Bay Area Joints

The weekend the San Jose Mercury News ran an article titled Well-aged joints survive in midst of same old suburban sprawl (warning: annoying registration required).

When I told a younger colleague that I wanted to write about famous joints in our area, he went through his mental checklist with a baffled look. Did I mean state prisons? Nah. Dope? No. Body parts? Heaven forbid. The notion of a well-aged watering hole and eatery eluded him.

But that’s the first definition in my dictionary for the word “joint” — a place that might have looked in place in the 1940s, a place where all of the characters Humphrey Bogart ever played would seem at home, a place where the bartenders and waitresses know you, a place where they might even call you “Hon.”

In a true joint, you expect a story as much as a meal or a drink. The food is often only adequate. A quirky individuality — this place is what it is, take it or leave it — lures customers back.

Here’s the list; I can personally vouch for the Alpine Inn, the Cats, Henry’s Hi-Life, and the Old Pro. Looks like I have a couple more spots to try out…