WXYZ Lounge spells out new hip, glamorous vibe for Newark

NEWARK — If you are a mysterious tech firm spy or having a steamy illicit affair — or both — then the WXYZ Lounge should be your next meeting place.

Relax, I’m not saying I’ve seen either nefarious activity at the hip but comfortable bar, which recently reopened on the ground floor of the Aloft Silicon Valley hotel. But scenes from a glossy Hollywood film about such a tangled, steamy web would fit perfectly in this roomy, inviting watering hole on the western edge of Newark.

It looks like a big-budget movie set, for one, and what other Tri-City-area hot spot can say that?

The bar space was smaller and darker when it was part of the W Hotel. But late last year, Triyar Hospitality purchased the hotel and bar and gave them a face-lift. The bar was given a new name and a multimillion-dollar renovation before reopening in March.

The space, which was always pleasant and welcoming, received a face-lift that kept the alluring vibe but added more than a dash of glamour. Lounge seating was added, as were several dining tables and chairs. Now, three flat-screen TVs face patrons at the long bar, which has 17 seats — more than double the previous figure. Soft techno music and obscure R&B tunes played softly on the speakers, slicing up hipness and practically serving it on a tray.

“We’ve opened the space up a little bit and given it a more modern look and feel,” said Ben Malmquist, the hotel’s general manager.

The hotel, which offers 172 spacious loft-like rooms, is in an out-of-the-way — almost rural — location. But that only adds to its intrigue. It’s on the western edge of town, tucked between the hiking trails of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge and the Pacific Research Center, a 1.4 million-square-foot office park that houses Logitech and other Silicon Valley companies.

I stopped by the bar one recent evening, as a dozen tech employees rolled in for either a nightcap or just a dinner-and-drinks break amid a very long workday. The eye-catching hotel lobby has a multicolored stock ticker for business travelers — the hotel’s bread and butter — to eyeball as they head to their next meeting.

A huge TV screen divided into four panels hung on the lobby wall, showing a beachside sunset with occasional stop-motion video. It was the kind of thing a pre-rehab Dennis Hopper might have spent hours staring at. I was instantly impressed with the upscale bar’s new decor, featuring long dinner tables, armless chairs, circular ottomans, and cushioned booths built into the back wall, most of which were covered with brightly colored pillows. (To be fair, the idea of a poorly dressed, ink-stained, middle-aged slob like myself judging anyone’s decorating choices is a joke in search of a punch line.)

Its clientele was predominantly men, most of whom were clad in golf shirts and jeans or khakis. There also were a few women, giving us a glimpse, perhaps, of the next Marissa Mayer or Meg Whitman. As noted techie Frank Sinatra once said: “I like intelligent women. When you go out, it shouldn’t be a staring contest.”

One 30-something man sat alone with his laptop at the bar, listening to music through ear buds, bobbing his head while staring at spreadsheets. Leave the office for a good time? At the WXYZ Lounge, they’re bringing the office to the fun.

Aloft Silicon Valley is just a few minutes from the Dumbarton Bridge, which connects Fremont/Newark with Menlo Park, the home of Facebook. That means any Aloft guest can drive to the famous tech campus, give a presentation, and be back at the hotel bar within an hour, sipping appletinis and bragging to the boss via Skype of how he wowed Zuck in the conference room.

“This being Silicon Valley, there are a lot of people connected to work here, but they can also entertain and enjoy a meal,” Malmquist said. “We’re kind of a blend of all those things: You can be productive but enjoy yourself while doing it, and not feel you’re in the rat race, so to speak.”

Bartender Miguel Garcia, of Union City, delivered an old-school, unpretentious East Bay vibe, greeting each guest warmly and making a point to remember their names. On one end of the bar, Garcia patiently answered one guest’s many questions about the cocktail menu. On the other end, he offered a list of wine and beer to a young couple.

“A vodka list would be great,” a customer said, chuckling.

Next to the bar is Plus, a restaurant featuring a menu of healthy choices and local ingredients, ranging from salads and edamame to dish

es with long-winded names like “Grilled Sustainable Scottish Salmon” and “Snake River Farms Kobe Beef Sliders.”

The menu isn’t inexpensive. But by mid-July, WXYZ Lounge will offer a happy hour with a wider range of prices, Malmquist said. Happy hour will be from 4 to 6 p.m. nightly, featuring beer, wine and signature cocktails for $5, as well as $5 food dishes.

As I got ready to go, I nursed the last bit of a Stella Artois and thought, “Good for Newark.”

This proud town of 42,500 good folks could use a splash of glamour, a touch of tony swagger. And Aloft Silicon Valley, along with its restaurant and bar, deliver that and then some.

