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.
This fun, friendly neighborhood tavern attracts regulars, young and old. The barstaff is attentive and informed, and pours from an extensive list of spirits that seems to grow daily. There's also a daily happy hour, great jukebox selections, and DJs spinning on the weekends, making Acme Bar a solid bet all around.
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.
This North Berkeley pub is popular, particularly among students, for its wide selection of board games like Scrabble and Connect Four, not to mention darts, pool, and the Sunday-night trivia quiz. Order a brew from the thirteen on tap or sample its serious selection of Scotch. Even man’s best friend is welcome. On alternating Wednesdays and Saturdays, this laid-back British-style bar hosts bluegrass, world music, or jazz bands.
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.
A no-frills Mexican bar where you can get a cheap beer or shot of mezcal before jumping on BART.
Four big-screen TVs, games, darts, pool table, jukebox, NFL Sundays, and Monday Night Football.
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.
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.
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.