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).
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.
This bar draws a lively and standing-room-only crowd of grad students, hipsters, and blue-collar locals with its cheap drinks, jukebox, Sriracha-spiked free popcorn, student discounts, no-frills vibe, unusually friendly bartenders, and unpretentious attitude. On the weekends, it can be especially crowded. This cash-only dive bar also has a little-known lower level that’s affectionately called “the undergraduate.”
This is a great place to watch the game, whether that means standard bar fare like football and baseball or European favorites like soccer (aka football) or rugby. McNally’s attracts young and old, and the appeal goes beyond whatever is on the four TVs. Friendly bartenders serve reasonably priced drinks, there’s a digital jukebox that isn’t too loud to drown out conversation, plus bumper pool, a stone fireplace, and a nice smoking area.
Located in Oakland’s Rockridge district, Trappist Provisions is a small and intimate taproom that specializes in small craft European and domestic beers. It offers 9 specialty beers on tap at a given time and more than 160 selections for sale. Can’t decide? The attentive bartenders will provide samples of each tap.
This Rockridge bar — designed as though a frat house has been airlifted and dropped into a ski lodge, with a roaring fire, a pool table, and ping pong tables — is a great place: friendly but not decorous; well-loved but not dirty; lively but not claustrophobic, and, mercifully, quiet enough to have a conversation.