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New Nightlife


Photo by Alisha Petro

As 2008 rolls out, a whole new wave of after-dark hangouts is rocking the East Bay, from a swank lounge in Walnut Creek to a retro-chic foodie’s paradise in Oakland.

1515 Restaurant Lounge
Walnut Creek recently traded up the Subway sandwich shop and sushi joint at 1515 North Main for this stylish lounge and restaurant. This is a Dudum project. No, not Jeff (Bing Crosby’s, McCovey’s, Maria Maria) Dudum; first cousin Tony Dudum, purveyor of Linguini’s Pizza and Brew in Alameda.
Who Goes There: Suburban hipsters on the Cosmo, Mojito, pisco sour circuit; late-night noshers—the restaurant serves until midnight, a rarity for Walnut Creek. 1515 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 939-1515, www.1515wc.com.

Mr. Lucky’s of Pleasant Hill
Owners of the longtime bar on Walnut Creek’s Locust Street have spruced up a second location at the intersection of Taylor Boulevard and Alhambra Avenue. A casual lunch and dinner menu complements the main attraction: beer and booze.
Who Goes There: On opening weekend, the place was already packed with regulars—we couldn’t even get a seat. All that was missing was a heavyset fellow named Norm at the end of the bar. 2618 Pleasant Hill Rd., Pleasant Hill, (925) 933-7778.

Betty’s Rock Bar
Walnut Creek-raised Enrique Montero, who made his name as one of the stage managers at San Francisco’s annual Exotic Erotic Ball, has transformed the former O’Kearney’s into a rocker’s pleasure palace, complete with airbrushed paintings of devil-vixens on the red walls, a VIP section, and speakers turned up to eleven. Live bands on the weekends; karaoke every Tuesday.
Who Goes There: Former Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke was on hand for the November 30 opening; the regular clientele seems to range from fans of the Stones to AC/DC to Nirvana. 1251 Arroyo Way, Walnut Creek, www.myspace.com/bettysrockbar.

This long-awaited restaurant and bar in Oakland’s former wholesale flower market was a classic as soon as it opened in November—it’s been booked solid every weekend since. The cocktail menu borrows classic recipes from famous bars around the world and adds a few originals. The food, such as meltingly tender braised short ribs and puffy-crisp potatoes, lets you in on the culinary mojo of Flora’s owners: Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky of Oakland’s beloved Doña Tomas.
Who Goes There: Flora is perfect for big-time food-heads; business types wanting a drink at quitting time; and art deco fans, who will break out crying over the 1920s architecture and decor. 1900 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 286-0100. 

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