Alcohol and Bands at the Milfitas Lounge

If you’re looking for the best Japanese-born bluesman who came out of Chicago’s clubs to play at Milpitas, you’ll find Yoshi Sanzaki playing guitar at The Note Lounge, a low bar with a unique character and excellent live music.

“When The Note reopened after removing the COVID restrictions, our band sometimes exceeded the number of customers,” Sanzki told San Jose Spotlight. “But now, this is where real blues fans start gathering because this bar is known for being so friendly and accepting.”

Yoshi Senzaki’s blues band is a regular show at The Note Lounge, which also features karaoke nights, a well-entertained cockroach box and large-screen TVs for sporting events. This is a bar for every purpose, for all tastes, which prides itself on welcoming new immigrants and pouring customers an honest drink.

“We may not have a bar atmosphere at Santana Row,” said director Michelle Jackson. “But we have the coldest beer in Silicon Valley and our drinks are much better and much cheaper. We do not flood our drinks with juice or whatever the ingredients are, and we pour an ounce and a half – not just an ounce like most bars. We are committed to mixing drinks properly. And our customers appreciate that. “

Michelle has been working for her father, bar owner Steve Jackson, for 31 years. Steve opened The Note Lounge in 2003 after running another bar, The Three Plus One Club, for 18 years. According to Michelle, The Note’s position was less promising.


“This place used to be a biker bar,” she said. “Dad called me one day to see it and I said, ‘No way,’ because this place was so small and I could not imagine it as anything different. But it was a good price in a decent location and he knew what he wanted to do with it.”

As one of two Black-owned bars in the area, The Note Lounge quickly nurtured a following among locals, and in March 2020, Steve received the Business and Entrepreneur Award from the Silicon Valley Black Legends Hall of Fame.

“We had a big party for him,” Michelle said. “Then the plague hit the following week. We were closed for almost two years and we were not sure we would succeed.”

After the bar reopened, Michelle said The Note Lounge maintained strict health and safety protocols. Masks were required and on Sundays vaccinated, customers had to present their vaccination cards to COVID-19 to enter.

“Sometimes, we have an older audience, which is part of my dad’s follow-up,” she told San Jose Spotlight. “We wanted people to know they were safe to come here.”

Even with the precautions, many of the old customers were reluctant to return to such a public framework.

“Business was slow when we first reopened,” Michelle said. “So we started inviting more bands and doing a lot of social media, trying to reach a larger group of customers. Since then, we had more types of people trying us out. So now we have a really diverse audience, and the place is much better because of that.”

Customer Rita Ramirez has been coming to the bar for 11 years. Musician herself, loves the live bands and the atmosphere.

“The first time I came, my impression was that it was a family place with excellent customer service,” she said. “I’m so confident in how they take care of you that I’ll have parties in this place and invite anywhere from five to 30 people to come with me. And my friends always tell me they’ll be back.”

The successful transformation from a biker bar to a jazz lounge is highlighted by the decor – walls covered in photographs of black musicians and sports heroes, as well as cultural and political figures – and the calm and welcoming atmosphere that greets you as you enter the venue.

“I’ve been coming here since Thanksgiving – it was the only place open,” client AJ Torres told San Jose Spotlight. “We came here and everyone was cool. I had a serious illness, but everyone here treated me like family. Since I came here. They know my name, they know what I drink, and when I come here, everyone turns to me. It’s not like any other bar. “I’ve been there before. It’s more like being with family.”

Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc. All rights reserved. Republic, retransmission or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. Forbidden. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service that covers the Great Bay area.

Copyright © 2022 by Bay City News, Inc. Republic, rebroadcast or any other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. forbidden.

Leave a Comment