We Love the Nightlife: Drink by the Fire
Grab a drink and cozy up next to the warm flames to ward off tax season gloom and rainy day blues.
The Grand Tavern
It’s like the weather knew Tax Day was looming and chose to dump rain on us to really nail home the fact that this week sucks. Nothing makes you want to hole up and drink (cheaply!) like torrential downpours and forking over chunks of your hard-earned change to the government. Wallow in Tax Day misery while escaping the rain by cozying up to the fireplaces at these three local watering holes. Warm up and banish your gloomy mood with a whiskey near the fire. Just don’t get too close. Hefty taxes hurt, but not nearly as much as open flame accidents.
In addition to the fireplace tucked away in a corner, the Albatross’ wide selection of board games and free popcorn make it an ideal hideout for rainy days. You can’t go wrong with one of the bar’s 13 draft beers or 50 bottles, but if you’re in the mood for a cocktail the staff can whip up almost anything. If your game of Yahtzee or the heat from the fire gets too intense, check out the six dart lanes in the back. Wednesday–Saturday, 4:30 p.m.–2 a.m., Sunday–Tuesday, 6 p.m.–2 a.m., 1822 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 843-2473, albatrosspub.com.
The Grand Tavern
This charming gastropub, located inside a converted house, pours from 16 different bottles of whiskey, including Pappy Van Winkle’s aged bourbons. Snag a table by the fireplace and order a Hot Toddy (made with applejack) or opt for a hot buttered rum: Gosling’s Black Seal rum, brown sugar, and unsalted butter served with a nutmeg garnish. Save $2 on cocktails during happy hour, which runs everyday before 7 p.m. Open until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 3601 Grand Ave., Oakland, (510) 444-4644, grandtavern.net.
The British pub dishes out traditional favorites such as bubble & squeak and shepherd’s pie for lunch and dinner daily. You can enjoy discounted appetizers and $4 well drinks by the fireplace during the daily 4–6 p.m. happy hour, but clear out before 10 p.m. on weekends if casual dining is your goal. The quiet pub transforms into a lively DJ and dancing spot. Open at 11:30 a.m. daily, 331 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 855-2185, crownpub.com.