This historic bar is full of stories, character, and charm. Once a place Jack London himself would frequent to drink and write, the story is that the famous author borrowed his college entrance fee from the bar's proprietor. The small bar still features a slanted wooden floor and charred walls leftover from the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which took its toll elsewhere in the Bay Area, too. Its name derives from the old days when it was the only bar at the port of Oakland. Each day as laborers would take the ferry to San Francisco and back again, this was the first and last chance for the working man to grab a drink. The bar serves only beverages and distributes literature on its history.
This unique drinking establishment boasts itself to be a "beer tasting room". Beer Revolution always features somewhere around 20 different artisan brews on tap, as well as an impressive collection of bottled beer, which visitors are welcome to drink in the store or buy to bring home. Beer Rev, as it's known among locals, is also a very popular place on nice days due to its large outdoor patio. Pull up a stool to the beer-barrel tables, pop open a cold one, and enjoy the Revolution.
Cafe Van Kleef is located right in the heart of Oakland's Uptown neighborhood. The theme of Van Kleef is unconventional and all about the quirky artwork everywhere. The specialty at Van Kleef's is their Greyhound - a drink of vodka with grapefruit juice, which you can watch them squeezing fresh at almost any given point during the night. On most nights in the week, the bar plays live jazz music. Certain nights come with a cover charge so be sure to check details before you head here.
Yoshi's is not just a place where you can catch mind-blowing jazz, but also a sushi bar with an excellent food. Eager music lovers pack the restaurant and the Jazz House on performance nights. It showcases the best talent and boasts of high tech acoustics in the Bay area. A full cocktail menu is available with items like sushi, appetizers, salads and desserts. The attire is causal and the atmosphere jazzed up. It has a top-notch restaurant that serves Japanese food, and is open for lunch and dinner.
In an area known for wineries and wine bars, Solano Cellars is a mecca for Bay Area oenophiles who sit at the imposing wood bar and sample a dazzling array of wines from around the world. A staff of refreshingly unpretentious wine experts can guide you through the selection and help you find just the vintage you were looking for. The shop attached is tiny, but what they do not have on display can be fetched from the seemingly bottomless wine cellar. To enhance the wine, an ever-changing appetizer and dessert menu, designed with wine in mind, is offered. There is a strict prohibition on cell phones.
This favorite is full of congenial spirits (both the drinks and the regulars), fish and chips and some of the best in local and Irish bands. Enjoy over two dozen beers on tap, including an impressive selection of local brews and ales, as well as the usual suspects (Guinness, Rolling Rock). There is a small dance floor that fills up during live performances, but also features locals who jump on in for folk dancing. Traditional Irish dance lessons are held on Mondays, and Happy Hour lasts from opening to 7p.
Radio is another one of Downtown Oakland's small, dark bars. Despite its size, Radio always manages to pack in the people several nights a week, drawn here by the giant cage for dancing and stiff, reasonably priced drinks and fun bartender. While it may be difficult to sit down, most people come to boogie down instead to the live DJ's and different music theme nights.
The Layover is a bar, lounge and gallery all in one. The decor is very bohemian and ethnic, with dark wood, beautiful pillows and cushions, and of course being an art gallery, interesting art covering the walls. The bar features an interesting collection of gourmet cocktails as well as a good selection of beer. Often The Layover boasts live bands or DJs to keep things moving on the dance floor.
New Karibbean City is a popular nightclub that is a favorite of the local community. The bar on-site features a plethora of events including DJ sessions, theme parties and live musicals. Concerts taking place at the bar include performances by popular Caribbean artists/bands and DJs from all over the country and beyond. If you wish to transpose yourself to the Caribbean plane, then a visit to the New Karibbean City is highly recommended.
Dogwood is located in Oakland's Uptown district. This cozy bar is decorated with sophistication, featuring dark polished wood, leather upholstered bar-stools and a couple of exposed brick walls, but still maintains a warm and comfortable atmosphere. As far as the offerings go, Dogwood has created a delicious and unique cocktail menu, and also specializes in charcuterie along with cheese plates and small bites like their popular grilled cheese sandwich.