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Sunday "happy hour" in the East Bay?

grayelf Oct 14, 2013 11:09 AM

Hey all, coming out again from Vancouver in November. Right now looking for a good place for snacks, mixed drinks and beer on a Sunday afternoon in November for 6 people. Thought of Wood Tavern but they only have cheese and meat at the bar starting at 4 on Sundays. We'd like to go a little earlier (3/3:30ish) and have more food options.

I put happy hour in quotation marks as we don't need the drinks and food to be discounted, just good and available.

TIA.

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  1. Ruth Lafler Oct 14, 2013 11:21 AM

    Luka's Taproom or Tribune Tavern -- both open all day on Sunday, but you might email and check on what they serve mid-afternoon.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      a
      abstractpoet Oct 14, 2013 11:48 AM

      I thought of TT too, but since according to their website brunch service ends at 3 and dinner doesn't start until 5, my guess is that it would be a very limited food menu in between.

      Worth a phone call to ask, though. (Weekend brunch, btw, is now my favorite time to go.)

      1. re: abstractpoet
        Robert Lauriston Oct 14, 2013 11:53 AM

        Huh, no menu for that on the Tribune Tavern web site. I'd guess it's similar to the 3-6 happy hour menu:

        http://tribunetavern.com/happy-hour/

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          grayelf Oct 16, 2013 06:49 PM

          Tribune Tavern is indeed open from 3-5 with a slightly straitened version of their weekday happy hour menu. If you get there at 2:59 you can order from the brunch menu which looks delectable indeed, abstractpoet. Plus they take reservations with no credit card needed.

          1. re: grayelf
            mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 07:07 PM

            i've been wanting to go - one friend liked the food, one friend didn't. perhaps up to us to break the tie.

    2. Robert Lauriston Oct 14, 2013 11:28 AM

      Open all afternoon, both cocktails and decent beer selection:

      Cafe Rouge
      Tribune Tavern
      Speisekammer
      Hopscotch
      Chop Bar
      Grand Tavern
      Forge

      10 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        grayelf Oct 14, 2013 11:51 AM

        Thanks, y'all! I checked and Café Rouge doesn't seem to be open between 3 and 5 on Sundays.

        Hopscotch looks good but I'll have to call tomorrow as they aren't open today and I can't find their cancellation policy on the website (they require a credit card to make a reservation for 6 even in the afternoon, apparently)

        Luka's looks great and seems to have the late night menu http://www.lukasoakland.com/userfiles/file/BarMenu.pdf "between meals" but I will call and confirm. Nice draft beer list.

        Also like the look of Tribune and their last tweet refers to happy hour on Sunday so that's promising, though it says M-F on the website. Also good stuff on draft.

        Grand Tavern could work, though I'm not sure they'll have enough on draft to satisfy our beer weasel. Forge is maybe a bit pizza-centric for our purposes.

        Chop Bar in the running with their "in between" menu from 3-5:30 http://www.oaklandchopbar.com/food/be... Draft beer list seems a bit brief but cocktails look fine.

        Draft beer offerings at Speisekammer mostly German (duh) and I think we'd like a few more local options.

        1. re: grayelf
          Robert Lauriston Oct 14, 2013 11:59 AM

          Cafe Rouge is open all afternoon.

          You shouldn't need a reservation at Hopscotch at that time of day, it's very quiet. Whether they have a table that can seat six, I'm not sure.

          Another option, T-Rex has a great happy hour 3-6. The barbecue's not as good as it used to be but there are good things on the menu.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/816065

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            Glencora Oct 14, 2013 01:24 PM

            I really enjoy happy hour at Cafe Rouge. I'd go there over T-Rex. Much more pleasant, better food and drink.

          2. re: grayelf
            Ruth Lafler Oct 14, 2013 12:10 PM

            I'll note that both TT and Luka's are easily BARTable. These days you can do a nice little crawl from Luka's to Plum/Plum Bar, Pican, Duende, Flora, Hopscotch, etc.

            1. re: grayelf
              mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 12:22 AM

              ADORE hopscotch, but have only been for dinner.

              love Cafe Rouge, but not sure if it's what you're looking for.

              T-Rex, in my opinion, to put it bluntly, SUCKS. sorry RL, just have been so disappointed in most of their food. on a few occasions. can't stand giving them another chance with so much else around.

              1. re: mariacarmen
                Robert Lauriston Oct 16, 2013 08:39 AM

                It has improved since it changed hands, and there aren't that many places open in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday with cocktails and a decent beer selection.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8160...

