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.
Among the discount hair supply stores and gas stations that line Oakland's always-interesting Telegraph Avenue sits an enormous blue neon sign that reads "Uptown". Since first opening its doors in 2005, The Uptown has become one of Oakland's premier venues to hear music that is just as eclectic as the town itself. The 30 foot long mahogany bar has over 12 beers on tap, as well as the garden variety of mixed drinks and wines. Though there may be a cover charge on show nights, it shouldn't discourage you from stopping by and enjoying one of Oakland's finest clubs.
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.
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.
For decades, this large coffeehouse on the corner of Ashby and College has been a veritable institution in Berkeley, like the University itself. A place for students to study over excellent espresso, and artists and writers to create while munching on a croissant. The floor is Tuscan tiled, the ceiling vaulted. Order at the coffee counter and seat yourself at a table, at the small circular bar, or at one of a handful of tables outside with the view of the College/Ashby foot traffic. Try the large, stuffed calzones filled with cheese, meat, veggies and fresh sauce.
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.
With its vibrantly illuminated interiors and an even more flamboyant crowd, the Port Bar is one of the hip and happening places to enjoy Oakland's nightlife. Blending modern and rustic industrial decor, the bar is brimming with convivial patrons and is known to be one of the best LGBT bars of the city. With happy hours and a variety of craft cocktails, you can sway to the DJ music or catch one of the cabaret events.
When you walk into Ruby Room you will immediately get it. Dimly lit with red lights (hence the name) with a smoke-filled back room (one of the few), Ruby Room is a hipster hangout. Large drinks for reasonable prices and pool tables make this downtown watering hole a popular spot with the twenty-something crowd. Ruby may not be for everyone, but those who like it keep coming back.