Down-Homiest Place to Pretend It's a Red State 

The Saddle Rack

In a neighborhood on the outskirts of Fremont, city slickers can get flung off a mechanical bull in a large space that feels part warehouse, part barn. It's a nightclub, but the only booty-shaking you'll find at the Saddle Rack is line dancing to country bands singing about places like Texas and Tennessee. Three bars line the perimeter, two dancefloors dominate the center, and a stage hosts cover bands and emerging country stars. Young and old -- but all aged at least 21 -- visitors stride proudly in their boots and cowboy hats for some folksy steppin' or a ride on the venue's main attraction: the wildly undulating mechanical bull. For an altogether different kind of queasy, you can take a ride in the margarita chair instead. A staff member will tip you back in a reclining chair and then send your shot down your throat. It's just like the dentist, but a hell of a lot more neighborly. Drink up, since this is also the one spot in the Bay Area where you're most likely to still see some Bush/Cheney T-shirts. Open 7 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Readers' Pick:
Making Changes Freedom School
2026 Mason St., San Pablo
Home.att.net/~teolol/MakingChanges.html

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