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Best Of Santa Cruz County 2017: Music & Nightlife

The best breweries, pubs, places to play pool and darts, local musicians, happy hour and more

'Ice' by Doug Ross


Best Happy Hour

Crow’s Nest

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - crow's nest happy hourNestled in the harbor, Crow’s Nest is famous for its ocean views and prime boat-watching.
  2. The weekly free reggae party is a local Tuesday tradition.
  3. Live comedy, with stand-up talent from the national circuit, is presented every Sunday night year-round.
  4. Crow’s Nest has been a fixture on the local restaurant scene for 45 years.
  5. A short walk to the lighthouse and back again completes a very Santa Cruz experience. DNA


Best Local Musician

James Durbin

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - james durbinA contestant on the 10th season of American Idol, James Durbin was a favorite of fans and judges.
  2. Previously, he worked at Domino’s Pizza in Santa Cruz.  
  3. While his music is known for rocker attitude, James is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
  4. In 2014, he performed his single “Parachute” on Conan.
  5. It was announced this month that James will be the new frontman for Quiet Riot. DNA


Best Pub & Best Darts

Poet and Patriot

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - poet and patriot dartsAn Irish bar with a New Jersey attitude that welcomes everyone.
  2. Irish music and rock bands play on weekends, and there is free stand-up comedy every Monday night.
  3. Bartender Larry Blood loves Mel Brooks movies.
  4. The doorman’s name is Bob. Don’t make him say it twice.
  5. The separate dart room provides the exact right ambiance for nailing a bullseye. DNA


Best Taproom

Pour Taproom

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - pour taproomPour Taproom features over 70 types of beer, wine and cider, including a section devoted to gluten-free beverages.
  2. It’s the first taproom of its kind in Santa Cruz, allowing customers to serve themselves.  
  3. Each beer has a touchscreen that provides more information about it, helpful when you want to try a Helles by Light My Fire, but aren’t ready for a smoked-ham flavor profile.
  4. No, they don’t have bartenders, but they do have beer tenders, a well-trained staff who love to answer questions and chat with customers.
  5. Pour Taproom also has a full menu of food offerings to pair with their beers: charcuterie/ cheese boards, large bavarian pretzels for sharing, duck tacos and more. ANDREA PATTON




515 Kitchen & Cocktails

515 Cedar St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Red Room, Surf City   



Eric Adams @ Michael’s on Main

RUNNERS-UP Jack Marfoldi Sullivan @ 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Ethan Samuels @ 515 Kitchen & Cocktails


Craft Brewer (local)

Discretion Brewing

2703 41st Ave, Soquel,

RUNNERS-UP Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales


Dance Club


1209 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Blue Lagoon, Moe’s Alley


Fancy Cocktails

515 Kitchen & Cocktails

515 Cedar St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Oswald, Red Room


Happy Hour

Crow’s Nest

2218 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Hula’s Island Grill



Boardwalk Bowl / Coasters Bar & Grill

115 Cliff St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Bocci’s Cellar, Britannia Arms, Hindquarter Bar & Grille


Live Music

Moe’s Alley

1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Catalyst, Kuumbwa Jazz


Local Band

Extra Large

RUNNERS-UP Coffis Brothers, Joint Chiefs


Local Musician

James Durbin

RUNNERS-UP Pat Baron, Marty O’Reilly



El Palomar

1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Manuel’s, Tortilla Flats



Discretion Brewing

2703 41st Ave., Soquel,

RUNNERS-UP Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales


Place to Play Pool

Surf City Billiards

931 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7665

RUNNERS-UP The Catalyst, Fast Eddy’s


Place to Play Darts

Poet & Patriot Irish Pub

320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 426-8620

RUNNERS-UP One Double Oh Seven Club, Surf City Billiards



Poet & Patriot

320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 426-8620

RUNNERS-UP Parish Publick House, Rosie McCann’s  


Tap Room

Pour Tap Room

110 Cooper St., Santa Cruz,

535 – 7007,

RUNNERS-UP Beer Thirty, Lúpulo Craft Beer House, West End Tap & Kitchen




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