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.
Located below street level in the Old Oakland district, the AIR Lounge exudes that upscale, VIP vibe for the urban hip. Three rooms offer plenty of space to spread out, and the cozy seating within the blue walls invites snuggling. DJs spin downtempo, soul, and world beat every Wednesday through Saturday nights. Open-mic poetry precedes music on Wednesdays.
Located inside the Mediterranean restaurant Angela’s Bistro and Bar, Alameda Vintner’s Club features an extensive wine list, including various local wines. Located next to the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, it’s a convenient place for a pre- or post-movie drink and snack.
Albany Taproom, Albany’s first beer bar, offers 32 draft beers in addition to a selection of ciders and wine. The bar menu is crafted to complement every type of brew. On Tuesdays, various local artists and musicians perform.
Rod Dibble plays piano nightly at this Lake Merritt bar, often with vocal accompaniment from local amateur cabaret crooners. Designed like an old saloon with relatively private diner-style booths (where you can order a burger, steak, or fries to go with your drinks), the Alley is characterized by its vintage clotheslines, pink and baby-blue restroom stalls (much cleaner than those at your average East Bay haunt), and the thousands of marquees and business cards stapled to its walls. In contrast to the swankier Kingmans Lucky Lounge across the street, the Alley stays true to its namesake, and the cluttered decor makes it seem homey.
This Chinatown breakfast and lunch counter serves “organic bicycle-pedaled roasted coffee” and Sri Lankan homemade Chai tea. There’s also an array of tropical smoothies, and a lunch menu full of Caribbean and Sri Lankan flavors that rotates daily and often sells out. (You can order a day in advance.) The muffins and breads all come from Semifreddi’s bakery. Prices are very reasonable, seating is limited, and catering options are available.
At Asha Tea House, the bubble teas are brewed with loose leaves, the boba is cooked fresh at least twice a day, and each drink is mixed and shaken by hand, not by a machine. Factor in the sleek, modern decor and the well-curated selection of snacks, and you've got yourself a boba shop that's a cut above the rest.
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.
Owned by an elderly couple who still tend bar, this is damn near the definition of a neighborhood dive: drinks are dirt-cheap, the clientele is composed of an eclectic groups of regulars, and the entertainment includes a pool table, TVs, and a legendarily cheap jukebox — or you could just pass the time people-watching.
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.
Located in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, Barclay's is popular for its extensive food menu and thirty beers on tap. Its outdoor patio is pet-friendly and often crowded on warm evenings. Inside, darts and TVs keep drinkers occupied.
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.
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).
With eight full bars, a billiards room, smoking lounge, and multiple dance floors, it's easy to believe Bench and Bar's claim to the title of the Bay Area's biggest gay and lesbian dance club. The Friday night Latin Explosion party moved with the name to this Uptown location, (though other Bench and Bar favorites remain at what is now Club 21 a few blocks away), and Saturdays is Club Rimshot, a hip-hop and R&B LGBT party. Other nights are a mix of dance, house, and Latin music. Free wi-fi and a daily happy hour cater to the after-work crowd.