Most bar food is either almost nonexistent (pretzels, peanuts, Cheez-Its) or woefully predictable (anemic quesadillas, soggy nachos, limp cheeseburgers, etc.). In the food-conscious East Bay, a number of drinking establishments do, however, rise to the occasion: Jupiter's gourmet pizzas, Cato's catatoes, Beckett's bangers & mash, and Pacific Coast Brewery's Dungeness crab salads all come to mind. But one place is a cut above when it comes to pub grub: Luka's Taproom. Since opening in 2004, Luka's has left behind the noirish image of its predecessor the Hof-Brau with a high-quality menu that complements its fine selection of Belgian ales and top-shelf cocktails. Sure, other places do burgers, but Luka's bleu cheese version is the stuff dreams are made of (especially paired with a nice abbey ale, like a Maredsous); at $11, it's actually not overpriced. And there are other choices: the breadcrumb-infused mac and cheese elevates the American staple; the oysters and mussels are tangy and fresh; and perfectly crisped fries make it hard to go back to stale popcorn. During the dinner rush, tables fill up quickly, but after 10 p.m., you can still order from a truncated version of the menu and happily munch away at the bar while listening to house, reggae, or hip-hop DJs and getting your conversation (and possibly your flirt) on. One shouldn't have to suffer from lowbrow eating choices just because one wants a meal with one's beverage; thankfully, Luka's has raised the bar for bar food.