Bars and Clubs
Down on the Mall, you can stroll upstairs to Rosie McCann’s (1220 Pacific Ave., 831/426-9930, www.rosiemccanns.com) for a pint and a bite. This dark-paneled, Irish-style saloon serves Guinness, Black and Tans, Snake Bites, and several tasty draft beers. You can also get a hefty meal at Rosie’s, whose menu runs to sausage, mashed potatoes, and other weighty pub foods. A largely local crowd hangs out here, and you’ll find the bar crowded and noisy, but the vibe friendly and entertaining.
For club-goers of the gayer persuasion, there’s Club Dakota (1209 Pacific Ave., 831/454-9030). This local favorite tends toward the less crowded and more friendly end of the spectrum; the dance club might not be packed, but the bartenders are more likely to be happy when they get you your drinks. The only times the Dakota really gets crowded are on Saturday nights after 11 p.m., and on Pride and Party nights.
If you come in before 10 p.m., you won’t be charged a cover and you’re likely to find plenty of space out on the dance floor. This being Santa Cruz, you might find more straight women than gay men dancing in the Dakota—it’s known as a safe haven where few slimy guys hit on women. If you’re a guy…well, the bouncers do a good job of keeping things fun rather than creepy here. Thursday nights equal cheap drinks, so come early to imbibe your fill.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition