Last call for Charley's, Los Gatos bar and nightclub closes after 50 years

Charleys in Los Gatos. Photo: Google street view 

 Mini disco balls dangle from a giant chandelier over people dancing energetically to a cover band's live performance of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk " -- but not much longer, as a legendary Los Gatos club shuts its doors after more than five decades.

Charley's Los Gatos Bar & Nightclub, a beloved local spot known for its live music and dive bar feel, will close its doors in the first few days of June. An undisclosed tenant bought out the nightclub from owner Alex Hult and his partners and will move into the tucked-away space that sits above shops on North Santa Cruz Avenue.

"I was so excited to take over a legacy place that has been a staple in the community for over 50 years. I'm relieved to pass on the torch to a great group of operators to create new magic," Hult told San Jose Spotlight. "This move will give me more time to spend with my growing family ... A big thank you to the greatest community I know."

The Western-inspired nightclub draws a crowd on Friday nights. Bar patrons mingle next to geometric-patterned maroon-colored wallpaper, brick walls and eclectic mirrors under the glow of a vintage-looking light bulb sign.

The club offers dancing, performances and themed nights and has a storied past, including the murder of one of its previous owners.

It originally opened its doors as Mountain Charley's in 1972 and has changed hands multiple times over the decades. In 2021, Hult and his partners took over the lease from the Farwell family, transforming the space into Immersive LG, a dining experience featuring cabaret and circus performers, for roughly five months. The bar then reopened as Charley's Los Gatos Bar & Nightclub in 2022.

Mileaway Pritchard, 70, has been coming to Charley's since 1975 and said some of his favorite memories include his themed birthday parties. He said the bar means a lot to him because he made lifelong friends there and will miss that camaraderie.

"It ain't gonna be Charley's anymore and that's the sad part. Charley's is gonna go into history," he told San Jose Spotlight.

For the employees, the club's closing is bittersweet.

General Manager Pam Davis and bar and restaurant legend Chuck Oliver, "director of fun," joined the team in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Davis said she loves what she does because it makes people happy. She looks forward to the new tenant's vision for the space, but will miss the magic she helped create in a place where she said people have met their spouses.

"It is making every person feel like they're welcome. You come in here and we touch every single person. We're not just like people that are in the background," she told San Jose Spotlight. "We make everybody feel like they are special because they are."

Oliver encourages people to come by to say their goodbyes before June. The nightclub is open Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Upcoming events include a disco night, toga party and adult prom night. The club hosts a trivia night every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Pritchard said he plans to take advantage of the remaining time Charley's has left, reminiscing on the memories he's made there under the mini disco balls and flashing lights.

"You treasure the moments because you never know when it's gonna come to an end," he said. "Now we're gonna have a lot of parties here at Charley's because we're gonna make memories and take pictures.