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.
Catch live music from Bay Area bands every Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 6 to 9 p.m. Expect to hear jazz, world grooves, blues, and roots music from local ensembles and never pay a cover. Cato’s is open for lunch and dinner and has free wireless. Test your wits at trivia every Monday, or come for karaoke every first and third Saturday. The beer selection is impressive. There are also wine options, but no liquor is served. The menu includes pizza and pub fare, and the kitchen is open until 10 or 11 depending on the day.
After an extensive, sixth-month transformation, this Lakeshore favorite is completely unrecognizable from what it once was, in a good way: It's now clean and bright, with a slate of highly creative cocktails and a relaxed, picnic-y vibe.
Named for W.C. Fields' character in the 1940 comedy The Bank Dick, the brick-walled bar on the corner of Piedmont Avenue serves up strong drinks such as margaritas and Long Islands. Twenty- and thirtysomethings tend to congregate inside, where a jukebox churns out old blue and jazz numbers, and patrons can order from a menu of Chinese and American food.
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.
After a change in ownership, the dive-y Piedmont Avenue underwent some renovations. The upstairs smoking room may be no more, but the bar retained its pool table, jukebox, and TVs. And patrons can still order from Raj India Cuisine next door and snack on chicken tikki masala while drinking at the bar.
This tiki-style bar on Piedmont Avenue is staffed and patronized by friendly, sophisticated folks who call the Kona their second living room. It's one of the three bars owned by Doug Miller (along with Thalassa in Berkeley and The Mallard in Albany) and offers a large menu of tiki drinks, along with a decently priced selection of single malt scotches.
The bar and restaurant's weekday happy hour runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with $5 cocktails and $3 beers. And the food, ah the food: pan-Mediterranean cuisine including succulent offerings like house-made gnocchi and wood oven-roasted chicken.
Occupying the space that formerly housed the Golden Bear and the Dapper Lounge between Oakland's Grand Lake and Adams Point neighborhoods, Room 389 is a completely revamped bar and lounge -- restrooms included. Decorated in dark hues with plenty of wood tones and bold colors, the dog-friendly space features a spiffy bar, space for a DJ (spinning exclusively vinyl), two flat-screen TVs, and a crafty wall covered in pages torn from books. There's also a grill out front and a back area featuring more seating and tables.
With four TV sets, Smitty's is an ideal sports-watching locale. You'll also find pool, cheap beer, and shuffle board in this dive.
This California bistro joint, housed in a grand-looking 1920s-era building, features more than one hundred vodkas, plus specialty cocktails.
The Lake Merritt wine bar, a neighboring component to Sorella di Zza’s Italian restuarant, features more than 40 wines available by the taste, glass, or flight. It also accomodates private parties of up to 25 people.