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A no-frills Mexican bar where you can get a cheap beer or shot of mezcal before jumping on BART.

Dive bars can run the gamut from grimy to homey, from imposing to welcoming. Baggy's by the Lake certainly lands on the friendly side of the continuum, but its charms never threaten its dive-bar cred. Twentysomethings and old-timers rub elbows enthusiastically at this Eastlake joint, where the drinks are cheap, the decor is as classy as it is gaudy, and the bartenders (and fellow customers) are just friends you haven't met yet.

In English, it's called The Black Cat. Inside, you'll find a blaring jukebox, a primarily young Latino crowd, and drinks like the Michelada, a Mexican mixed drink made with beer and tomato juice.

The flat-screen TVs at this laid-back Laurel District bar are sure to be on during game day, but patrons can play their own games of pool and darts, or throw some coins in the jukebox for a wide selection of tunes.

Lounge 3411 transmits some Uptown flavor to the lower hills, with a mix of DJs, taco Tuesdays, and local bands. There's also a sizable stripper-pole-equipped dance floor.

The dimly lit dive bar has seventeen beers on tap and scores of specialty drinks. It's a cool place to play pool or one of the bar's multiple video-game machines.

Portal

Veggie-centric small plates, microbrews, and gorgeous lake views rule at this new beer garden and restaurant, located along the southeast side of Lake Merritt.

Housed in the Oakland International Airport, Vino Volo attempts to pull the airport drinking experience up from the depths of plastic chairs/warm beer mediocrity — and does so winningly, with an expansive, international wine list, well-trained staff, and sleek design.

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