3255 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 510-338-4911 Easy510.com
The Lakeshore district apparently was in dire need of a classy joint, which explains why the Easy Lounge has become so popular since it opened last fall. The Easy transformed what used to be a grungy dive bar into an urban retreat with high ceilings, wire-cage cabinets showing off a fully stocked bar, funky lighting, and artsy decor that give it a vibe of being both neighborhoody and a destination spot. As the new scene to be seen in, customers floss appropriately. But in true Oakland style, the mix includes doe-eyed hipster chicks, suave urbanites, eccentric locals, and even suits just off from work. The Easy ensures a healthy mingling of folks of many stripes thanks to different DJ themes each night from rockabilly to salsa, '80s to funk. No matter what definition of Oakland you subscribe to, you're likely to find a friendly face here even if it's the hot door guy.