At Actual Cafe, it's all about sitting down and enjoying the coffeehouse experience. Get a cup of joe (or tea) served in a real china cup, plop down, and just hang for a while. Actual Cafe boasts comfy furniture and communal seating to encourage actual interaction with actual human life-forms. It's "not just another wi-fi shack." Indoor bike parking and a full menu are also available. Weekends are laptop-free.
Formerly known as Connolly's, this neighborhood bar straddles the line between dive bar and community melting pot. The clientele here reflects the surrounding neighborhood's diversity, from the tony streets of Temescal to the working-class neighborhood of Longfellow on the other side of Telegraph Ave. Owners and Oakland natives Curtis Howard and Davey Herrick, who bought the place from the previous owners, also tend bar here; they're more than happy to welcome you to the ’hood with a $8.75 pitcher of PBR or a delightfully stiff cocktail.
Ben & Nick's is the perfect place to catch up with friends, with loads of tables of varying sizes, a long bar ripe for hunkering down for a few hours (and pints), and a variety of beer on tap that changes daily (as well as a full bar).
This chocolate lovers' paradise proffers drinks, pastries, and bars such as chocolate dulce de leche pudding and chocolate Thai iced tea.
Located above Pizza Rustica Cafe in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, the Conga Lounge is a laid-back, tiki-themed bar and lounge. Choose from forty cocktails and order food from Pizza Rustica. On Fridays and Saturdays the Conga Lounge turns into a popular late-night spot for enjoying mai tais, piña coladas, and mojitos while DJs spin a variety of music including soca, salsa, reggae, and R&B. Admission is free, and the bar is close to BART and accessible by the 51 bus line.
You can get a tattoo, look at art, listen to metal bands, and enjoy New Orleans-style Cajun and Creole food at this punk-rock dive. The spacious back patio has plenty of picnic tables, and there's also indoor bike parking, two pinball machines, and a pool table. Eli’s is located in a squat, garish red building near a freeway overpass on MLK in North Oakland -- close to the MacArthur BART station. Come for good drinks, stay for good times.
The neon sign outside says “Geo Kaye’s,” leading to arguments over the name being Geo versus George, but these facts are certain: It’s a small, friendly dive bar that caters to an eclectic mix of regulars and hipsters. The beer choices are limited, but there’s a broad selection of liquor. One wall often functions as an art gallery, and there’s a small TV mounted in one corner. The old jukebox was replaced with one of the hulking digital variety kinds, but despite that, the music is still good. This place is dog-friendly, and there’s usually one or two lying around. Everyone ends up chatting toward the end of the night when the booze has set in and the place seems even more intimate.
This bar draws a lively and standing-room-only crowd of grad students, hipsters, and blue-collar locals with its cheap drinks, jukebox, Sriracha-spiked free popcorn, student discounts, no-frills vibe, unusually friendly bartenders, and unpretentious attitude. On the weekends, it can be especially crowded. This cash-only dive bar also has a little-known lower level that’s affectionately called “the undergraduate.”
Across the street from the Rockridge BART station and situated inside Market Hall, Highwire Coffee Roasters (formerly Peaberry's) serves as a regular morning destination for commuters as well as a hangout spot for those with the time to contemplatively sit and sip their caffeine. Don't fret the long lines, the baristas are friendly and quick. In addition to coffee, the shop serves up pastries, fancy chocolates, gelato, and affogato, an Italian dessert of espresso and vanilla gelato.
A classic, lovable dive dating back to 1922, complete with cheap drinks, a convivial atmosphere, and head-bumpingly low ceilings — plus shuffleboard, free popcorn, and one of the best jukeboxes in the East Bay.
This is a great place to watch the game, whether that means standard bar fare like football and baseball or European favorites like soccer (aka football) or rugby. McNally’s attracts young and old, and the appeal goes beyond whatever is on the four TVs. Friendly bartenders serve reasonably priced drinks, there’s a digital jukebox that isn’t too loud to drown out conversation, plus bumper pool, a stone fireplace, and a nice smoking area.
Fondly known as the "White Ho," the White Horse Inn is one of the oldest gay bars in the country. Built in 1933, the white building at the corner of 66th and Telegraph with a flag of a horse draped out front and cigarette butts like confetti on the sidewalk doesn't appear to echo much of its rich past. But inside, the bar is a lively place and welcoming to all walks of life, with a big-screen TV playing continuous karaoke and a single pool table to fight over underneath. Three nights of the week, DJs spin a variety of dance, Top 40, and hip-hop; in addition, there's lively karaoke every Monday and Tuesday nights, drag shows on Wednesdays, and breast cancer charity bingo games Thursday afternoons. No cover charge on Thursdays, otherwise it ranges from $5-$10.