Ben and Nick's or Luka's Taproom
Going out in the East Bay with another couple tonight. I want to try one of these places because both feature Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA on tap. (Thanks to Chowhounds for letting me know in another post.)
Yes, food quality matters, but it's not the ultimate criteria for tonight. Luka's menu looks good, but we'd also be happy with more standard pub fare (featured at Ben and Nick's) as long as the quality is above average.
None of us have been to either of these places. Which one should we choose and why?
Ben and Nick's food is very medium. Average pub fare exactly. It's a friendly place though.
Luka's on a Saturday can be a bit of a scene. Long wait for table, cover charge starts at 9:30pm I think. Food is better than Ben and Nick's, and more unique. You can dance at Luka's on the weekend. More extensive beer menu and more expensive.
I'd only do Luka's on a Saturday if I wanted the nightlife that comes with.
I'd make a reservation at Luka's. Call to make sure they have that beer though, they rotate often.
We had a great time at Luka's Taproom. They still have the Dogfish Head 90 min IPA, which I enjoyed immensely.
Called at 4:30 and got a 6:30 reservation. They recommend reservations, especially when there is a show at the Paramount (one block away). But it never did get what I would call crowded. While the dining room remained full throughout the evening, a wait for a table never developed. Maybe it's a sign of the times, or maybe it's because we were there on the early side - 6:30 to 9:30. We had the pool table and jukebox to ourselves.
The food was very good - delicious asparagus soup with preserved lemon oil, the pork loin was perfectly medium (as requested) and served atop nice artichoke mashed potatoes, mac & cheese was yummy.
Will go back...
There are also a lot more options in that area than there used to be: with Flora, Ozumo, and Franklin Square wine bar (and some other spots) all right there, Luka's isn't the only show in Uptown for people grabbing food or a drink there, so that may have slowed their business down a little.
Franklin Square and Vo's are good and open Mondays, as is Ozumo, which I haven't tried yet. Best to make a reservation if you're going before a Paramount show.
Franklin Square Wine Bar
2212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
59 Grand Avenue, Oakland, ca
2251 Broadway Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612