Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 30, 2008 09:10 PM

Recommend a drink spot in North Oakland?

I'm trying to plan celebratory drinks for a far-flung group of friends who live in SF, downtown Berkeley, Temescal, and Lake Merritt. There's also a mix of cheapskates and serious cocktail snobs. Any suggestions for a mid-range place with great drinks anywhere in North Oakland near bart? Sorry if that's too specific. I'm new(ish) to the area, live in West Berkeley myself and don't know Elmwood/Rockridge/Temescal very well. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Near bart is quiet specific. There's nothing at North Berkeley, Ashby, MacArthur. Leaving Berkeley, and I can't think of a single drink spot in downtown berkeley, and Rockridge, but I haven't been to George and Walts. West Oakland is a little scary.

    Consider Cafe Van Kleef near 18th Street BART Oakland. Eclectic, fun, quiet early in the night, gets going later. Specializes in the Greyhound. Sometimes I think Peter waters the booze, but it's still a place I go back to. A very short block from BART.

    If you want fries with that, consider Luka's. Actually good cocktails, but at 22nd/Grand, about a 5 minute walk.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbulkow

      Near bart was meant to be relative...say no more than a 10 or 15 minute walk. But those sound like good suggestions...Luka's is totally new to me but I've heard great things about the van Kleef greyhound.

    2. A Cote has great drinks, and is very near the Rockridger BART station. It has a good, if small and crowded, bar, but also great food if you wanted to stay for dinner or appetizers. The cocktail snobs will be very happy (unsure about the cheapskates, though). Garibaldi's is also fun, and has a larger and more comfortable bar area, and is a few blocks from Rockridge BART, though their drinks are not as good as A Cote (and their food is more expensive). If there can be shuttles to/from Rockridge or MacArthur BART, Cesar on Piedmont would be excellent - it's a short drive from either station, so would be easy for someone to pick people up, the drinks are great, and if you get there early enough, it's easy to find room at the bar (and the bar area is pretty big) or at one of the big tables.

      1. Second on Cafe Van Kleef.

        Same 19th St. BART area, Flora is tops for cocktail snobs but no good for cheapskates.

        I think A Cote's too crowded for a large group. It's tough for two or three.

        Dan Sung Sa's about seven blocks from 19th St. BART. Cheap fun Korean soju bang. Dunno what they have for cocktail snobs. Big tables for groups. Cheap snacks.

        Dan Sung Sa
        2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Cafe Van Kleef
        1621 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

        7 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          If you get to A Cote early enough, a large group can take the communal table on the back patio, but that's if the group wants to get there early.

          1. re: JasmineG

            A Cote is usually full by 6. It's not the kind of place where you can grab a big table and hold it for people coming later.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I don't think I said anything about holding it for people coming later. I've sat at that communal table with a big party lots of times for drinks. When the back patio is open, it's not full by six, and if a big group gets there in the first half hour of opening, they'll often have luck.

              1. re: JasmineG

                To put it another way, if the whole group isn't there when the place opens at 5:30, they might be out of luck.

                Several times we've arrived between 5:45 and 6:00 on a Friday or Saturday and found the place completely full except for a few seats left at the communal table.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            Just came across this old post. Do you happen to know if Dan Sung Sa is related to the same-named spot in LA?

            If so, I sure hope it doesn't also "permit" smoking!

            Though we enjoyed the food at the LA place, it was the first time I'd encountered any place openly flouting the work place ban on smoking and was, well, shocked!

            1. re: Fine

              It's different from the one in LA...

              There are lots of bars in the area that get smokey .... technically due to customers disobeying the law. Notice that there are no ash trays on site.

              Mentioning that a place is openly flouting the law is not a good idea. It just brings unwanted attention to hard working folk (enforcement and overly concerned citizens) who are running a business or enjoying themselves.

              1. re: Fine

                The decor is certainly similar, though the music's not as good. I haven't see anyone smoking at the Oakland one.

            2. Luka's beer menu looks amazing. A cote seems a bit out of the collective budget but I'm keeping it in mind for my next dinner occasion/date. Thanks for the recs!