This Jack London Square anchor tenant lives up to its claim of world-class jazz; everyone from McCoy Tyner to John Scofield comes by at least once a year, and you can also occasionally catch rising stars and school bands in addition to big-name national acts. The acoustics are marvelous, the sushi is fresh and good, and the grilled calamari is also recommended. Tickets range from $5 for a Sunday afternoon children's matinee (with paid adult admission) to upwards of $100 for a special event. Two shows nightly.
The latest addition to Oakland's blossoming nightlife scene has set up shop in a turquoise-tiled Art Deco building at 14th and Webster streets. Disco Volante, set to open in late October, is a bar, music venue, and restaurant run by a trio of Oakland arts and entertainment vets, with chef Douglas Bernstein of Bacar, Eccolo, and Farallon fame serving up local and seasonal California cuisine. Musical offerings will range from bluegrass to Afrobeat, with shows at least three nights a week.
Enjoy tasty Mediterranean-style pizzas and a wide variety of house brews on tap in this Berkeley outpost’s beer garden, where live bands perform on a brick patio throughout the week. For no cover charge you get atmosphere -- heat lamps, foliage, lanterns, a huge brick fire pit -- and entertainment ranging from experimental laptop music to bluegrass and Americana. Inside, the restaurant is two stories, and there are tables large enough to accommodate groups.
Henry's is an old-school hotel bar that's been newly 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 now offers a full size and well-executed take on classic pub fare.
Furnished with a full bar, restaurant, dining area, pool table, and a lounge with a spacious dance floor and an elevated DJ booth, Luka’s is chic, but not intimidatingly so. The lounge features rotating art exhibits and an all-star DJ lineup every week. Admission is often free, but expect to pay a $5 or $10 on weekends. Enjoy specials like half-priced bottles of wine (Mondays) or dollar oysters (Tuesdays) and listen to a variety of music, from funk to punk and bhangra to be-bop. Luka’s draws a diverse crowd that’s ready to dance, so arrive early on Voodoo Wedesdays for free salsa and timba lessons.
But for the regular singer-songwriter performances (scheduled Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 9:30, with an additional Sunday brunch session), the predominant musical backdrop at this South Berkeley/North Oakland cafe is a cool mix of J Dilla, Wu-Tang, and old-school R&B — along with the whir of an espresso machine and the sound of a well-to-do collegiate clientele pecking on their new Apples. Located a couple blocks from Ashby BART, Nomad provides the soy-latte crowd a place to discuss their recent trips to Guatemala or whatever was featured in the most recent issue of Harpers, and take advantage of the joint's free wi-fi. In addition to the espresso menu, Nomad serves sandwiches, vegan beer, and smoothies.
Ahh... Au Coquelet, the welcoming Berkeley cafe where you can get a cup of coffee at the crack of dawn and come back after midnight for another cup with an Irish kick, indulge in a fresh fruit torte or any of the spot's homemade desserts. No matter what time of day you opt to sit for a spell in the brick-walled Berkeley institution, there tables are sure to be dotted with people typing at laptops, thumbing through books, or just shooting the breeze.
You can dance, drink, and most definitely eat at this German-American restaurant and tavern, where the Wiener Schnitzel comes veggie-optional and live music fills the room every weekend. If the weather's nice, sit out on the cedar patio and sip on Belgium ale and other tasty beer offerings in bottle or on tap.
The mantra is simple food done very well. Nearly everything, from the dressings to the desserts and the soups to the sauces, is made in-house. Café Aquarius serves locally roasted shade grown coffee as well as beer and wine. Come for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, or just for a cup of joe. If you fancy a cup of tea, the selection is top-notch.
Serves breakfast and lunch made from organic, locally grown ingredients, with menu items including house-cured cold cuts, daily roasted meats, and poached eggs.
Housed in a mellow, spic-and-span space, Cafe Yesterday is Berkeley's most comprehensive cereal bar, though its well-rounded menu also includes salads, sandwiches, house-baked pastries, and fair-trade coffee.
Step inside cozy Cafeina and discover a sweet community atmosphere with a kids’ menu, flowers gracing the concrete counter, and amiable customers to greet you at indoor and outdoor tables. The welcoming staff serves a large variety of organic and fair trade coffee, tea, and espresso drinks as well as bulk coffee and tea. Fresh seasonal menu with real food and plenty of veggie options. Must try: bursting blueberry muffin, all-organic chicken salad sandwich, and several homemade soups, including a vegan option.
Mum and da drink and play darts while the bairns mess about with toys provided by the management — just as they do at pubs in England. The owners are British and so is most of the menu, for better or worse, with faithful renderings of shepherd's pie, sausage dishes, and fish ’n chips; patrons whose Anglophilia ends at the placemat make merry with burgers, pastas, and salads. The staff's willingness to prepare child-size portions has given this place a reputation as the Chuck E. Cheese of the bar world. Ten taps spout American microbrews and English favorites.
This cocktail lounge/hipster hangout/sports bar serves a menu of ambitious global cuisine that changes countries every eight weeks. The cocktails are complex and carefully crafted; the setting is an attractive mix of brick, dark wood, objets d'art, and firelight; and the Old Oakland setting can't be beat.
Veggie-centric small plates, microbrews, and gorgeous lake views rule at this new beer garden and restaurant, located along the southeast side of Lake Merritt.