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.
This cafe is a diverse gathering place. There’s lots of conversation, and, because the wireless is unreliable, it isn’t a haven for laptop users. Besides consistently good coffee, Alem’s menu includes healthy breakfast and lunch offerings like Shiyan Phool, a dish made with fava beans, onion, and feta cheese that’s served with a slice of bread. It’s in a colorful little building across the street from the DMV. Cash only.
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.
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 new coffee shop on College Avenue opened in August and caters to coffee geeks. Bica serves local roasts by Ritual, Barefoot, Flying Goat, Verve, and De La Paz and offers pastries as well as other snacks. It’s spitting distance from the Rockridge BART station, and Bica has a screen that tracks the next trains. There’s free wi-fi, and some seating inside and out.
This chocolate lovers' paradise proffers drinks, pastries, and bars from chocolate dulce de leche pudding to chocolate Thai iced tea.
For great coffee a short walk from the MacArthur BART station, Cafe Dejena fits the bill. Prices are reasonable, there’s free wireless, and the decor is bright and welcoming. The menu is a mix of Eritrean, Italian, and standard American food.
Patrons line up outside the door of Cole Coffee for two reasons: 1) The coffee 2) The social scene. First, the coffee: Pure Arabica, fair trade and organic, roasted fresh every 24 hours, dripped individually into each cup. In the adjoining coffee store, choose from the largest selection of fresh beans in the East Bay. A range of specialty teas will satisfy tea lovers, as well. 2) Sometimes there’s a lack of elbow space inside the cafe and this actually serves to inspire conversation with more extroverted cafe-goers. There’s also a feeling of fellowship among those who have been lucky enough to secure a sidewalk table. Enjoy the scene and savor your coffee with locally made baked goods, fresh sandwiches, or poached eggs. Coffee mecca and social hub, Cole Coffee well earns these appellations. No wi-fi.
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 from soca to salsa, reggae to R&B. Admission is free, and the bar is close to BART and accessible by the 51 bus line.
Soul food is a tradition for the Dorsey family, and their bar and restaurant serves it up seven days a week. The lounge has table service and plenty of seating at the bar. Dorsey’s hosts a spoken-word and comedy open mic on Tuesdays, karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays, DJs on Fridays, and live music on Sunday evenings.
A family-oriented coffee shop that serves up plenty of food in addition to beverages, and even has a little children's nook set aside to entertain youngsters.
The kitchen stays open late at this East Bay blues institution. The punk rock dive is known for cheap eats. The spacious back patio has plenty of picnic tables that you’re encouraged to draw on, and there’s indoor bike parking, two pinball machines, and a pool table. The bar recently secured its cabaret license and now has live shows a few times a week. Eli’s is located in a squat, garish red building beneath a freeway overpass on MLK in North Oakland -- close to the MacArthur BART station. Come for good drinks, stay for good times.
This sports bar offers NHL, NBA, NFL and college football TV packages on big hi-def TVs for its revelers. There are pool tables, a fireside lounge, a jukebox, and arcade games.
The neon sign outside says “Geo Kaye’s,” leading to arguments over the name being Geo vs. George, but these facts are certain: It’s a small, friendly dive bar with PBR on tap 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.