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 09:40 AM

                  i do understand about the paucity of afternoon Sunday places in the East Bay, but your post in that thread is not exactly a ringing endorsement! everything sounds a little better, but not great.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              grayelf Oct 16, 2013 07:13 PM

              Café Rouge has a "smaller version of our lunch menu" from 2:30-5 (not 4 as stated on website). They require a credit card for table of six.

              Hopscotch food looks interesting and it appears to be only four blocks or so from 19th St BART. No CC required per phone call.

              1. re: grayelf
                mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 07:21 PM

                Hopscotch is great.

                1. re: grayelf
                  Robert Lauriston Oct 17, 2013 09:41 AM

                  Cafe Rouge is always pretty empty that time of day. There's no reason to worry about a reservation.

                  Of the places I recommended, I think Forge is the only one that might be at all busy.

              2. a
                abstractpoet Oct 14, 2013 11:32 AM

                The mixed drinks stipulation is tripping me up a little bit, but for the rest I think Brotzeit Lokal (a newish super-casual biergarten on the waterfront in Oakland) would be a good pick. Sausages, snacky bites, good German-style (but mostly local) beer. You should double-check, but I think they should have most of their menu available even at 3:00 on a Sunday.

                http://brotzeitbiergarten.com/menu/

                Again, no mixed drinks, and it doesn't open until 5, but if beer is one of the main attractions, you've got to add Hog's Apothecary to your list. I'm a casual beer enthusiast at best, and the diversity of their draft list blows me away. The food is good too. Wed.-Sun. only.

                http://www.hogsapothecary.com/whistle-wetters-hogs-apothecary-draft-beer-drink-menu/

                That said, if you can wait until 4, I would go to Ramen Shop. It's the only day of the week they open that early, and if you arrive right when they open, it's one of the few times you can get in without a wait. Good beer and cocktail selection. Even if you don't want to do a full dinner at that time, I like the apps (pickle plate, fried rice, etc.) even better than the actual ramen. Only catch is that there's only one big table in the back that could fit six -- otherwise, you'd have to snag two adjacent tables or all be seated in a row at the counter.

                http://www.ramenshop.com/

                1. f
                  foodeye Oct 14, 2013 12:22 PM

                  Desco opens at 3 on Sundays. descooakland.com

                  1. Windy Oct 14, 2013 12:42 PM

                    Chop Bar is fun, and you can wander by Blue Bottle. (Sorry, meant to reply to Robert.)

                    1. b
                      BAnders Oct 14, 2013 02:01 PM

                      Toast might work; it has cocktails, beer, wine and snacks in the afternoon on Sunday. I can't speak to the array of snacks, but it's a good space that should easily fit a group of 6 and I've enjoyed their appetizer menu in particular during the dinner hour.

                      1. escargot3 Oct 14, 2013 09:58 PM

                        I love Chop Bar. Fab burgers (tho you'd reject the Acme bun) and fries. Really fab cocktails. Good Oaktown vibe.

                        I also really like Luka's, which also has a southern inflection and fab cocktails.

                        T-Rex ... I"m so surprised to see it on Robert's list at this point in time. Last time I went (granted it's been a while) I called before coming over to make sure they were open before crossing town to go over there, but when we arrived, they were locking up the joint cause it was empty. I left grumpy.

                        Toast just seems so stiff and uninviting.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: escargot3
                          Robert Lauriston Oct 15, 2013 09:10 AM

                          I wouldn't recommend T-Rex except for happy hour.

                          Does Luka's not blast loud music on Sunday afternoons?

                        2. Mission Oct 15, 2013 02:01 AM

                          A kinda new beer place is next to Wood Tavern that may be of interest to your beer drinking guests.

                          Trappist Provisions
                          6309 College Ave

                          1. mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 09:53 AM

                            you could always go back to Miss Ollie's....

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mariacarmen
                              a
                              abstractpoet Oct 16, 2013 09:59 AM

                              Closed on Sundays, unfortunately -- which I always realize after I've already made my mind up to go, and then I feel sad. =(

                              I wish they'd close on Monday and Tuesday instead, if they want to have two days off.

                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                Robert Lauriston Oct 16, 2013 10:04 AM

                                Even on days MIss Ollie's is open they're closed from 2:30-5:30.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 10:10 AM

                                  dammit. sorry, should have checked it out first.

                              2. e
                                ernie in berkeley Oct 16, 2013 10:11 AM

                                Nizza La Bella in Albany is open all afternoon on Sundays and has a good food menu and great cocktails (I'm told--I don't usually drink cocktails). Locally brewed pilsener on tap, too.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ernie in berkeley
                                  Robert Lauriston Oct 16, 2013 10:21 AM

                                  Nizza's great on food and cocktails, very limited beer selection, Trumer on tap and a dozen bottles, some very good.

