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During the day, the softly upholstered furniture, richly colored linens, modern-exotic lighting, and casual seating coax patrons to relax, share, and open up — even with strangers. But on weekend nights, this bar turns into a crowded, sweaty dance club, with plenty of bumping and grinding. The drinks are neither low-brow nor high-brow; they exist to lubricate social interaction, not dominate it. On Tuesdays, comedians of various stripes test their mettle before accommodating, though nonetheless real crowds. You'd never know — or maybe you would — from the blank street sign out front, featuring only a glowing neon cocktail glass: This place is the real deal.

Opened by former Foreign Legion emcee Prozack Turner and his wife, RaeAnne, The Legionnaire Saloon provides another live music and DJ venue in Oakland’s Uptown district. Its decor, too, is in line with Oakland’s new era of bars: dark-wood paneling, wooden booths, bar stools with plush vinyl seats in hunter green and red, and retro touches: antique mirrors, vintage maps, black-and-white photographs, a jukebox loaded with 45s, and three pinball machines.

La Peña Cultural Center, with its trademark colorful mural out front, is a microcosm of Berkeley’s cultural, social, and political utopia. Founded in 1975 in response to the military coup that overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende, La Peña continues to live up to its revolutionary roots, hosting a variety of hip-hop, world, and jazz music; spoken word; dance classes; art exhibits; films; and lectures, focusing on social justice and human rights about four nights a week. Its 175-capacity theater features a sizable stage, wooden dance floor, and a riser with tables and chairs, suitable for getting sweaty to some Latin American rhythms or sitting back and enjoying the show. If all that consciousness has you feeling a bit woozy, try one of the empanadas at La Peña’s Cafe Valparaiso.

A gallery and boutique that features works by emerging and established East Bay artists.

Founded in 1984 as a center for experimental, interdisciplinary arts, The Lab has grown to become one of the premiere locations for eclectic and avant-garde art in the Bay Area.

Lacis, both a retail store and a textile arts museum, is a fascinating place to visit even if you’re not a needlework or sewing aficionado.

Located in a converted 1920s building, the theater screens contemporary flicks while retaining an old-school charm.

Featuring the largest screen in Berkeley with 70mm capability, "The Cal" plays a mix of Hollywood favorites and edgy independent fare. Originally a live stage theatre built in 1913, the Cal is known for its Fleur de Lys motif.

The oldest operating movie theatre in the city of Oakland, the Piedmont Theatre opened its doors in 1917. From its earliest days showing silent films through the studio era to today's eclectic mix of independent, art-house and Hollywood fare, the Piedmont has long been a mainstay of the community.

The theater plays first-run movies on ten screens, with auditoriums decorated in faux-Egyptian, ersatz-Arabian, and late-period Plex Moderne.

The studio of award-winning fine art photographer Laura Sutta.

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