Edit ModuleShow Tags

We Love the Nighlife: Guide to Conquering Art Murmur

Plot a course for this month’s First Friday with our guide to the non-gallery hotspots; two local meet the brewer nights; a Wednesday tequila party, and more nightlife happenings.

Photo from Telegraph cafe

I’m not denying there’s great art to be had at Oakland’s First Friday Art Murmur. But if you’re like me (too poor to buy real art and ready to kick off your weekend once Friday rolls around), staring at the unique installations and vibrant paintings aren’t the only things on your mind. Here’s where to go to enjoy Art Murmur, outside the art, for this month’s First Friday. oaklandartmurmur.org.


Era Art Bar: Officially part of the Art Murmur scene, Era Art Bar artfully combines galleries and alcohol. Cocktails, which hover around the $9–10 mark, are on the pricier side, but with libations such as the Era of Brunettes (rye whiskey, Grand Marnier, walnut liqueur, allspice, orange bitters) and the Jaliscan Monk (reposada tequila, mezcal, chartreuse, lime, agave nectar, bitters), it’s sometimes worth it to shell out. During the earlier half of Art Murmur, the bar runs happy hour specials: $3 select drafts, $5 house drinks, and $5 select wines. 19 Grand Ave., Oakland, (510) 832-4400, happy hour 4:30-7:30, oaklandera.com.

How to get there: Take BART to 19th St. station in Oakland and it’s a five-minute walk to Era.

Telegraph: This new café features local art in its gallery space, and runs food and beer specials for the First Friday crowd. The big draw is its beer garden, which gets packed during Art Murmur since the café is one of the latest places open serving alcohol. As far as drinks go, in addition to your usual suspects (Stella, Corona), you can snag Lagunitas, Black Butte, and Mirror Pond brews. But if you’re keeping it cheap, you can’t beat the Art Murmur $2 PBR special. 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. (510) 444-8353, telegraphoakland.com.

How to get there: From 19th St. station, it’s less than 10 minutes. From Era, it’s a five-minute walk up Grand Avenue and a right on Telegraph.

Oaklandish: Word on the street is that this Oakland-based retailer knows how to throw a party, and this week is no exception. In addition to beer from Linden Street Brewery, wine from Urban Legend Cellars, and food from FiveTen Burger, Oaklandish will have live music from Thomas Pridgen (formerly of the Mars Volta) and The Memorials, accompanied by DJ Dion Decibels. If you’re looking for a way to snag your own piece of art, artist George Hopkins will be creating Oakland-inspired pen-and-ink works. 7–11 p.m. 1444 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 251-9500, oaklandish.com.

How to get there: Catch the free B shuttle heading towards Jack London Square on West Grand Avenue and hop out in between 14th and 13th, or take BART to 12th St. station, exit at 14th St. onto Broadway.

Crown Nine: Kate Ellen and company are throwing a grand reopening bash (already seriously envious of the cool new chevron-striped floors) over at PopUpHood, so hightail it over to Old Oakland for a good time. This month the hot dog lady will be there slinging sausage, DJ Urban Umpire will be providing the tunes, and there will be projected art. If you’re absolutely parched, the new District wine and whiskey bar is nearby. 461 9th St., Oakland, (510) 507-0789, crown-nine.com.

How to get there: Hop back on the Jack London Square-bound free “B” shuttle for a ride to 9th Street, or hoof it the six blocks from Oaklandish. 

Old Oakland also welcomes Pop-Up Library, a traveling library of artists’ books created by people around the country, to the ‘hood. Artists choose to fill the pages of blank sketchbooks with whatever they like (memoirs, drawings, photography, and more), and the books then embark on a cross-country road trip to exhibits, fairs, music festivals, and now Oakland. Check out all of the books from last year’s project, and if you leave inspired you still have time to participate for 2013 for just $25. The best part? Before finally settling in its permanent home at the Brooklyn Library, the book keeps in touch while it’s on its journey via email or text. 4–8 p.m., exhibit runs through June 17, 483 9th St., Oakland, arthousecoop.com/projects/sketchbookproject2012.