                                  http://www.nizzalabella.com/Bar_WineL...

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 10:46 AM

                                    gosh, i really hate to be a naysayer again... especially since i'm joining grayelf and Nizza's is around the corner from where i'll be Sunday.... but we've been twice in the last 3 months and were disappointed with almost everything we tried. save for the mac-n-cheese. and the cocktails, of course. even their frites weren't good. and that was after we'd sworn off it a few years ago, hoping it had returned to its former glory. i just wouldn't recommend it.

                                    1. re: mariacarmen
                                      Robert Lauriston Oct 16, 2013 11:01 AM

                                      I've had dinner at Nizza a couple of times this year and didn't notice any change. Same chef and owner as always.

                                2. s
                                  sydthekyd Oct 16, 2013 10:38 AM

                                  Skates on the Bay.

                                  1. mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 10:59 AM

                                    i'm going to suggest this place with caveats:

                                    http://www.albanytaproom.com/#!food/c...

                                    after the 3rd or 4th time, we don't love the burgers at Grazzy.
                                    i have not tried the bar food.
                                    except i think one time at the bar, they gave us house-made chips, which were good.

                                    but i like sitting in the taproom (as opposed to in Grazzy's - they're conjoined - open doorway between). it's nice and breezy and open.

                                    and they have Duchesse de Bourgogne. so i'll go back.

                                    26 Replies
                                    1. re: mariacarmen
                                      Robert Lauriston Oct 16, 2013 11:04 AM

                                      No cocktails.

                                      For beer- / beer-and-wine only the list would be considerably longer and some of the places I've recommended might not make the cut.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 11:28 AM

                                        DAMMIT! attention to detail is not my strong suit.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          grayelf Oct 16, 2013 05:09 PM

                                          I realize that the ask for good draught beer AND good cocktails PLUS tasty and interesting food ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON is a tall order. I can't thank y'all enough for hanging in there and bringing me way more options than I thought possible. I'm going to try to call a couple places to get some more details.

                                          1. re: grayelf
                                            grayelf Oct 16, 2013 07:21 PM

                                            Okay so we're down to Luka's, Tribune Tavern and Hopscotch. They won on my OP listed criteria (local draught beers, nice cocktails, good eats) plus the added bonus of BART proximity.

                                            I will add that we are pretty casual and prefer comfortable over trendy. Also somewhat noise averse. I am now officially being uberpicky, I know :-)

                                            For anyone who's still playing along, if those were your three options and given the myriad criteria, which would you pick? Would the burger at any of the three sway you particularly? Thanks again!!

                                            PS If geography is kind to us, may have to deek into Hog's Apothecary at 5 pm, if only to ogle the taps and find out what arlo shirks are!

                                            1. re: grayelf
                                              mariacarmen Oct 16, 2013 07:23 PM

                                              i adored the burger at Hopscotch. also the ambiance. very casual, cute, cozy.

                                              I don't love the atmo at Luka's - though i've never been at that time - it's usually very noisy at other times. i think i remember liking their burger. like their food quite a bit too.

                                              as i said above, never been to TT.

                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                grayelf Oct 16, 2013 09:33 PM

                                                Burger with tongue, mmm... shisitos... duck fat fries... casual, cute and cozy sounds good at Hopscotch. Only hesitation is just three local draughts...

                                                Luka = loud = less lovely and the food not as interesting to me overall as other two choices though catfish and kale tempts... cocktail list very inviting and beers seem good though I wish they'd list their provenance.

                                                Tribune Tavern's menu sounds good too -- burger, guilty fries with pulled pork (!), padrones but a bit thin on the ground for gin-based goodies to drink.

                                              2. re: grayelf
                                                a
                                                abstractpoet Oct 16, 2013 10:15 PM

                                                I wouldn't go to Luka's if you're noise averse. Tribune Tavern is a madhouse during weekday happy hour, but the one time we went for brunch it was almost entirely empty. Maybe too empty. If you can make it in time for brunch, that would be a point in its favor. It's also more centrally located if you want to walk to other places nearby afterward -- Chinatown, Umami Mart (a Japanese barware and teaware shop), etc.

                                                If the cuteness of the space and the friendliness of the service are a consideration, I'd go with Hopscotch. Haven't been for happy hour, but that menu looks pretty appealing to me.

                                                Hog's Apothecary is the perfect place just to stop and have a beer or two even if you aren't eating, especially with so many of their drafts priced in the $5-$7 range.

