Best Caribbean Nights: An energetic quest for island authenticity
Island Paradise Club
You could easily mistake Island Paradise Club for a tropical beach front bar that somehow lost its mooring ... and was magically teleported to Alameda. (Well, at least the "island" part still applies, right?) Yet, with its checkerboard dancefloor, Vegas-y fake palm trees, and electric-blue drink specials (which inevitably involve Midori, peach schnapps, and pineapple), the club is just beachy enough (and charmingly, if unintentionally, tacky enough) to live up to its name. Saturday's "Caribbean Night" usually features the Panama-raised DJ Electro, known for mixing old-school lovers' rock and high-wattage soca with recognizable hits by Bob Marley and the Pussycat Dolls. The club fills up around 10:30 p.m.; by midnight the dancefloor is a morass of sweaty bodies. (If you come early you can usually snag a booth and few Dixie cups full of pretzel sticks to whet your palate.) Generally the crowd at Island Paradise is a little older and a little less hip than the clientele you might encounter elsewhere, but once you get on the dancefloor, you'd never know it.