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Comment Archives: stories: Special Sections: Taste: Today

Re: “Oakland's Dive Bar Aficionados Adapt to the City's Changing Bar Scene

p.s. the name "rockridge improvement club" is intended to be ironic. it's actually the original name for the space, which was initially occupied by a pro-prohibition group when it was built in 1912.

Posted by Julia Johari on 09/30/2016 at 2:05 PM

Re: “Oakland's Dive Bar Aficionados Adapt to the City's Changing Bar Scene

Someone who moves in a working class area from an outside neighborhood with a pocket full of cash and no ties to the current community, is contributing to gentrification. Scott Ayers is not. The owners of "Ye Olde Hut" weren't pushed out - they wanted to sell. The appearance of the bar hasn't changed at all other than him having literally two weeks to replace all the floors, by law, because they were ROTTING - he would not have been allowed to open if he didn't do it. For anyone who actually went to the Hut recently, the Ping Pong table was actually taken out before they closed - I don't know if this is true, but I heard it required a cabaret license, which the bar does not have. He sells craft cocktails that, while not usually my thing, are extremely tasty and created by local Oakland bartenders who have been around forever. They're not doing anything that they weren't already doing at other spots in Oakland. You can also get a Miller High Life + a shot for $5, as well as Zachary's Pizza, which already exists around the corner. Scott has been working in the service industry, literally across the street from this bar since 1994, and living from paycheck to paycheck for the past 15 years! Knowing how tough things have been for him with recent unemployment, and the struggle to survive in the bay area in general, as a friend, I'm extremely proud of him for opening this bar!

Posted by Julia Johari on 09/30/2016 at 1:26 PM

Re: “Oakland's Dive Bar Aficionados Adapt to the City's Changing Bar Scene

Let's turn down the thermostat a notch, people. The G word - gentrification - is so incendiary it's difficult to talk about it with anything resembling our inside voices.

I get it. It's tough. Would you prefer a vacant storefront to an artisanal cheese shop in your neighborhood? What about the Dollar Store next to your favorite Asian fusion restaurant? The answer is not easy, which is why I only pose the question.

Me, I hold out for those pockets of Oakland where unicorns still exist, where, say, a long standing shoe repair shop, or donut place, or mom ‘n’ pop hardware store, can exist cheek-by-jowl with a cocktail bar or exclusive clothing boutique. I know the pressure of increasing rents and a shifting demographic are driving these unicorns away, but those neighborhood pockets are still out there. Let’s cherish them.

The G-world also begs the chicken and egg question: are the newer, cleaner hip places being opened to cater to the more affluent crowd that can afford Oakland's ridiculous rents (average two bedroom apartment $3244), or are the affluent crowds following the leads of new bar owners and upscale entrepreneurs? Again, I only put the question, not the answer, out there, because the issues are maddeningly complex and nuanced.

But I am certain about one thing: this article made me actually feel proud about the dismal (charming?) state of our bathrooms. Alfredo, Ruby Room and Radio Bar.

Posted by Alfredo on 09/30/2016 at 7:21 AM

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