Best Nightlife

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Sacramento nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Sacramento Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

Monkey Bar
This small bar is a hip nightspot for Sacramento's "in crowd," and fashionably dressed patrons generally don't show up until late. Attached to popular Café Bernardo, Monkey Bar typically draws an after-dinner crowd. Since there are no distractions like pool tables in the small space, getting to know the large group who congregate is the primary pastime. Thanks to a diverse crowd, you're sure to meet someone interesting. DJs and bands provide musical entertainment. (916-442-8490)

Fox & Goose
Fox & Goose has what you're looking for, no matter the time of day. With great breakfasts, historic ambience, plenty of beers on tap, and a broad variety of music (Celtic to R&B), something fun is always going on. Authentic British decor includes the "Union Jack," America's only British newspaper. Play darts, duck into a dark wood booth, or sway to acid jazz — you can't go wrong at this quirky, popular establishment. (916-443-8825)

Suspects: Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre
Located in a floating hotel (which is itself a restored riverboat) on the Sacramento River, this special dinner theater invites audience members to participate in the action. Seated in a stately room on the boat's lower floors, spectators never know what will happen when each viewer becomes a suspect and an investigator — usually with hilarious results. The price includes dinner and a show, and overnight packages feature tickets to the theater event and a stateroom. (916-443-3600, 866-576-5229)

Harlow's is as unique today as when it first opened. The waitstaff is opinionated enough to let you know what to order and what to pass on. Pumpkin cheesecake atop pecan caramel sauce, and the house specialty — Tuoca cheesecake made with ricotta cheese and fresh blueberries — are two great options. With an extensive cigar bar, outdoor seating, and some of the area's top jazz, Harlow's is a great place to spend the evening. Soak up the relaxed ambience, watch the upscale crowd, and sip a brandy or cognac while you listen to music. Performers offer anything from traditional jazz to R&B, salsa, or reggae. (916-441-4693)

Blue Cue
This establishment bills itself as a "restaurant billiards bar," but the emphasis is on "billiards" and "bar." An upscale pool hall, Blue Cue features valet parking and a classy interior. The place is packed on weekends with crowds who show up for varied music on the sound system, a good selection of beers and mixed drinks (try a cue-tini), a long list of scotches, and some of the area's top people-watching. (916-442-7208, 916-452-3335)

Back Door Lounge
Swinging Rat Pack-era style is hip in Sacramento, and this retro-style club plays it up to the max. Evoking the style of '50's Las Vegas, the bar is a feast for the eyes: red velvet walls, black leather booths, gold accessories, and low lighting. Sinatra or Sammy Davis, Jr., are frequently heard on the sound system, and martinis and scotches complete the picture. A fun, classy step back in time. (916-442-5751)

Capitol Garage
Named to the "Best of Sacramento" list, this establishment offers a long, varied list of live shows, including ones that feature area favorites like Grub Dog and the Amazing Sweethearts, King's Highway, and Friend Called Fire. With Guinness on tap and plenty of mixed drinks, it's especially popular with local musicians and has open jazz jams during the week. (916-444-3633)

Pre Flite Lounge
Strong cocktails, knowledgeable bartenders, an inviting "Cheers"-like atmosphere...Pre-Flite Lounge has all of these in spades. An excellent juke box keeps the tunes coming all night as locals and visitors alike relax over a drink. The kitschy decor only adds to the dive bar charm. ((916) 441-7963)



Maps and Directions

Monkey Bar 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: Old Sacramento
Fox & Goose 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Pub
Neighborhood: Downtown
Suspects: Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Entertainment
Neighborhood: Old Sacramento
Harlow's 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Music
Neighborhood: Old Sacramento
Blue Cue 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: Old Sacramento
Back Door Lounge 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Capitol Garage 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Live Music
Neighborhood: Downtown
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