The Watering Hole: Ballroom, 456 N. 36th St., 634-2575, FREMONT The Atmosphere:

The Watering Hole: Ballroom, 456 N. 36th St., 634-2575, FREMONT

The Atmosphere: Ballroom is one of the best-known bars in Fremont, and its popularity is partly due to its split personality. Equal parts pool hall and nightclub, it attracts all kinds of customers, depending on the night of the week. On Fridays, when Fremont turns into “Fratmont,” Ballroom becomes the prime spot for hammered college kids to hang out and dance. But during the week, bros are nowhere to be found and the dance floor—featuring a cage and a pole­—seems to shrink into the background. Instead, the rows of red pool tables lining the back of the bar and the booths that hug the interior wall are scattered with customers kicking back with beer and pizza after work.

The Barkeep: It’s Monday night and Tim Baker is tending bar. He has a charming, boyish grin, but his graying hair reveals he may not be as young as he seems. And Baker is indeed a veteran of the restaurant business—he’s been waiting tables and pulling pints at a host of places for 20 years. But he says Ballroom, where he’s worked for two years, is his favorite because he likes the balance between “neighborhood bar and crazy nightclub.” Baker must be young at heart, because he says he likes working Saturday nights just as much, if not more, than keeping tabs on a quiet Monday evening.

The Drink: Baker’s go-to is a classic: Maker’s Mark on the rocks and a Stella Artois. He likes sipping the combo after work because it’s straightforward, satisfying, and something he can sit with all evening.

The Verdict: I’ll be honest: Prior to this visit, I’d only been to Ballroom on weekends, when the line outside seems to sway and inside I have to fight through packs of people to get a drink. So I was pleasantly surprised by the chill Monday-night atmosphere. It’s rare to find a bar that can transition comfortably between hectic club and neighborhood watering hole, but Ballroom has got it perfected. E