Looking for a weekend getaway on the “left coast”? I suggest Oakland. That’s right — the place that often gets a bad rap for being thug central because of the Raider Nation. The truth is that Oakland is a pretty cool place to visit if you like Craft Beer, Farm-to-Table Restaurants and an Urban Adventure. If you live on the West Coast, you can take Amtrak right into Jack London Square. Otherwise fly into SFO or OAK and take BART (BayAreaRapidTransit) to the downtown Oakland City Center stop. This post will highlight just a few places in Oakland that I frequent but there are several other great spots really close by. The people here are friendly and fun.
I like to stay at the Waterfront Hotel at Jack London Square. The Waterfront is part of the Joie de Vivre boutique, hotel chain which offers a different experience than the standard chain hotel and at affordable rates.
The Waterfront is a quirky little hotel right on the channel between Oakland and Alameda. Some of the rooms have great views and there is a small, heated swimming pool and patio where you can chill out and soak up the sun on a nice day. Miss Pearl’s Jam House is the on site restaurant that has a good selection of beer and a Slow Food approach to food. Friend and Bison Brewing owner, Daniel DelGrande clued me into this place after my repeated gripes about the natty Courtyard Marriott in downtown Oakland. Unlike the Courtyard, the Waterfront is clean, friendly and best of all; is just two blocks from Beer Revolution, my favorite place to enjoy beer in Oakland!
Beer Revolution is my kinda place. Fraggle & Rebecca, the owners, are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They have 47 rotating taps and they take pride in the fact that keep the lines meticulously clean. Beer Rev has access to a lot of new releases and limited edition craft beers. I savored a glass of Drake’s Brewing special barrel-aged “Passionate Monkey” during a Tap Takeover event last year. Last week, High Water Brewing (one of the newest breweries in the Bay Area) “Aphotic Barrel Aged Baltic Porter” went on tap for the very first time and WOW was that a treat. You get the picture…There are hundreds of bottles to choose from in the Beer Rev coolers as well. It is not difficult to find something super special here and I always make it a point to ask the bartenders what the rare options are. They do not serve food (yet) at Beer Rev but they do allow food from neighboring spots to be enjoyed on premise. The Vegetarian spot on the corner is really good. An expansion project is planned for Beer Rev later this year and it appears food will be part of it!
464 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 452-BEER (2337)
High Water Brewing
I fell in love the very first time I had dinner with friend Dan from Bison and Rock Star Chick Brewer, Alex from Drake’s Brewing in nearby San Leandro. Chop Bar features seasonal, local ingredients when possible and they serve up some good craft beer and cocktails! They have some great small plates that are perfect for sharing and I recommend doing just that when you visit Chop Bar. One of the best things about restaurants committed to Slow Food concepts is a constantly changing menu. You will never get bored because there is always something new to try. Fresh ingredients that are in season and sustainably grow taste better. That’s a fact!
247 4th St Ste 111
Oakland, CA 94607
Drake’s Brewing Company (same ownership as Jupiter & Triple Rock in Berkeley) is about 10 miles from Jack London Square in Oakland and well worth the trip. I am guessing a cab ride is about $20 but it is completely possible to take BART to the San Leandro Station and walk 1.25 miles to the brewery.
Visit the Beer By Bart website for details:
The Drake’s Barrel House opened last summer with 24 taps featuring the regular Drake’s line-up as well as seasonal choices and the incredible barrel-aged beers that they are now famous for. You cannot get these special beers outside of the Bay Area “yet”, so this is your chance to see what all the buzz is about. The Quaid’s Dream- Imperial Stout aged in Port Barrels with blackberries I sampled last week was brilliant but I must confess that I am still longing for another sample of Passionate Monkey! Owners , John & Reid Martin, have the formula for success in brewing ventures as well as brew pubs. Triple Rock & Jupiter are both Bay Area favorites within the Craft Beer Community.
It’s a bit hard to find Drake’s the first time. Look for the driveway to the right of Wal-Mart and the left of Sport’s Authority. Drake’s is tucked back in the corner as you drive between the two buildings.
1933 Davis Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 568-BREW (2739)
Here are the links for a few other places in Oakland that deserve some props:
25 Taps & 100 Specialty Bottles
460 8th Street
Luka’s Tap Room & Lounge
16 Taps & Specialty Bottles
Oakland, CA 94612
Linden Street Brewery
95 Linden St
Enjoy Oakland and let me know how you liked it!