Out & About is a monthly column that highlights the wildly underrated entertainment scene in the Tri-City and greater Hayward areas.

Chris DeBenedetti


  1. Bang Newspapers are into advertising, this sounds like a commercial…. But it is a good read!!!!

  2. I’m conflicted after reading this. An intriguing advertorial. How I feel at this very moment is exactly how I imagine feeling after being raped by an attractive woman.

  3. I’m conflicted as well.

    This is a nicely written promotional for this local business. A similar promo for F-mont food trucks appeared earlier this week. Heck, the C-Co Times chain of media did a wonderful job of front-page promo of “The Internship” a few weeks back – –

    My question is – would similar space dedicated to a discussion of – for instance – the emerging plans for Dumbarton Quarry have been a better service to the community? Make your own list of topics – –

    The priorities seem screwed up, if, as has been suggested here in the distant past, our local coverage is limited by the amount of time reporters can dedicate.

  4. This part made me want to take a shower curled in a fetal position.

    …any Aloft guest can drive to the famous tech campus, give a presentation, and be back at the hotel bar within an hour, sipping appletinis and bragging to the boss via Skype of how he wowed Zuck in the conference room.

  5. Chris,
    What about Dumbarton Quarry being turned into a Toxic Waste Dump. Is BANG worried about advertisers, oh wait a minute that is local news and we know that the Oakland Argus has a policy of NOT reporting local news.

    I suggest unsubscribing to the Oakland Argus, I am.
    It is a hard habit to break, coffee in the morning with the paper, that is,if it gets here before noon….
    For local News there is the Patch, The Tri City Voice which Bang has been working to destroy. There is also many online news services.
    I would like to get the San Jose Mercury, BANG does not get we do not care about Oakland, we do our entertainment, shopping in the South Bay.
    I also encourage you to write the advertisers and tell them how you feel, I am….

  6. I agree with Marty and had more than one chuckle.

    In addition to the appletini stereotype the reference to the eye-popping video display had me chuckling –

    “It was the kind of thing a pre-rehab Dennis Hopper might have spent hours staring at . . . ”

    So let me get this straight (no pun) – I need to be stoned out of my mind to enjoy the ambiance?

    While it was a waste of investigative talents of our intrepid reporter – it was very entertaining.

  7. There is something you can do……..
    Tell the Planning Commission and the Fremont City Council to quit trying to poison us!!!!!

    Public Hearing: The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to consider the project at its July 25, 2013 meeting and the City Council is tentatively scheduled to consider the project at its September 3, 2013 meeting. Planning Commission and City Council meetings are held in the City Council Chambers at 3300 Capitol Avenue. All environmental documents are available for review at 39550 Liberty Street, Fremont.

    Any comments as to whether the draft negative declaration should become final or whether an EIR should be prepared for the project must be submitted within 30 days of the posting of this draft negative declaration. The comment period begins June 24 and ends July 23, 2013.

  8. DQA has demonstrated their willingness to renege on an original plan and commitment.

    They’ve presented a NEW proposed solution which is 12 to 17 years out – according to the plan summary.

    Let’s fast forward to a hypothetical situation in 12 or 17 years and let’s pretend that we’re still staring at a pit half-full of whatever someone has been allowed to place therein. . . if I’m lucky enough to be alive at that point in time – – – I’ll wager that I’ll be bitchin’ about how we got the shaft again from these guys and my friend Dan-O will likely be encouraging us all to look forward to things we CAN do to solve problems . . . .

    Question – Having failed to deliver as promised on the original deal, why do I have confidence that we’ll deliver on the new promise?

    Much more significantly – What guarantee do we have that DQA and or their insurance carriers will not have vaporized from the business world – either figuratively or literally – such that, should we find ourselves in this very same situation 12 to 17 years from now – Fremont and its residents have little or no beneficial recourse?

    In business there is the notion of a contingency. Sometimes, these contingencies are in the form of what is called a security deposit of a significant sum which is only released in the event of a failure to deliver. I’m sure DQA would argue that a hefty security deposit is a burden. I hope that Sue and Bill and Anu would be ready to argue that the failure to deliver on time as originally agreed combined with a new and extensive timeline for remediation is also a serious burden to our community.

    “Those who ignore history . . . “

  9. …#9

    Your friend DanO’s response:

    What the HELL happened to the ORIGINAL agreement? I thought we were talking about a pristine lake with happy, smiling kids playing with beach balls in this pristine lake. IF this did not happen, and DiSilva (sp) pulled out $$$ from all of the gravel and did not deliver on their promises…WHY are we accepting this?
    Where and WHO are the people that originally made this deal and/or signed up for this plan and accepted this?
    WHAT the hell are they saying now?

