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.
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.
Rustic and romantic, Freehouse is a haunt for the beer lover in you. The interior of this beer garden is made to look like a cozy living room; it is furnished with intimate seating spaces and the fireplace keeps patrons warm on colder evenings. Yellow lights and timber-clad walls give this place an old-school look. The outdoor seating in the spacious courtyard lets larger groups dine under the bright California sun. At Freehouse, the menu is ever changing but classics like Beer Poached Mussels, the house salad and Chicken Pot Pie never go out of style. Limited but potent cocktails are on offer along with beers sourced from eminent breweries.
This place has been serving up traditional pub fare, a few gourmet treats and lots of smiles in this congenial "publick" house atmosphere since 1981. If you are looking for a quick meal, want to catch a game on the television in the corner, or are just looking for a spirited good time, it is here. Sit at one of the tall tables or at the huge wood bar. The high ceilings and tall windows keep this place from falling into the dark, smoky sports bar category. Find dozens of beers on tap and a full bar. The menu features old standards like nachos and cheesy potato skins as well as the huge Henry's Burger.
Pappys Bar & Grill, located at the Telegraph Avenue, is a great place for larger groups and even families to spend an evening together. The place is equipped with a large projector screen and several small televisions, hence watching a game at Pappys Bar & Grill is always fun. A good game is well complemented with their scrumptious bar snacks, which are very easy on your pocket. They serve a variety of drinks and have over ten beers on tap. They also house a dance floor at the basement.
With an ambiance that hovers between the classiness of an upscale bar and the comfort of a cozy dive, the Golden Bull, in its new avatar, is a fine place to enjoy a drink and some great music. The elongated space is dominated by a bar bedecked in dark wood, and backed by a wall of glistening bottles. A pool table and jukebox offer entertainment, while the bar tenders will delight you with their charm and wit. Live band performances, drink specials and friendly faces are some of the other treats to be had here. While you are likely to want to stay on your feet and groove along to the jukebox's tunes, limited seating is available along the wall and at the bar.
Awaken Cafe dons multiple hats as a performing arts venue, coffeehouse, beer and wine bar, gourmet snack joint and art gallery. There is always something going on here, whether it is a music and dance show or a fun karaoke session. Grab a fruit juice and listen to symphony orchestra, enjoy gourmet coffee with banana bread, marvel at contemporary art, watch live sports on television, listen to indie and pop beats at the concerts or participate in poetry slam. Mood lighting, WiFi access and happy hours only serve to accentuate the overall experience. Gastronomes will delight in the award-winning ice creams and espressos, organic food selection and Californian craft beer.
The Hatch is the place to hang out, have a drink and enjoy a good show. The menu includes a wide variety of cocktails and local beers on tap that go well along with fries and hot dogs. Though their main highlights are bacon hot dog and the wholesome burgers. There are many live events happening here including stand up comedy. All this and much more is offered at a reasonable price, making it a huge hit among locals.
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.