Black Watch

The multicolored cut glass window in the front is the most striking feature of this otherwise windowless establishment. The friendly neighborhood Scottish pub is located right in the heart of downtown Los Gatos and is considered by some to be the area’s coolest dive bar–bear in mind, it’s only a dive bar by the town of Los Gatos’ sky-high standards. It’s actually a really respectable joint. Dark, with warm red lighting casting a kind, flattering glow over its patrons, the unassuming pub has a long, rich wooden bar stretching down the length of the room where patrons can saunter up to order one of the Black Watch’s famous Kamikazes (poured with a very distinctive technique and served colder than ice in a pint glass with shot glasses on the side) and booth seating for groups to hang out in and socialize. Shiny silver swords donated by a loyal customer are crossed over the fully stocked bar and add a certain Highlander charm to the themed pub. A shield in memory of the old Knights of the Black Watch gentlemen’s club hangs on the wall, a reminder of good times past. Established in 1959 (the building’s been around since 1948), the popular place is run by veteran bartenders who have been there 10 and 20 years and have seen their fair share of customers–from bikers to business people to college students. Daily regulars and others who frequent the pub are invited to bring in their own pizza, burritos, sushi and other take-out food to satisfy any hunger pangs, and when it’s not crowded, they can even bring their dogs in to rest on the dark carpet. During a quiet hour, it’s a comfortable place to relax and socialize in a casual environment. The dynamic shifts dramatically from day to night, however, as the lunch crowd runs into the after-work bunch which segues into the night owls who don’t emerge until the sun goes down. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are extremely popular with the younger crowd and things can get loud, crowded and rowdy. On holidays it’s standing room only and the Black Watch is rumored to have the best decorations in town.

141 1/2 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.354.2200
Hours: Daily 9am-2am
Crowd Age: Mixed:
Music: Bartender’s choice: usually jazz, blues, Latin and classic rock plays softly
D├ęcor: Scottish pub
Games/Amenities: Dartboard, Megatouch, pinball

This article was originally published in the June 21-27, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley’s Weekly Newspaper.

  • Kelly Smith

    Had my very first shot of Yeger at this bar…1990. Blacked out, woke up in the parking lot…never drank Yeger again.

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