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Help! Birthday Gathering Ideas - Oakland

I'm having a birthday gathering this friday (i know...kind of last minute) and my original plan was to have everyone meet up for dinner at B Restaurant in Old Oakland, and then mosey on over to The Trappist for drinks. HOWEVER..i called yesterday, and B Restaurant is completely booked up on Friday! =(....so that plan went sour. Anyone have some ideas? I was also thinking Tamarindo Antojeria...(never been) but yelp says it's not good for groups. I was also thinking Boca Nova, but it's a little farther away from the drinking Here's the criteria:

1. Prefer to stay in Oakland: Downtown? Rockridge?...some other neighborhood?..not sure
2. Want 2 places that are close together, first dinner then drinks
3. Need a place that is good for groups: Have about 15-20 guests
4. Needs to stay in the low/mid price range.
5. Want to keep it fun/casual

Thanks so much!

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Tamarindo
468 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

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  1. I imagine it's going to be tough to find a place downtown that can accommodate a party of 20, 3 days in advance, the week before Xmas. Also, have you been to the Trappist before? It's crowded enough with a party of 2, much less 20. Liege has a nice space that's comfortable for groups that size, but I would check to see if they're booked for a private party first too.

    Looking at Opentable, the only option that can handle 20 that looks appealing is Speisekammer, in Alameda. For a party of 15, Camino is a possibility. Speisekammer is a better choice if you're not sure how many people are coming in total, and it's less expensive. Otherwise, your options are probably in Chinatown.

    Oh, you should probably state a dollar range per person - B, Bocanova, and Tamarindo are all pricier than I'd expect for "low-mid".

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    Speisekammer
    2424 Lincoln Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

    3 Replies
    1. re: daveena

      Speisekammer is actually a pretty good suggestion -- I especially like the food around the holidays. Then you can stroll the Park Street area, which within a few blocks has lots of places to have a drink, ranging from down and dirty to hip-trendy.

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      Speisekammer
      2424 Lincoln Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Another Alameda possibility would be to have a few (excellent, local) beers at Lucky 13, and order in top-notch bar food from Scolari's next door, then head over to Hob Nob for drinks (and maybe some of their excellent fish and chips). That would solidly put you in the low price range, but still get you some good food in a fun atmosphere.

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        Lucky 13
        1301 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

        Scolari's
        1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

        1. re: daveena

          Yeah, the restaurant/bar scene on Park St. is really hopping these days, and there are a lot of options. Most of the places aren't "destination" worthy individually but taken as a whole it's probably one of the best places in the East Bay for bar/restaurant hopping, especially with a large-ish group, since the restaurants a slightly bigger than, for example, Piedmont Ave. Plus the parking is easy.

    2. You could try the new Le Cheval, just a couple of doors down from the old place. It's smaller but you might be able to get 15 in there..worth a call. The new place looks nicer, although in the same range. It's also 2-3 blocks from the Trappist. If you go, you can give a report back.

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      Le Cheval
      1007 Clay St, Oakland, CA

      1. Tamarindo is really small, so a group that size would be tricky. I had trouble with a group of 8 there isn't space to setup a bigger table than that for sure.

        If you time it well, you could probably score the big table at Chop Bar near Jack London. Great food, easy parking and fun and easy going atmosphere. They serve Linden St Beer. Almost everything is under $20. (usually an entree will hit $21 for seafood.) The yucatan chicken is excellent and the burgers are as well. Honestly everything we've tried has been good - excellent. Deserts are great too. It is one of my new found favorites.

        You could follow with Encuentro wine bar or Bocanova -- good drinks, food, hard to get seats though they seem to be booked a lot -- lots of bar seats. The patio is nice: blankets and heat lamps.

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        Tamarindo
        468 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

        Bocanova
        55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607

        4 Replies
        1. re: jade408

          Have you tried Mua? Huge place, good food. It has a mix of small plates and entrees. The steak frites are some of the best I've ever head and good drinks. Hip atmosphere, and the have a good DJ. The DJ plays all evening, and the serve food till late. You'd also be able to take advantage of the uptown bar scene: Somar, Ozumo, Luka's, Plum and the new wine bar.

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          Mua
          2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

          Ozumo
          2251 Broadway Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612

          1. re: jade408

            What new wine bar?

            Irrelevant to this topic, but Mua's kitchen isn't open as late as it used to be.

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            Mua
            2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

          2. re: jade408

            Tamarindo expanded a bit, taking over the former vegan place next door, creating a tequila bar. It's still on the small side but now it might be manageable. Worth a call just to verify given the short time frame.

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            Tamarindo
            468 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

            1. re: ML8000

              I recently had an improptu Sat night dinner at Tamarindo with about 10 people. It worked out very well. They seated us at the communal table. I'm pretty sure we could've fit two more. It isn't particularly inexpensive, though.

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              Tamarindo
              468 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607