How to get there: see above.

Further off the main Art Murmur drag (read: less crowds), Temescal Alley always throws an entertaining First Friday bash, complete with food, drinks, live music, and a family friendly vibe (I saw no less than a dozen kids during April’s event). Doughnut Dolly, which has been doing a pop-up the last few weeks at Cosecha, will be back at its future location for a preview this Friday. Get there early; these suckers have been selling fast. 6–9 p.m., 482 49th St., Oakland, (510) 703-5600, facebook page.

How to get there: catch the Pittsburg train to MacArthur, and it’s a 15-minute walk up Telegraph to Temescal Alley. The 1R bus, which you can catch on 12th Street,  will also drop you off right at 49th Street. Bonus: you’re closer to the East Bay, which means a shorter ride back home on BART.

Also in the area, Minds Eye Vintage will be showing its “Waterslide at Mesh Mountain” mini collection, which includes tropical mesh tops, vintage swimsuits, and cover-ups. 486D 49th St., Oakland, (510) 529-6519, facebook page.

How to get there: see above.

And if it’s just all about the seeing and being seen for you, here are a few Uptown watering holes guaranteed to be packed to the gills with the Art Murmur crowd:

Bar Dogwood: Happy hour 4–6 p.m.: $4 Trumer Pilsner, $3 Racer Five, and $4 well drinks. It recently rolled out a new drink menu and a new sign. 1644 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 444-6669, bardogwood.com.
Make Westing: Happy Hour 4–6 p.m.: $3 draft beer, $4 wine, and a $6 cocktail special. 1741 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 251-1400, makewesting.com.
Café van Kleef: 1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 763-7711, cafevankleef.com.
Bar Threefiftyfive: 355 19th St., Oakland, (510) 451-3355.
The Uptown Nightclub: No cover and open early for first Friday. 1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 451-8100, uptownnightclub.com.

For more Art Murmur information, including where to find galleries and mixed-use spaces, go to oaklandartmurmur.org.

Other Upcoming Events:

June 2: This month’s First Saturday at Ale Industries features musician Xavier Guerrero, who’ll play original songs as well as Beatles covers. Beatles and beer? Don’t mind if I do. But the biggest draws to this early evening Saturday party are the local artists and designers showcasing their wares. Look for work from Doll & Chain Designs, Dinosaur Factory, Kelly’s Jewels, Brewed Life, Kirk Shelton, Epic Screenprinting, Joel Salinas (who does live airbrushing), and John Cloud. Best in Show Hotdogs will be providing the food to keep you upright. Saturday, June 2, 6–9 p.m., 975 Detroit Ave., Concord, (925) 470-5280, aleindustries.com.

June 4: In a collaboration with Waterloo Beverages, ØL Beercafe and Bottle Shop hosts a meet the brewer night with Brewmaster Koen Hugelier. Huglier will introduce the first two of his Seven Deadly Sin Series of Belgian Ales to the American Market. Monday, June 4, 7–10 p.m. 1541 Giammona Dr., (925) 210-1147, beer-shop.org.

June 5: Mikkel Borg Bjergso, brewer behind the impressive Mikkeller beers, will make his first Northern California appearance at the Trappist next week. The preliminary draft list includes Mikkeller 10, 19, 1000 IBU, 1000 IBU light, Czeck Pils, Big Worse Barley Wine Red Wine, Milk Stout, Monk’s Brew, Green Gold, and more Mikkeller brews. 460 8th St., Oakland, (510) 238-8900, thetrappist.com.

June 6: For Pleasanton’s First Wednesday Street Party, Blue Agave kicks off the night with a DJ, tequila and margarita specials on the back patio, and tacos on the grill. 625 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-1224, blueagaveclub.com.