where my Oakland bars at?

I am meeting an old industry buddy for drinks in Oakland (uptownish), and we find most of our favorite haunts didn’t make it. Most are replaced by what looks like glitzy places with long menus of cocktails.

We like a slower place where you can linger and talk, that will make a cocktail maybe even well but we are ok with a whiskey sour or similar simple drink.

we are going to meet at van kleefs because it did make it, but other places we liked were the apothicary on grand. i liked plum on the early side when no one else was there. There was a place in the building where duende is now, on the telegraph side, they we liked. we never really liked make westing, although never walked in, either. although it was beer only, octopus was nice. although i love starline social, it is too loud and high energy for this kind of thing. Mua, probably the same.

The good news is bars are still very much a thing, and i see shiro, viridian, hello stranger, drexl, many others.

i guess we have to find new haunts… given that we are looking for a vibe as much as good drinks.

Where might you send us to catch up?

1 Like

I guess you want cocktails and not beer, yes? If beer is OK, then there’s Drake’s Dealership. Full food menu in addition to beer.

OK, well first all of van kleefs is decent, known for its greyhounds (it’s also a block away from hotboys fried chicken)

Heard Night Heron is cool havent been yet, not open every day…

[NIGHT HERON - Home (nightheronoakland.com)](https://www.nightheronoakland.com/

There’s Beeryland

Home - Telegraph Beer Garden in Oakland (telegraphoakland.com)

Radio Bar is close-ish - downtown…divey/pinball and turns into dj stuff later on

Radio - Home | Facebook

have fun

1 Like

isnt dealership more of a louder beerhall? We are looking for somewhere quiet.

night heron seems like our kind of place, and will consider radio, thanks!

I know van kleefs well, met Peter at an art show back in… 06 or something… played on their stage… i stopped in for a quick greyhound a few months ago and it is mostly the same as ever, not sure where the mysterious stream of young aussie / nz help comes from but they are still there … floor seemed a little stickier than i remember… best call is to upgrade the vodka in your greyhound for an extra buck or two, the well stuff is… unfortunate… it is a bunch of years since peter passed and nice to see it hasn’t changed a bit…

1 Like

Have fun - yeah that Night Heron looks artsy as hell right up your alley! If it’s cool lemme know!

Of your list I’ve only been to Cafe Van Cleef and Hello Stranger. Hello Stranger may not be quiet enough as I think they have a live DJ often. Don’t remember what I had to drink there, it’s been awhile.

If non cocktail bars are a possibility, there’s also the Punchdown which has a large selection of natural wines and also has tinned seafood and other food items.

Drake’s has a large outdoor patio that isn’t as loud as the indoor space.

1 Like

Also, Drake’s has a couple of different rooms, so if it isn’t super crowded, can likely find a quiet corner.

we started at night heron, and it was ok. very quiet to begin. space is a little weird and industrial, kinda long, not friendly. but the bartender had time for us, and mixed up a couple of riffs for us which were excellent. we wanted to try somewhere else, and he sent us down to shiro, on the other side of van kleef, which was a trip. not as friendly, but the listening room vibe worked for me.

we then repaired to hotboys and sobered up a bit on a hot chicken sando. it was just closing time but the seats are outdoors so they made us food after the last call and we say out while they cleaned.

the nabe is changing, but we certainly had a nice evening.


@bbulkow - thanks for the intel on Night Heron. I’m eager to check it out cuz I like to go to that area anyways for the hot chicken at Hotboys, and I like cocktails. Sounds like a good move to go there if there’s something going on at the Fox Theatre. Grace Jones tomorrow. Some other decent stuff there in October. Be well.

Shiro was arguably better, if you like music.

Looks like a cool spot. I love records.

Bar Shiru

We really liked Low Bar - great cocktails, very chill vibe, and a little outdoor sidewalk space that we more or less had to ourselves just before closing. Kind of a mix of cocktail nerd + dive bar, which is absolutely the sweet spot for me – we had excellent original cocktails, a very good Martinez, and picklebacks, if that gives the idea. We’d started at Calavera around the corner for dinner which was tasty, and their agave spirits list is spectacular; the cocktails were mildly foofy for my tastes, but pals enjoyed theirs.


The Oakland bar I find myself at most is the Graduate in Rockridge.

It’s somewhat because it’s closer to my NoCal hub in Berkeley but I like the lower price drinkers vibe there and the friendly bartenders and atmosphere.

Another stalwart nearby down the street:

1 Like

i stopped in there once or twice when i lived in the east bay. i always liked the vibe there.

Mrs Robinson put a smile on your face?