Mountain Charley’s Saloon

Loaded For Bear: Mountain Charley's, pioneering pool and rebellion since 1972.

Loaded For Bear: Mountain Charley's, pioneering pool and rebellion since 1972.

Way back in 1972, when Mountain Charley’s first opened, Los Gatos was like that town in Footloose, says current co-owner Mark Achilli–dancing was strictly forbidden. Sure, Mountain Charley’s opened its doors as Los Gatos’ premier music venue, but if the band got going and the audience started swaying too much, the doormen would have to warn them to stop.

Things have certainly changed–people regularly cut loose on the dance floor these days, encouraged by DJs, live music or karaoke. For the bar’s 30th anniversary party on Thursday, the owners are bringing back old staffers, selling booze at 1972 prices until early evening and offering a free buffet from 5 to 7pm (catered by C.B. Hannegan’s and Andalay Taqueria). Four bands playing in succession will keep the old town’s forefathers spinning in their graves. Some say the ghost of Mountain Charley himself may find his way to the dance floor.

If Your Bar Could Be Any Animal, What Would It Be?: “A bear,” says Achilli, “because of Mountain Charley, of course.” The story goes that Charley and a friend went hunting one day and shot a bear. The bear didn’t like that too much, went crazy and mauled Charley–ripped the skin from his head clear from the eyebrows up. Charley lived, but the doctor had to replace part of his skull with Mexican silver dollars. And Charley became a connoisseur of hat wear ever after.

Address: 15 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos 408.395.8880
Hours: Tue-Sat noon-2am
Crowd Age: 21-35
Music: Live music Fri-Sat, DJs Tue and Thu, karaoke Wed
Decor: Pioneer saloon
Signature Drink: The Charley Horse–a shot and a beer
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Shuffleboard, karaoke

This article was originally published in the July 18-24, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley’s Weekly Newspaper.

Back to top