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.
With a tagline like “Good Spirits for Bad People,” you wonder why readers voted Heart & Dagger Saloon “Best Former Dive Bar.” Basically, it has a rock ’n’ roll vibe without the rock-star ego: friendly bartenders, cheap drinks, and a good jukebox. The shaded patio has plenty of seating, which makes it great for groups. There’s free wi-fi, a pool table, pinball machines, and more. Your dog is welcome, but your plastic is not: cash only.
Henry's is an old-school hotel bar that's been remodeled and reinvented. While you can still sit at the bar and enjoy a reasonably stiff drink, you might be better off sitting down for a full meal, as Henry's offers a full-size and well-executed take on classic pub fare.
Stepping inside this cozy venue might conjure up sweet memories of sunny days spent in your grandma's kitchen. Beyond beer and wine, the cafe offers up a simple but sweet home-style menu of soups, sandwiches, and baked goods like lemon pound cake. Live bands, from jazz to bluegrass acts, hit the stage weekly. The Station also caters private events in its lounge area or in the entire cafe.
Vintage decor gives this bar and grill a classic feel, but the menu — ambitious, inventive cocktails and well-made snacks like sliders and sausages — is contemporary Emeryville all the way.
The Hotsy Totsy used to be one of Albany's notorious dives, but the bar, which is now more than seventy years old, underwent a thorough renovation in 2009. Make no mistake, the Hotsy Totsy will always have some of that old-school dive-bar spirit in its soul, but its new incarnation offers sleek furniture, inventive drinks, and a slightly more upscale vibe alongside its signature shuffleboard tables and neon sign. As an added bonus, a delicious and dirt-cheap taco truck parks outside Thursday through Sunday nights from 9:30 p.m. until closing time.
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.