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We Love the Nightlife: Beer Explosion

Updates on a number of new taprooms and pubs coming to the East Bay; a Walnut Creek wine bar sets its sights on an expansion; a wine-filled chocolate competition; and more nightlife happenings.

Holy beer news! It seems like every time I log on to my computer, word of a new brewery or tasting room is filling my screen. But it’s not all brews, all the time. Keep reading for more information about a Residual Sugar expansion, cocktail dinner with a local distiller, and more.


Sierra Nevada's Ken GrossmanFirst up, looks like Berkeley will get a little slice of Chico. Berkeleyside reports that Sierra Nevada plans to open a 1,700 square foot taproom facility on the city’s bustling Fourth Street, next door to Title Nine. Expect a full-time tasting room with a little grub, but brewery reps insist the focus will be on beer, not food. In addition to serving 16 different brews, the new tasting facility will sell beers to go, and also serve as a meeting place for talks, events, and demonstration brewing.


Berkeleyside also shared news of a new venture from the owners of Alameda’s Hobnob. Named Moxy Beer Garden, the burger bar and beer garden will pour 14 craft brews, offer a selection of bottled beer, and dish out grass-feed beef to hungry drinkers. Look for it to open sometime next month, in the former Casa Vino space on the corner of Sacramento and 66th streets.


You know how Olde Depot House, the next door venture from the owners of Beer Revolution, soft opened for brunch a few weeks back? Looks like the restaurant and taproom made it official. According to East Bay Beer, the vegan joint is now pouring from its 35 taps full-time, and also offers a kid-friendly keg of root beer. Can’t wait to grab a seat outside and dig into some vegan grub, like meat-free sausages.


Speaking of beer and sausage, Ethan’s got the latest scoop on Hog’s Apothecary over on Dish. The American-style beer hall will be pouring 39 craft beers, alongside a menu of homemade sausages. Keep an eye out for it to open in Oakland, near Homeroom on 40th St., sometime mid-May.


An update on the planned Tribune Tavern, the restaurant and pub coming to Oakland’s Tribune Tower: Eater reports that Chris Pastena plans to throw open the doors on April 10. Expect exclusive cask beers from Linden Street Brewery, local wines, and dishes that highlight in-house production of items such as charcuterie, cheese, and bread. And Berkeleyside reports that another eatin’ and boozin’ spot, Monarch Trading Co., will replace Berkeley’s Caffe Venezia, hopefully by this summer. Look for California-focused wines and beers. Sounds like you 510-ers will have plenty of choices for throwing a few back!


If all this talk about upcoming beer ventures has you thirsting for a more immediate brew, you’re in luck. This Saturday, the aforementioned Olde Depot will host Imperial Stout Fest, and dedicate all of its 35 taps to the beer style. Keep your eyes peeled for special brews from Deschutes, Sierra Nevada, Iron Springs, Dogfish Head, and more. Saturday, March 23, starting at noon, 368 Third St., Oakland, event website.


If cocktails are more your thing, on March 26, Berkeley’s Paragon is hosting a dinner with St. George Spirits. Head to the Claremont Hotel’s restaurant for a four-course meal, paired with spirits from the Alameda brewery. Master Distiller Lance Winters will be on hand to discuss St. George and its offerings. $69, Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m., 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley, call (510) 549-8585 for reservations, event website. While you’re there, throw back a drink in honor of the Pope. To celebrate the recently appointed Catholic leader, the bar and restaurant will offer glasses of St. Francis chardonnay for $8, through Easter Sunday, March 31.


Also out on that side of the tunnel, Oakland’s the Kona Club, which has been open since 2005, just released a new video that captures the vibe of the popular tiki joint. Yes, you’re seeing right—in addition to an animatronic hula girl, the bar also lets you indulge in competitive games of Jenga and Connect Four. Warning: the video may be NSFW if your work frowns on bronze nipples. If you want to check them, er, it out, head over to 4401 Piedmont Avenue.


Okay, I swear Oakland and Berkeley don’t get to have all the fun. First up, rumor has it that Residual Sugar, the popular Walnut Creek wine bar, may be expanding into the space recently vacated by Bake. Owner Jim Telford won’t confirm or deny, but has said he’s looking into expanding the food program. I also wouldn’t mind a little more elbow room, hint hint.


If you like to pair your vino with a little chocolate, don’t miss the third annual Chocolate Indulgence event this weekend. The fundraiser for the Junior League of the East Bay pits local chocolatiers and restaurants against each other in an attempt to produce the best sweet. $55 in advance, $60 at the door, Saturday, March 23, 7 p.m., Round Hill Country Club, Alamo, event website.


Finally, it may not be East Bay–specific, but I definitely think it’s worth noting that Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill into the Senate to push for a 4 a.m. last call in California. While the bill is geared toward “destination cities” like San Francisco and Los Angeles, it’s still a little exciting to think that California could be following on the heels of places like New York and Chicago. If the law passes, cities would have to apply for the extended permits, and liquor stores would still need to adhere to the 2 a.m. cut-off, but it’s a start, right?


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