From Dusk Till Dawn ... 

The bars, bands, and clubs to keep you happy.

Page 8 of 9

Luka's Taproom & Lounge (2221 Broadway, Oakland, 510-451-4677, is the summa cum laude of East Bay clubs. For starters, it's spitting distance from the 19th Street BART station, which is also Grand Central Station for Yellow Cabs — so you can get your swerve on without getting a DUI. Then there's a long list of sexy amenities — a rotating art exhibit, a spacious dance floor, a vast selection of beer and a menu that includes killer burgers, fries, and oysters. ... Ruby Room (132 14th St., Oakland, 510-444-7224, is a faux dive across the street from Lake Merritt where DJs spin a wall-to-wall soundtrack of punk, glam rock, and kitschy hip-hop classics. Characterized by its low ceilings, thick nicotine vapors, and scarlet glow, it's one of the best places in Oakland to chat up sassy indie kids while drinking stiff, cheap drinks. ... The sea of pool tables at Thallasa (2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-848-1766) seems to stretch for miles. The clientele consists mostly of Berkeley students of the fraternal or sororal persuasion; it's a first-class place to pick up an undergrad. And it's got the best jukebox in the East Bay, stocked with the Buzzcocks, the Notwist, Le Tigre, Television, Outkast, Johnny Cash, and the Pixies, which some musical mystic rotates weekly. ... Kitty's (6702 Hollis St., Emeryville, 510-601-9300, draws a confluence of the neighborhood's upscale loft-dwellers, thirsty Pixar workers who've just punched out, and the loyal following of DJ Kitty herself. The Pabst on tap is the primary shout-out to the owner's dive-bar roots; most patrons sip upscale cocktails and nosh on tapas. With a rotating lineup of DJs, and a patio that's swarmed in warm weather, this is one place that proves Emeryville really does have a pulse. ... Club Oasis (135 12th St., Oakland, 510-763-0404) By day it's an African restaurant, but by night, Oasis morphs into Oakland's hottest internationally flavored dance spot. The DJs spin street bangers and slumper beats for those who just come to get their hyphy on, but more adventurous party-goers can also enjoy Afropop, rumba, and calypso styles imported from Congo, Cape Verde, and the Caribbean — everything from highlife to traditional Mandingo music. ... In true Oakland style, the crowd at swanky yet mellow Easy Lounge (3255 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, 510-338-4911, includes doe-eyed hipster chicks, suave urbanites, eccentric locals, and even suits fresh off of work. The tunes are just as varied, thanks to different DJ themes each night — from rockabilly to salsa, '80s to funk. The creative drinks are above par, too — stop in on Saturday afternoons for the delish (and obviously healthy!) Farmers' Market cocktails. ... Located below street level in Old Oakland, the Air Bar & Lounge (492 9th St., Oakland, 510-444-2377, exudes an upscale, VIP vibe for the urban hip. Three rooms offer plenty of room to spread out, and the cozy seating in window-like spaces invites snuggling. Whether you're seeking a post-work drink or a Friday night party, you'll get your groove on here. ... If you're in the mood for that classic dance club experience but don't want to trek to San Francisco (or share air with trustafarians and wannabe hip techies), Aura Nightclub (4825 Hopyard Rd # 10, Pleasanton, 925-416-0777, may be right up your alley. The club offers two distinct lounges-cum-dance floors, fireplaces, lots of mod furniture à la Design Within Reach, go-go dancers, and fabulous people watching (which includes trying to figure out which women are the hired dancers and which are merely guests). ... Deep scarlet walls, gilt mirrors, and faux-leather couches provide a backdrop for the dressy yet diverse crowd at Kingman's Lucky Lounge (3332 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510-465-5464), which features a full bar, ample mood lighting that seems to encourage pickup lines a plenty, and DJs spinning downtempo, house, funk, and drum 'n' bass. ... In addition to its savory selection of Jamaican cuisine, Karibbean City (1408 Webster St., Oakland, 510-251-0769, features such salutary beverages as Long Islands and imported ginger beer. But sweet sips and delectable dishes are only the tip of the iceberg. What has really made this reggae dance club successful is its diverse entertainment lineup, which represents the panoply of Caribbean music from salsa to dancehall roots to Afropop. ... La Taza de Cafe (3909 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510-658-2372, occupies that elusive middle ground between haute couture (ambient flamenco music, wrought-iron chandeliers, a forty-item wine list best employing adjectives like "creamy" and "peppery") and worldish, self-conscious hipness (leggy bossa-nova divas, Export A cigarettes, classic gangster movies played with the sound off). Flamenco performances most Friday nights make a fantastic accompaniment to delectable tapas. ... Club Montero's (1106 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-524-1270, located inside Montero's Cafe, dedicates its weekends to salsa, with intermediate lessons on Thursdays and classes for newbies on Friday and Saturdays, followed by dancing each night till the early mañana. The atmosphere is hip, with papier-mâché palm trees over the bar, Frida Kahlo paintings on the walls, and good acoustics. ... No East Bay club embraces the protean quality of the Latin jazz genre with quite the fervor of Club Anton (428 3rd St., Oakland, 510-463-0165, The Jack London venue remains perhaps the only Latin jazz club in the entire world that would feature Bay Area turf rapper G-Stack and DJ True Justice on a Thursday and follow up with Tony Mayfield or Pepe y Su Orquesta on a Saturday — a lineup patrons definitely seem to dig. ... You'll find a good cross section of the local GLBT scene at the White Horse Inn (6551 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-652-3820,, affectionately known as "the White Ho" by locals: sweater queens, queer students, local homies, granola dykes (yes, they still exist), gorgeously regal African-American queens, both male and female, and just about every other color and creed you can imagine. ... With "Kinky Karaoke" on Tuesdays, "Tasty" ladies night featuring hot dancers and other inspiring live performances every Thursday, and "La Bota Loca" — aka Latino Cowboys night with go-go boys galore — on Saturdays, the spacious Bench & Bar (2111 Franklin St., Oakland, 510-444-2266, aims to please, and succeeds with flying, ah, colors. ... The Vibe Lounge (2272 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-451-8423, may be the new kid on the LGBT block, but it occupies a space — the former Cabel's Reef — that for more than two decades catered to a similar, largely African-American crowd. Still, the Vibe is way swankier than its scruffy predecessor, with a mod first-floor cocktail lounge, a spacious dance floor upstairs, and the potential to become a venerated neighborhood institution. ... Velvet (3411 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland,510-531-332, may be a tad too hole-in-the-wall to qualify as a destination dance club, but dykes of all stripes will find it a welcome new addition to the local bar scene. Strong drinks, a small but highly contagious dance floor (just try to stay away), and a friendly vibe add up to a night that won't disappoint. ... For most people, country line dancing has gone the way of the Lambada and the Macarena. But don't tell that to the fine people at Walnut Creek's Club 1220 (1220 Pine St., 925-939-4550,, which hosts country line for queer folk every Tuesday night. Other fun weekly events — including an "L-Word" party and mixed crowd gatherings — draw a diverse (if not cowboy boot kickin') crowd.

Bars for Drinking


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