    We have gone from a pristine lake to the largest toilet bowl in America accepting Toxiphine waste from the Patterson Ranch and God knows whatever else….

  10. #9
    you say “In business there is the notion of a contingency” … so does that mean Bacon means business!

  11. There is going to be two (2) openings on the City Council 2014, lets watch how they vote and perhaps it will tell us who to vote for!!!!!

  12. Hey Chris, Here is another commercial…
    K-Pop Café Provides Unique Fare — and a Fun Late Night Hangout

    The new restaurant and karaoke bar serves up both Korean fusion and traditional dishes. If that’s not enough to lure you in, the karaoke will.

  13. Jasper, thanks for the tip.

    However, your use of the word ‘commercial’ is — at best — inaccurate. I invite you to keep our interactions respectful.

    Thanks again for the tip.

  14. Chris,
    You let Charlie or Michael of Niles get away with constantly insulting people and you get on my ass about using the word “Commercial”
    What is wrong with this picture

  15. Advertisement or not, I want to take a look at that vodka list.

  16. Chris –

    What of Jasper’s comment do you find significantly more disrespectful than any of the other ongoing rants – such that he deserves to be singled out?

    This one is feeling a tad bit defensive of the home-turf to my sensibilities but I’d be interested in your argument.

    Is your caution specific to this particular thread or directed at JS’s statements in general?

  17. #16…Bruce, as you well know my opinion is most always the truth. I regret that you have not yet been enlightened by the wisdom I have tried to bestow on to you and your elk. I look forward to seeing you and councilman Bacon at the forthcoming dog show…and as always, play ball!

  18. Hey, Bruce – – – I’ll see you at the “elk” show!!!


  19. #20…Glad to see you are tuned in Boxie. Will you be joining Bruce and councilman Vinnie (man of the people) Bacon at this years Niles dog show? I hear Vinnies dog might be worth at least 2 grand!

  20. Can anyone tell me what we achieved, what result we delivered to the taxpayers of Fremont in return for our LAST trip to India?

    (cue crickets chirping)

    “The trip, which is expected to last 10 to 12 days, “will have specific goals and targets,” said Natarajan” –


    We’ve already decided to go and yet we haven’t settled on the specific deliverables and goals???!!!! Why can’t we explain those specific goals NOW???

    This is Fremont Council politics and planning at it’s best folks. We need to send Anu to India – – we’ll sort out the rationalizations for why we need to do this – – – later.

    Speaking of later –

    “Later this summer, Natarajan said she will spend her own money to travel to Bangalore, partly as vacation and partly to do prep work for the official trip in the fall.” –

    I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that since Anu is splitting her time between vacation and “..prep..” work – – there’ll be just an ounce of “business expenses” associated with her personal visit . . . .

    Anu is careful to point out she’ll use her own money to TRAVEL to India. . . but, whatdya wanna bet she comes back with a couple of expenses that need addressing while she was “planning” for us?

    Nauseating – – – rationalizations – – – pure, unadulterated boondoggle – with NOTHING tangible to show for it – the last time we went AND this time.

  21. Bbox, Boondoggles are a way of life. Fremont has been better then most municipalities about Boondoggles. If you check all the problems in Fremont, this one is insignificant compared to putting Toxaphine in Dumbarton Quarry or Red Light Camera’s that are revenue traps, or the lack of affordable housing! I can go on and on.
    I am spending my energy on trying to solve problems, pressure politicians to do there jobs, etc

  22. If all this was, was a little trip on our nickle – you’d be right, Jasper.

    But – there’s more to it than that.

    We’re just not very smart in how we approach important decisions.

    Boondoggle or not, we’ve made a decision to act – – BEFORE we’ve identified the desired outcomes!

    AND – to add insult to injury – we’re even telling folks that we’ll figure out why we’re going – – – later.

    If that’s not bad enough – in this most recent instance we will allow ourselves to repeat actions of the past without ever having declared what those past actions have accomplished for us.

    Those with any recall of the past will confirm that only Steve Cho chose to question these very points in the past. He’s gone.

    But – here’s the important point, Jasper – allow this same kind of lack of forethought and critical reasoning to percolate into more important decisions and you end up with things like a recurring miss we all know as Centerville. Once it is formally announced, you can add the miss at Dumbarton Quarry to the growing list of examples.

    It’s not about a boondoggle. It’s about a way of thinking.

  23. 26…Bruce, Boondoggles have certainly become way of life Fremont alright like the demonize a developer vocal minority killing a professional sports team coming to Fremont. Hats off to Anu for recently suggesting trying to get Lew Wolf to reconsider Fremont. In this case someone has the guts to use *critical reasoning* to do what’s best for Fremont!

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