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.
Soul food is a tradition for the Dorsey family, and their bar and restaurant serves it up seven days a week. The lounge has table service and plenty of seating at the bar. Dorsey’s hosts a spoken-word and comedy open mic on Tuesdays, karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays, DJs on Fridays, and live music on Sunday evenings.
The kitchen stays open late at this East Bay blues institution. The punk rock dive is known for cheap eats. The spacious back patio has plenty of picnic tables that you’re encouraged to draw on, and there’s indoor bike parking, two pinball machines, and a pool table. The bar recently secured its cabaret license and now has live shows a few times a week. Eli’s is located in a squat, garish red building beneath a freeway overpass on MLK in North Oakland -- close to the MacArthur BART station. Come for good drinks, stay for good times.
The neon sign outside says “Geo Kaye’s,” leading to arguments over the name being Geo vs. George, but these facts are certain: It’s a small, friendly dive bar with PBR on tap that caters to an eclectic mix of regulars and hipsters. The beer choices are limited, but there’s a broad selection of liquor. One wall often functions as an art gallery, and there’s a small TV mounted in one corner. The old jukebox was replaced with one of the hulking digital variety kinds, but despite that, the music is still good. This place is dog-friendly, and there’s usually one or two lying around. Everyone ends up chatting toward the end of the night when the booze has set in and the place seems even more intimate.
A classic, lovable dive dating back to 1922, complete with cheap drinks, a convivial atmosphere, and head-bumpingly low ceilings — plus shuffleboard, free popcorn, and one of the best jukeboxes in the East Bay.