Best Rock Club
The East Bay has plenty of punk-oriented venues, from the legendary 924 Gilman to the dive-y Stork Club (not to mention the underground warehouse scene), but other types of rock lacked a dedicated, consistent venue. When the Uptown Nightclub replaced the Black Box in Oakland's rapidly improving Uptown district, it seemed like the answer to the prayers of long-suffering local rockers and their fans. Yet management conflicts, an out-of-touch booking agent, and a garish painting of the Rolling Stones prevented the club from getting its shit together, or having much of an image beyond being a place where Eddie Money played opening night. That's all ancient history now. Now under new ownership, the club has started booking better bands, striking a nice balance between out-of-towners (like Black Francis) and local mainstays (like Lavay Smith). While maintaining an overall indie rock-oriented identity, featured acts cover a wide spectrum from emo-prog to lesbian thrash to psychobilly to Afro-boho jazz-funk to classic punk to indie folk and altronica — basically everything but the kitchen sink. In short, the Uptown has become a destination.