Bar Cruz: Getting tipsy in SC's off-beach attractions

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Text and photos by Caitlin Donohue

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I think the air hockey and volcano view pretty much ruins it for all beers post-Captain's Game Deck

Not too much going down at the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk these days- the rides are all shut down on weekdays during the winter, (although there is an exciting amount of construction taking place on the south end by the roller coaster). But you can have a good time in the Cruz even off the dunes and the midway and that good time is called drinking. The following are some of the best nightspots in the SC- just try not to rile the locals, brah.

Captain’s Game Deck
Okay, so maybe you can still have a good time on the midway. Tucked away above the mechanical gypsies and race car driving games of Neptune’s Kingdom, the boardwalk’s arcade, is a little place where us boring old folks can have a good time too. Captain’s Game Deck serves big plastic mugs of light beer and microbrews (starting at $5.45 for an Anchor Steam or Red Hook)- plus there’s air hockey for a buck a game! Get down on the puck action or hit up one of the Game Deck’s eight pool tables while you check out the fanny packs on soggy out-of-towners.
400 Beach, Santa Cruz
(831) 423-5590
www.beachboardwalk.com

Red Room
Originally a brothel, the Red Room’s vibe is warm, slightly scandalous and red as hell. We’re talking velvet couches, which totally belies the scruffy nature of it’s student clientele. Swing by early and enjoy a vast happy hour menu with $4 artichoke hearts or Guinness battered onion rings upstairs or down in the two bar areas.
1003 Cedar, Santa Cruz
(831) 426-2994
www.redsantacruz.com