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We Love the Nightlife: Banned Alcohol and a New Wine Bar

Walnut Creek says no to more alcohol; The Red Whale wine bar moves in Oakland’s Grand Lake district; Maker’s Mark says no to diluting; and more nightlife happenings.

Are all the bars taking a break between Valentine's Day/SF Beer Week and St. Pat's? It seems like we've entered the quiet part of the year, but there's plenty brewing on the horizon. Check out the latest news.


Crowds at Art Murmur, photo by Joe SciarrilloBooze Bans

Sad news for fans of the hard stuff in Walnut Creek. The WCPD has placed a moratorium on full alcohol service permits for bars and restaurants in Walnut Creek. New establishments can apply for wine or beer license, but the city will not grant any license for full alcohol service until possibly 2014, when the police department hopes to have adequate staffing. While I agree that there are plenty of places to drink, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all good, and I’m a little sad we won’t see fresh blood in the near future. Looks like I’ll have to drown my sorrows elsewhere.


In further alcohol banning news, East Bay Express shares that the city of Oakland will now attempt to enforce a ban on drinking in the streets during the city’s popular First Friday Art Murmur event. In response to the shooting at last month’s event, police and security officers will ticket offenders, and also prohibit liquor stores from popping bottles for customers. Don’t worry, you can still tuck into one of the many overflowing bars to get your drink on, just don’t bring it to the streets.


Fresh Pours

How about some good news? It appears that Olde Depot Public House, Beer Revolution’s adjacent vegan restaurant and beer garden, may have finally opened. Its website has mention of a beerunch, which sounds delicious (thanks to What the Fork for the tip!), but poking around Beer Revolution’s Facebook page, it looks like it may not be fully a go. We’ll keep you updated. 


Berkeleyside has word that a new taproom is coming to Albany. Fittingly called Albany Taproom, the 745 San Pablo Avenue destination will feature 20 rotating taps of craft beer, and a “to go” bottled beer section. Expect an early March opening.


If you love bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, check out Diablo Dish’s news on Hutch Bar and Kitchen, which also opens early March.

If wine is more your thing, there’s a new wine bar coming to Oakland’s Grand Lake district. According to East Bay Dish, it will be called The Red Whale, and you can sip a glass there or grab a bottle to go. Look for it at 3354 Grand Avenue, opening date TBA.


In more beer news, fans of Chicago-based Goose Island’s beers can now find them in our neck of the woods. In addition to being available at local Whole Foods and well-stocked liquor stores, Walnut Creek’s Corners Tavern tapped the brewery’s Matilda, part of Goose Island’s vintage line of brews. Grab a pint before it’s gone!


Changing Faces

Due to limited supply, Maker’s Mark distillery was threatening to water down its whiskey to 42-percent (as opposed to the customary 45 percent, or 90 proof). Well, that didn’t fly so well with imbibers, who took to social media to complain, and the company quickly backpedaled. Maker’s Mark will now not water down its recognizable bourbon, and I give the brand points for humility. Per its Facebook page: “You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.”


I mentioned last week that That Bar would be making the switch to McGah’s, and I was able to catch one of the managers to learn a bit more about its big reveal on March 17. The St. Paddy’s party will have a photobooth and face painting for the kids, a live band, dueling pianos, and an actual leprechaun. Drink specials will include car bombs and green beer, but I’m most excited about the new menu. Expect hearty Irish fare, such as shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, and bangers and mash.


On the Horizon

Start making plans for these early March events.


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