Another example of the emergent lounge-bar-hybrid breed. It's got the energy of a dive, but with an auspiciously non-sticky floor and a lovingly curated playlist. Its house-made tonic makes for a delicious gin and tonic.
The self-professed "spirits-driven meat sanctuary" in Oakland's Uptown district will surely satisfy your cocktail and cured-meat craving with an array of delicious offerings, from hearty meat and cheese platters to a ginger-y cocktail with house-made ginger syrup.
Oakland's emerging beer renaissance finds a firm foothold at Beer Revolution, located near Jack London Square. Inside, a bevy of beers on tap includes local selections, Belgian and German styles, and microbrews from across the country. Perhaps even more impressive are the large coolers lined up against the wall opposite the bar, stocked with four hundred of the world's finest and rarest brews. Take one to go or enjoy it on the sunny front patio for a $1 corkage fee.
The swanky Old Oakland restaurant and bar boasts seven high-definition TVs, pool tables, and even an illuminated "wet bar," in addition to a high-end VIP room with a full bar, Italian leather couches, and a "Vegas-style" restroom. Class. Full catering and bottle service available for private parties.
Located on the Oakland estuary, Brotzeit Lokal is a view restaurant without the usual trappings of a view restaurant. Modeled after Germany's biergartens, it features casual food (most notably sausages) and about sixteen different beers on tap, split between German beers and local American brews, with a couple of Belgians mixed in for good measure.
If you’re into quirky, this is the place for you. It’s a slim, high-ceilinged bar with a wide assortment of kitschy knickknacks and furniture. It’ll take you a while to take in all the objects d’art scattered around this hipster hangout, and that’s what you’ll do while sipping your drink and watching indie, jazz, blues, or funk bands. Cafe Van Kleef is known for its strong drinks made with fresh-squeezed juice, especially its greyhound. There’s live music most nights and always room to dance.
Ahna Adair co-owns the CommonWealth with her brother Pete Jeffryes and her husband Ross Adair, a Scot who learned to appreciate traditional cooking in his grandmother's kitchen. He prepares it here in the form of English-style breakfasts and pub grub with a California twist: Steel-cut oats, beans and toast, egg-and-chutney sandwiches, and the like augment an impressive selection of beers from the UK, the East Bay, and a few locales in between.
This bar is located adjacent to the historic Fox Theater, and the decor shares the same bold patterns and color. The Den isn’t just a watering hole for Fox patrons; it wants to be a destination in its own right. Graze on food from the limited-but-gourmet menu, and peruse the Den’s list of specialty cocktails. The lights are low, and the feel is sophisticated though there’s no dress code. Trivia on Tuesday nights is getting good reviews, and there’s a rotation of DJs spinning on Fridays and Saturday nights.
This ritzy Spanish restaurant from former Oliveto chef Paul Canales is nothing if not ambitious: a 4,000-square-foot multi-use space that includes a high-end coffee shop, a wine and olive-oil retailer, an art gallery, and a performance venue for experimental jazz.
The atmosphere at Era is upscale, the decor is decadent, and the popular bar attracts a diverse crowd. DJs spin everything from cumbia to reggae, hip-hop, and rock music. There’s a dress code, sometimes a cover charge, and on busy nights there may be a line to get in the door. There are two lounges, strong drinks, and exhibitions of original artwork.
Talk about old-school: The Fat Lady's building dates back to the 1870s, and the bar has been in the same family since it was bought, refurbished, and reopened in 1970. It's now outfitted with well-chosen knickknacks — Tiffany lamps, stained glass, a sign rescued from the Fox Theater during its revitalization — and as far as the clientele goes, it's filled with whatever the human equivalent of well-chosen knickknacks is. Try the Mafioso (American Honey Bourbon, St. George's Firelit Coffee Liqueur, and steamed milk, $9 — looks like a root beer float and tastes like an alcoholic espresso).
A more drinks-oriented, offshoot of next-door neighbor Flora, Fauna is, much like its forebear, well-appointed, art deco-inspired, and committed to using fresh ingredients in interesting ways — though in this case, in a slightly more casual, though no less attractive, setting.
Heinold's, which was founded in 1883, stands as the only place where you can drink at the same table once used by Jack London, president and Supreme Court justice William Howard Taft, and Robert Lewis Stevenson — in other words, it’s seriously old-school cool.
This place is primarily a restaurant, but its full bar, dirt-cheap cocktails, and position as a repository for all sorts of strangeness also make it a superlative place to drink.
Kim's is your classic dive bar — complete with several TVS, kitschy Raiders decor, and an outdoor smoker's patio — except for its namesake Korean-American owner, who's become something of a folk hero among regulars.