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Apr 30, 2012 04:37 PM

Looking for cafe near BART, Oakland, quiet for mid-afternoon meeting

I know many such cafes must exist. I just can't think of them.

The following criteria have to be true on a weekday afternoon 3-5pm:

1) Within a few blocks of one of these BART stations: 12th, 19th, MacArthur, Rockridge, Lake Merritt.
2) Reasonably easy/cheap parking, preferably free street parking.
3) Quiet & uncrowded enough to have a meeting of 4-6 people, but at the same time
4) not so quiet that everyone else in the place would hear everything we say.
5) decent food, coffee, tea, so folks can either eat or just drink

I thought first of Crepevine upstairs, but don't know how quiet it is at that time of day.


Thanks in advance!

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  1. Off the top of my head -- you'll want to check opening hours, etc. --

    Bittersweet (Rockridge)
    Cactus (Rockridge). Will get noisy after 5.
    Hudson Bay Cafe (Rockridge)

    1 Reply
    1. re: bgbc

      Bittersweet Cafe has just opened another location in downtown Oakland at 1438 Broadway (between Telegraph Ave. and 15th Street) near the 12th Street BART Station. haven't been yet.

      Bittersweet Cafe
      1438 Broadway
      Oakland, Ca 94612
      phone: 510 238-8700

    2. The café at the Oakland Museum might work — it's a block from the Lake Merritt station.

      Museum admission is not required.

      5 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        and there's a reasonably priced parking lot under the museum building...

        Another alternative is Oliveto cafe--decent espresso, fairly quiet, and can accommodate party your size. Market Hall has a free parking lot, and the BART lot across the street should be free by the time your meeting begins.

        1. re: GH1618

          great idea. i haven't been to the museum cafe in ages.

          1. re: GH1618

            Robert Dorsey left the Museum cafe in December.

            A recent review alluded to institutional food service, cafeterias and the like:


            1. re: Pius Avocado III

              Thanks for the update. I used to like it before the makeover. I hope they fix it. It doesn't have to be chi-chi — just a nice place for a pleasant lunch.

            2. re: GH1618

              That reminds me when the City of Oakland nixed the idea of having Alice Waters run the Oakland Museum Cafe many,many years ago.

            3. Thank you all! That gives me some good options. Meanwhile someone in my group came up with World Grounds at 3rd & Jackson, so we're trying that first...

              7 Replies
              1. re: indigirl

                World Ground is a small place, and sometimes will have some awful music turned up too loud. I see small groups meet there now and then, so it can work if you are able to get one of the two large tables. If it's crowded, it might not work.

                And, it's a pretty good hike from BART.

                1. re: GH1618

                  Correction: three large tables. And the tables are very close to other tables.

                2. re: indigirl

                  I don't believe that 3rd & Jackson is within your parameters--its several blocks from BART, and doesn't have extensive seating. But if If you're willing to go to 3rd & Jackson, then should go to Blue Bottle's mother-ship cafe at 300 Webster.

                  1. re: Rapini

                    Does Blue Bottle have any proper seating? I remember counters with stools.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Indoors it's the counter and stools. Outside, there are several (bar height, IIRC) tables and chairs, along the Webster Street storefront. Not sure what you mean by "proper", but I've always felt comfortable.

                      1. re: Rapini

                        By "proper" I mean chairs and tables that would be comfortable for this meeting of four to six people.

                    2. re: Rapini

                      Oh dear, probably too late to change for this meeting... & the person who is on public transit agreed to it... looks like we'll probably change for the next meeting.

                      Keep the comments coming! Thank you!

                  2. Awaken Cafe just re-opened on Broadway, near 14th. It's very close to 12th St BART station, though parking is perhaps not as easy in that area. It's pretty spacious, lots of tables and chairs, so I think it'd suit your needs.

                    There's also Cafe Zoe near Rockridge BART that's reasonably large.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: betterbeheaven

                      There is a parking garage very close to the 12th st station, like two blocks away. It's cheap enough that my coworkers parked in there (9-5 sort of deal), when I worked in that area.

                      1. re: betterbeheaven

                        Awaken cafe has lots of seating whereas bittersweet chocolate has only 3-4 tables.

                      2. How's the "Lane-e" Kefa Coffee location that's near the Lake Merritt BART, on 8th? Anyone been? I really like the food and coffee and the lowkey vibe at the original location, but don't know what the seating situation is like at this outpost.