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.
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.
Founded in 1985 by two brothers, the Triple Rock Brewery is a laid-back taverna-style pub that serves craft beers from their own collection. The lime-up of brews includes several strong American ales such as the Monkey Head, Red Rock Ale and the Stonehenge Stout. Those who are uncertain about their preference can taste any of their tap beers first in a taster glass for a paltry sum. To nosh on, there are plenty of American bar snacks such as wings, burgers, sandwiches, fries and nachos.
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.
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.
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 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.
District is a ritzy spot in the heart of Oakland's old town, popular for its exhaustive selection of fine wines and whiskeys. The sparkling glass alcohol booths, comfy lounge-style sitting booths and dim lights radiate a hip ambiance. Its diverse bill of fare features small plates, crusty pizzas and home-style grilled dishes, along with its usual wines and craft ales. Stop in for a lavish brunch spread, even as you choose between an extensive display of wines by glass and bottle.