From hookah to skewers: 4 cool new bars in San Jose

Photo: Bill's Cafe/Yelp

If you're looking for a new hangout spot in San Jose, consider dropping into one of these new haunts. Here are the freshest places to check out the next time you're in search of a relaxing atmosphere.

Skewers & Brew


65 S. 1st St., Downtown
Photo: Skewers & Brew/Yelp

Skewers & Brew is a new pub and eatery downtown, serving up hearty items like Northeast Chinese-style skewers, and seasoned fries smothered in chili and cheese.

Along with an assortment of meat and veggie skewers -- from lamb, chicken and shrimp, to eggplant, mushroom and green chili -- Skewers & Brew offers more munchies like garlic fries, dumplings, and corn on the cob.

Thirsty? From the menu on the wall, choose from a robust selection of draft beers like Double Das I.P.A. ($8), Schlager I.P.A. ($8), Buxom Blonde Kolsch ($7), and Knotty Red Pale Ale ($8).

Skewers & Brew's current Yelp rating of four stars out of 54 reviews indicates the newcomer is finding its way, but it's still early days.

"The owner was extremely friendly, and it was great to support a family-owned business for once in downtown San Jose," wrote Yelper Alex M. "The beer was good, and they had a decent selection of brews we hadn't tried before."

Yelper Phillip D. noted, "Phenomenal place to enjoy drinks and delicious appetizers. Very reasonable prices, very clean, and I loved the shrimp skewers and corn on the cob with garlic, which had the perfect level of seasoning, taste and freshness."

Skewers & Brew is open from 5 p.m.-midnight daily.

Monroe Hookah Lounge


325 S. Monroe St., West San Jose (near Santana Row)
Photo: Jonathan h./Yelp

Prefer to chill out and enjoy a smoke rather than belly up and have a drink? Check out Monroe Hookah Lounge, a new hookah bar that recently opened its doors near Santana Row.

While alcohol is not served at this location, patrons describing the lounge on Yelp seemed to enjoy the establishment's hookah mixes and flavors, decor, and attentive service. Flavors getting attention on the site include Al Fakher, Fumari, and Starbuzz.

Monroe Hookah Lounge is receiving positive attention on Yelp, currently holding five stars out of 27 reviews on the site.

"First off, the hookah is amazing and perfect every time. The mixes they have are all good and you can't go wrong with any of them," wrote Yelper Gabriela R. "Second, the set up and the decor is cute, chic and modern. Seats are super comfy! Third, the service is attentive, caring and friendly."

Jacob B. added, "What an awesome way to unwind. This hookah spot will get you where you need to be for a relaxing weekend, and you really can't beat the price for a very clean environment and good music."

Monroe Hookah Lounge is open from 6 p.m.-1 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 6 p.m.-2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tasso's Restaurant & Bar


1530 Southwest Expressway North, Willow Glen
Photo: tasso's restaurant & Bar/Yelp

Tasso's Restaurant & Bar is a new Mediterranean-inspired spot serving a variety of breakfast and brunch options, lunchtime favorites, and dinner fare in Willow Glen. Named after its owner, Tasso's Restaurant & Bar is located only a mile away from its sister establishment, Tasso's Garden Restaurant.

While Tasso's features a large bar offering a selection of cocktails and beverages, the food is not to be missed. Breakfast options on the menu include hearty standards like omelettes, steak and eggs, and French toast stuffed with cream cheese. For dinner, feast on a rib-eye steak with Portobello mushroom sauce ($32), or charred octopus with grilled lemons and Greek sauce ($19.95).

Patrons are currently satisfied with Tasso's Restaurant & Bar, awarding the spot four stars out of 38 reviews on Yelp.

"Beautiful atmosphere with a nice, classy looking bar -- and the food was delicious," wrote Yelper Jenny Y. "A bit on the pricey side, but well worth it, and a perfect place for a neighborhood date. We will be returning soon."

Sally S. added, "My husband and I are officially repeat customers. We just love the breakfast on weekends. The ambience outside is beautiful, and the server was very friendly. I look forward to bringing my parents here once they visit."

Tasso's Restaurant & Bar is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday.

Bill's Cafe


1700 Newbury Park Drive, East San Jose
Photo: Bill's Cafe/Yelp

Bill's Cafe is a traditional American chain with a full bar, offering breakfast, brunch, and lunch at its fresh new location in East San Jose.

Open during breakfast and lunch hours only, Bill's regularly serves up oversized mimosas and Bloody Marys to help wash down its classic American brunch fare. Start your day with standard fare like eggs, bacon, pancakes and waffles -- or grab any number of lunchtime classics like burgers, sandwiches and salads. Bill's menu also features a number of items for kids.

Bill's Cafe's current rating of four stars out of 84 reviews on Yelp indicates the newcomer is finding its way.

"The new Bill's is great! Identical menu to all the others with the same oversized mimosas and all," wrote Yelper Chelsea W. "I literally always order the crab cake Benedict, and it's pretty good, but admittedly, it's all about those giant mimosas."

Kam M. noted, "Great food here for sure. They have complimentary coffee outside, which is a super nice touch if you have to wait for a table. There is a large counter area, and patio seating outside."

Bill's Cafe is open from 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday-Sunday.
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