS.
South Bay Accent - Dec 2014/Jan 2015
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