Best Literary Landmark for a Lush: Last Call of the Wild
Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon
This bar gained its unusual name during the 1920s when Alameda was a "dry" city -- for commuters who took the ferry between Oakland and the island, it was both their first and last chance to imbibe. Now it's more famous for who did the imbibing. A national literary landmark since 1998, the dark, cozy, and slope-floored Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon on the Oakland Estuary is famous as the spot where young Jack London came to hear tales of seafaring adventures from the mariners who would stop at the bar. He scribbled his notes for The Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf here, and was known to have worked the bar itself, as well as the personalities of some of its more striking regulars, into his novels. Owner Johnny Heinold even loaned him tuition money to study writing at the University of California, although London dropped out his first year. Other literary luminaries known to have frequented the saloon include Ambrose Bierce and Robert Louis Stevenson.