The trouble that many find with going out in Silicon Valley is not being able to escape the crowd you just left at work. Throughout the South Bay Area and all along the Peninsula, one can be hard pressed to find a spot for a post-work night out that does not mirror every other bar in terms of looks, drinks, prices, and patrons.
The more secluded, back of the Nut House, is home to arcade games. Here, the walls are lined with photos of the bar’s many loyal fans.

For those looking to break from the monotony of the end-of-day drink, and the same crowd of people, check out Antonio’s Nut House in Palo Alto. This local-favorite dive bar, just two-blocks south of Stanford’s campus offers amazingly cheap food and drinks, and an even more amazingly diverse crowd of patrons on any given night.

Walking inside Antonio’s Nut House is a remarkable assault on the senses. Tables, booths, and mismatched chairs are strewn about the checkered linoleum as are the disregarded shells of peanuts. The delicious, spicy smell of Mexican food wafts over from the open kitchen while neon and fluorescents flash around the walls washing the scene in a dark frenetic glow.

Glancing around the Nut House, one finds the expected assortment of dive bar patrons, from bikers to broke twenty-somethings looking for cheap booze, but with rather surprising additions to this crowd. Pushing up against the bar were backpack-wearing office professionals, gruff construction workers, serious-looking grad students, a lone man pouring over a book and nursing a beer amongst the cacophony, and a couple sharing a bar stool. The scene around them is a whirlwind of activity as people crowd around the pool tables or as they splay out with their friends on the plentiful seats and tables around the bar.

After striking up a conversation with the couple at the bar, the man remarked:

“Everywhere around here starts to look the same, and cost the same… It’s fun here, I know it’s gonna be a good time whenever I come.” Going around the bar one hears variations of this sentiment, people in search of a break from the monotony of going out in a city that seems like it has started catering to it.

The Nut House thrives because it promises a space safe from the swift changing world of Silicon Valley outside. It offers a respite for its patrons from the emphatic sameness of identical bars and restaurants that have become the norm throughout Silicon Valley.