Located in the historic Croll building, the Alameda bar and eatery has offerings for the thirsty and hungry alike. Patrons can stop by on weekends for an American-style breakfast on the bar's patio and start the drinking early with $10 bottomless mimosas and other morning time libations. As the day wears on, the menu turns to bar fare like pulled pork sliders and BBQ chicken wings. Be sure to check the calendar for a weekly bill of live performers.
This club, modeled after an Eastern European wooden synagogue, is a Berkeley institution dedicated to dance and music. The non-profit venue hosts live music nearly every night, and shows are all-ages. Ashkenaz hosts reggae, bluegrass, Balkan, Brazillian, Cajun, and Caribbean bands, just to name a few. Come early for a dance class or on Sunday afternoon for a kid’s concert.
You can dance, drink, and most definitely eat at this German-American restaurant and tavern, where the Wiener Schnitzel comes veggie-optional and live music fills the room every weekend. If the weather's nice, sit out on the cedar patio and sip on Belgium ale and other tasty beer offerings in bottle or on tap.
The latest addition to Oakland's blossoming nightlife scene has set up shop in a turquoise-tiled Art Deco building at 14th and Webster streets. Disco Volante, set to open in late October, is a bar, music venue, and restaurant run by a trio of Oakland arts and entertainment vets, with chef Douglas Bernstein of Bacar, Eccolo, and Farallon fame serving up local and seasonal California cuisine. Musical offerings will range from bluegrass to Afrobeat, with shows at least three nights a week.
Nestled between Alamedas bustling Park Street and Alameda High School, this 92-year-old hall draws about 250 people on Friday nights for dancing to live zydeco, and occasional Saturdays for swing. These weekly gigs are not too unlike a church function -- except for the full bar hidden in the back corner — with punch bowls filled with Oreos, pretzels, and chocolate chip cookies, and regulars who affectionately call each other by name. Tables line the wooden dance floor in this four-hundred-capacity hall, and its easy to see why people of all ages and walks of life from rockabillies to pimply-faced teens in Nirvana T-shirts to your aunt who frequents Ashkenaz come for the guaranteed crowd and, oh yeah, the handy dance lesson beforehand.
Wedged next to a car dealership on the crummier end of Alameda’s Park Street, this honky-tonk-ish dive bar features live music, karaoke, and pool tournaments Wednesdays through Saturdays. Decked out with a pool table, jukebox, Big Toy machine complete with lesbian porn, several tables, and a small stage, John Patrick’s is no supper club, but it’s a fun, cash only neighborhood watering hole.
Emanating from the softly upholstered furniture, the richly colored linens, the modern-exotic lighting, and the casual seating, the vibe coaxes patrons to relax, to share, to open up — even with strangers. The drinks are neither low-brow nor high-brow; they exist to lubricate social interaction, not dominate it. Regular events include DJ nights, live music nights (featuring members of Rogue Wave, Crown City Rockers, and more), and Layover Comedy Night, where comedians of various stripes test their mettle before accommodating, though nonetheless real crowds. You'd never know — or maybe you would — from the blank street sign out front, featuring only a glowing neon cocktail glass: This place is the real deal.
But for the regular singer-songwriter performances (scheduled Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 9:30, with an additional Sunday brunch session), the predominant musical backdrop at this South Berkeley/North Oakland cafe is a cool mix of J Dilla, Wu-Tang, and old-school R&B — along with the whir of an espresso machine and the sound of a well-to-do collegiate clientele pecking on their new Apples. Located a couple blocks from Ashby BART, Nomad provides the soy-latte crowd a place to discuss their recent trips to Guatemala or whatever was featured in the most recent issue of Harpers, and take advantage of the joint's free wi-fi. In addition to the espresso menu, Nomad serves sandwiches, vegan beer, and smoothies.
Sells pianos and holds concerts.
R&B, funk, and classic soul acts perform regularly at this glitzy downtown Oakland club, which features a spacious dance floor, large stage, lounge areas with couches, and a Cajun-style soul food restaurant. The decor is sparse, save for half a dozen thick striped columns painted in what handbag designer Jack Spade would call publicolor style. Weekly events include live R&B Fridays, Saturday's swanky "Club Maxwell's," and Sunday gospel brunch.
Same as it ever was, this Berkeley Irish bar has been around since the days when Ronald Reagan was California governor, and it hasn't changed much — although you can now order a cheeseburger as well as traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage. There are lots of beers on tap, but why not just have a Guinness or a Harp while you're here? It's certainly appropriate, and the regulars won't look at you like you're from Mars. Entertainment includes Irish Dance and Ceili Mondays at 9 p.m. (dance instructions start at 7 p.m.); Open-mic Tuesdays at 8 p.m.; Berzerkley Poetry Slam on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. with house band Three Blind Mice accompanying; live music Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Check the web site or call for calendar info. Full bar and twenty drafts, dance floor, and stage. The kitchen serves food until 10 p.m.
Thrashing, crashing, vocal-cord straining, pounding your ears and obliterating your will power: rock. You know you love it. And the Stork Club is where live rock makes its home. Tuesday through Sunday starting around 9:30 p.m., cover is usually just $5. Happy hour DJs spin rock and punk tunes, and special event/BBQ nights feature East Bay Rats motorcycle club, plus showcases of local egghead comedians. The honky-tonk-style bar is decked out with red and yellow tinsel, Christmas lights, rubber-seated booths, a pool table, a jukebox, an extensive Barbie collection, and a tawdry, winter-wonderland atmosphere.
House concert performance space run by an all-volunteer staff.
This Jack London Square anchor tenant lives up to its claim of world-class jazz; everyone from McCoy Tyner to John Scofield comes by at least once a year, and you can also occasionally catch rising stars and school bands in addition to big-name national acts. The acoustics are marvelous, the sushi is fresh and good, and the grilled calamari is also recommended. Tickets range from $5 for a Sunday afternoon children's matinee (with paid adult admission) to upwards of $100 for a special event. Two shows nightly.