                                                1. re: abstractpoet
                                                  grayelf Oct 17, 2013 07:51 AM

                                                  Hmm, maybe we'll change our timing to 3:30 to facilitate a stop at Hog's after Hopscotch for the beer weasel. Then it's off to Vientiane for sai oua and nem khao. I had two dishes of the latter in Seattle on a recent trip to Portland, but Vientiane is still the winner!

                                                  1. re: grayelf
                                                    a
                                                    abstractpoet Oct 17, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                    Hopscotch + Hog's + Vientiane sounds like a helluva Sunday!

                                                    1. re: abstractpoet
                                                      escargot3 Oct 17, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                      and in between, Hog's and Vientiane, maybe you can grab a quick gibralter at subrosa -- a teeny joint up the block from Hog's that serves Four Barrel. Just sayin'...

                                                      1. re: escargot3
                                                        grayelf Oct 17, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                        Happy to know about another good coffee place in the East Bay. We generally cut off the caffeine by around 2 but would love to check it out if time and geography allow. Will have to check with our driver :-).

                                                    2. re: grayelf
                                                      Robert Lauriston Oct 17, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                      Hog's Apothecary also has four very well chosen wines on tap.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                        grayelf Oct 17, 2013 11:06 AM

                                                        Thanks for that tip, Robert -- there may just be a wine weasel among us as well :-).

                                                        1. re: grayelf
                                                          mariacarmen Oct 17, 2013 11:08 AM

                                                          :)

                                                      2. re: grayelf
                                                        Robert Lauriston Oct 17, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                        You'll more or less be going by Mua, which makes some of the best burgers I've had ever.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                          grayelf Oct 17, 2013 11:55 AM

                                                          You're a very bad man, Robert, appealing to my burger compulsion :-). It is insane to split a burger six ways??

                                                          1. re: grayelf
                                                            Robert Lauriston Oct 17, 2013 01:54 PM

                                                            They're not huge, two might be better.

                                                            It would be my #1 go-to place for a burger if they didn't tend to play awful and/or loud music later in the evening.

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                              mariacarmen Oct 17, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                              the place is cavernous.

                                                              i actually preferred Hopscotch's burger. have you tried it, Robert?

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                Robert Lauriston Oct 17, 2013 03:04 PM

                                                                Mua's burger is charcoal-grilled, which I prefer.

                                                                Hopscotch's was one of the best griddled burgers I've had:

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8767...

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                  grayelf Oct 17, 2013 10:26 PM

                                                                  While we're still on burgers (oh joy!), can anyone confirm that we can get them to order at Hopscotch and Mua? It might be fun to do a griddled then a charcoaled burg :-).

                                                                  1. re: grayelf
                                                                    Robert Lauriston Oct 18, 2013 08:54 AM

                                                                    The burger's always on the menu at both places. I'm not sure what you mean by "get them to order."

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                      grayelf Oct 18, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                                      I meant can you order them cooked how you like them eg rare or medium rare as opposed to however they come. This is such a novel concept here in the over-regulated province of BC. I know it is more usual in SF but I have noted some places won't/can't do it.

                                                                      1. re: grayelf
                                                                        Robert Lauriston Oct 18, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                                        Ah. Yes. I don't care for burgers cooked past medium-rare.

                                                                        It's illegal to serve a medium-rare burger in BC? Googling I see they have steak tartare on some menus.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                          grayelf Oct 18, 2013 11:59 AM

                                                                          SO dumb. I don't understand why tartare is possible and a medium rare burger isn't, assuming that meat is being chopped on the spot for both. There were a couple of places who went through some ridiculous process to be allowed to do it, but they are gone.

                                                                          So now y'all know why I am so burger obsessed when in the States :-).

                                                                          1. re: grayelf
                                                                            Ruth Lafler Oct 18, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                                            I think the problem is your assumption that meat is chopped on the spot for burgers. In the vast majority of places it isn't, and so the law is intended to address that. Maybe they could get around it by calling it "seared beef tartare"!

                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                              grayelf Oct 18, 2013 02:12 PM

                                                                              What I meant was it is silly to me that a restaurant that chops its own beef can serve it raw as tartare, but cannot grind or chop beef into a burger that will be served medium rare. I don't imagine all restaurants that serve burgers do this but I'm guessing the ones that serve tartare could stretch to it.

                                            2. Robert Lauriston Oct 20, 2013 07:21 PM

                                              I had a late lunch at Luka's today and they weren't blasting the loud music that led me to write off the place.

                                              The mid-afternoon menu is the same as the late-night menu.

                                              http://www.lukasoakland.com/userfiles...

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