At Actual Cafe, it's all about sitting down and enjoying the coffeehouse experience. Get a cup of joe (or tea) served in a real china cup, plop down, and just hang for a while. Actual Cafe boasts comfy furniture and communal seating to encourage actual interaction with actual human life-forms. It's "not just another wi-fi shack." Indoor bike parking and a full menu are also available. Weekends are laptop-free.
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.
For great coffee a short walk from the MacArthur BART station, Cafe Dejena fits the bill. Prices are reasonable, there’s free wireless, and the decor is bright and welcoming. The menu is a mix of Eritrean, Italian, and standard American food.
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.
A family-oriented coffee shop that serves up plenty of food in addition to beverages, and even has a little children's nook set aside to entertain youngsters.
You can get a tattoo, look at art, listen to metal bands, and enjoy New Orleans-style Cajun and Creole food at this punk-rock dive. The spacious back patio has plenty of picnic tables, and there's also indoor bike parking, two pinball machines, and a pool table. Eli’s is located in a squat, garish red building near 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 versus George, but these facts are certain: It’s a small, friendly dive bar 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.
Celebrated for fresh and gourmet-style lunch fare, this small cafe ironically shares space with a convenience store. Although it may be somewhat disorienting to order a goat-cheese-and-arugula sandwich on Artisan bread while wire racks of candy and jerky loom in the near-distance, any cognitive dissonance vanishes with the first bite. Crunch into organic pesto, thick cucumbers, locally grown arugula, and know happiness. Like the superb and reasonably priced sandwiches, inspired smoothies feature healthy ingredients gathered from local farmers’ markets. No foodie should complain. Quality pastries served, organic and Fair-Trade coffee. Cash only.
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.
High ceilings and a Mediterranean menu define this Rockridge cafe. Spasso's offers freshly baked goods and lunch fare, as well as ample outlets and free wi-fi.
Tribu Cafe has a large space devoted to offering pastries, homemade food, coffee, and teas. There is an outdoor patio for customers to enjoy their beverages or food along with free wi-fi. If customers don't wish to sit at the food and espresso bar, there are couches for them to relax upon.
Fondly known as the "White Ho," the White Horse Inn is one of the oldest gay bars in the country. Built in 1933, the white building at the corner of 66th and Telegraph with a flag of a horse draped out front and cigarette butts like confetti on the sidewalk doesn't appear to echo much of its rich past. But inside, the bar is a lively place and welcoming to all walks of life, with a big-screen TV playing continuous karaoke and a single pool table to fight over underneath. Three nights of the week, DJs spin a variety of dance, Top 40, and hip-hop; in addition, there's lively karaoke every Monday and Tuesday nights, drag shows on Wednesdays, and breast cancer charity bingo games Thursday afternoons. No cover charge on Thursdays, otherwise it ranges from $5-$10.