This cafe is a diverse gathering place. There’s lots of conversation, and, because the wireless is unreliable, it isn’t a haven for laptop users. Besides consistently good coffee, Alem’s' menu includes healthy breakfast and lunch offerings like Shiyan Phool, a dish made with fava beans, onion, and feta cheese that’s served with a slice of bread. It’s in a colorful little building across the street from the DMV. Cash only.
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.
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).
This coffee shop on College Avenue caters to coffee geeks. It serves local roasts by Ritual, Barefoot, Flying Goat, Verve, and De La Paz, and offers pastries as well as other snacks. It’s spitting distance from the Rockridge BART station, and has a screen that tracks the next trains. There’s free wi-fi, and some seating inside and out.
This chocolate lovers' paradise proffers drinks, pastries, and bars such as chocolate dulce de leche pudding and chocolate Thai iced tea.
Patrons line up outside the door of Cole Coffee for two reasons: 1) The coffee 2) The social scene. First, the coffee: Pure Arabica, fair trade and organic, roasted fresh every 24 hours, dripped individually into each cup. In the adjoining coffee store, choose from the largest selection of fresh beans in the East Bay. A range of specialty teas will satisfy tea lovers, as well. 2) Sometimes there’s a lack of elbow space inside the cafe and this actually serves to inspire conversation with more extroverted cafe-goers. There’s also a feeling of fellowship among those who have been lucky enough to secure a sidewalk table. Enjoy the scene and savor your coffee with locally made baked goods, fresh sandwiches, or poached eggs. Coffee mecca and social hub, Cole Coffee well earns these appellations. No wi-fi.
Located above Pizza Rustica Cafe in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, the Conga Lounge is a laid-back, tiki-themed bar and lounge. Choose from forty cocktails and order food from Pizza Rustica. On Fridays and Saturdays the Conga Lounge turns into a popular late-night spot for enjoying mai tais, piña coladas, and mojitos while DJs spin a variety of music including soca, salsa, reggae, and R&B. Admission is free, and the bar is close to BART and accessible by the 51 bus line.
This sports bar offers NHL, NBA, NFL and college football TV packages on big hi-def TVs for its revelers. There are pool tables, a fireside lounge, a jukebox, and arcade games.
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.”
Across the street from the Rockridge BART station and situated inside Market Hall, Highwire Coffee Roasters (formerly Peaberry's) serves as a regular morning destination for commuters as well as a hangout spot for those with the time to contemplatively sit and sip their caffeine. Don't fret the long lines, the baristas are friendly and quick. In addition to coffee, the shop serves up pastries, fancy chocolates, gelato, and affogato, an Italian dessert of espresso and vanilla gelato.
Large windows and yellow paint on the interior walls make this small neighborhood coffee shop a sunny space to sit and sip coffee.
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.
The College Avenue restaurant and wine bar, opened in 2011 by two local moms, serves meals made with local produce and sustainably farmed and caught fish and meats, and small plates for pairing with carefully selected, small-production wines. TOAST is also available for private events.
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.