Best of the East Bay: Play
Here are the East Bay’s places to have a good time, all the time.
Hit these spots for a superfun time with friends.
Editor pick: Beer Tasting Room
Sip a flight at the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room, featuring 16 small-batch beers on tap you won’t find elsewhere in the Bay Area. 2031 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 647-3439, sierranevada.com.
Keep it Contemporary
Editor Pick: Carbs and Cocktails
Grab a bite at Build Pizzeria while sipping a cocktail made with handcrafted bitters. 2286 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 898-1839, buildpizzeria.com.
Go Out on the Prowl
Editor Pick: Singles Scene
Modern China Cafe’s fire pits and unhurried happy hour make mingling easy. 1525 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 988-8008, modernchinacafe.com.
Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Reader Pick: DIY Workshop
You may not be the next Picasso, but the wine might make you think you are, at Canvas and Cabernet. 1421 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 287-1614, canvascabernet.com.
Reader Pick: Live Music Venue
Play pool or hit up the jukebox at Dan’s, which transforms into a live music venue on weekends. 1524 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-1331, dansbar.com.
Battle at Bocce
Editor pick: Food and Fun
Whether you’re with a group of friends or just your sweetheart, Campo di Bocce is the place to eat, drink, and play. 175 E. Vineyard Ave., Livermore, (925) 249-9800, campodibocce.com.
Shake Your Groove Thing
Reader Pick: Place to dance
Go to ShBoom Nightclub, a club for grown-ups, to boogie. 2410 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 130, San Ramon, (925) 837-9777, shboomnightclub.com.
End the Evening Right
Editor Pick: Late-Night Spot
Top the night off with fish tacos and a key lime pie martini at The Rellik Tavern. 726 First St., Benicia, (707) 746-1137, therelliktavern.com.
The Bedford Gallery’s curator brings sophisticated exhibits to Walnut Creek.
Editor Pick: Art Visionary
In her office in the Lesher Center for the Arts, Carrie Lederer is beaming.
“We just secured a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts!” says Lederer, curator of the Lesher Center’s Bedford Gallery. “It’s a first for the Bedford and possibly for the center.”
The grant will help fund an upcoming exhibition called Blow Up, featuring inflatable contemporary pieces from Andy Warhol and others. It’s yet another example of Lederer’s moxie as a curator over the past 20 years and hardly the first exhibit to receive national buzz.
“We had great success with our skate deck show,” says Lederer, excitedly describing how a 2012 show featuring skateboard art from local contributors went on a coast-to-coast tour of galleries in eight different states. Another show, Nature’s Beloved Son, featuring photographs by Pleasant Hill artist Stephen Joseph of John Muir’s environmental research, continues to tour the United States and Canada. And Post Secret, artist Frank Warren’s project in which anonymous people from around the world wrote their secrets on postcards, was a smash when Lederer brought it to Walnut Creek in 2009.
While art lovers across the country can appreciate Lederer’s creative presentations, East Bay patrons reap the real benefits. This summer, Lederer has put together a show about skulls as icons. After that, WC100 will feature a multimedia presentation of Walnut Creek artists, in recognition of the city’s centennial.
“We want to ask, ‘What are the amazing and wonderful pieces and people who make this such a special place?’ ” says Lederer, who is also an acclaimed sculptor. “I hope it will shine a light on who we were and who we are now.” 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 295-1417, bedfordgallery.org.
My East Bay
Unique places in Walnut Creek, including ØL BeerCafe and Bottle Shop.
Oakland’s Temescal Alley—beginning at Doughnut Dolly.
Oakland’s Art Murmur Saturday Stroll in the afternoon.
There is no shortage of throwback enjoyment to be had in the East Bay.
Editor Picks: Classic Games
Remember Donkey Kong? Paperboy? Or Galaga? You can play all these and more at High Scores Arcade in Alameda, where the classic machines are in tip-top shape. It costs $5 for a half hour or $10 to play all day. (All games are set to Free Play, so leave your quarters at home.) 1414 Park St., Alameda, (609) 468-3083, highscoresarcade.com.
Sip a cold brew or cocktail while challenging friends to a game of pool at Bay Area Crown Billiards in San Ramon. Looking to play on a regular basis? Join one of the hall’s leagues. 2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 725-3900, bayareacrownbilliards.com.
Bumper boats, mini golf, arcade games—oh my! Whether you’re hosting a birthday party or just looking to blow off steam, a day playing games and racing around the go-kart track at Boomers is sure to take you back. 2400 Kitty Hawk Rd., Livermore, (925) 447-7275, boomersparks.com.
Battle your pals in an arena retrofitted with dizzying pulsing lights and high-energy music at Q-Zar Laser Tag. Weeknight discounts are great for groups or anyone looking for a deal. 2295 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 521-9663, q-zar.com.
Sink a putt at Subpar Miniature Golf, where the handcrafted holes resemble monuments in the East Bay. Or challenge your friends to a slot car race to see whose automated miniature vehicle earns the checkered flag. 1511 Park St., Alameda, (925) 521-4653, subparminigolf.com.
This place is heaven for fans of every team.
Reader Pick: Sports Bar
It’s no accident that the Stadium Pub’s logo looks like the sign over the bar in Cheers. Just like Sam Malone’s beloved watering hole, the pub has that “where everybody knows your name” vibe, which keeps regulars coming back. (More incentives: There are 23 brews on tap, plenty of top-shelf spirits, and a menu of sports bar classics—try the Fire Dog.)
Stadium Pub also has a pleasant sense of diplomacy to its hometown feel, and to the game distribution on the 47 TVs. Giants fans sit with A’s fans; Niners faithful clink pints with Black Hole veterans. Sharks, Warriors, Bears, and international soccer fans are all welcome, too. 1420 Lincoln Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 256-7302, thestadiumpub.com.
Greg Palomo at Walnut Creek Yacht Club
1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474, wcyc.net.
Va de Vi
1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 979-0100, vadevi.com.
East Bay museum
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
1931 1st. Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-1978, wildlife-museum.org.
East Bay Winery
5565 Tesla Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2305, wentevineyards.com.
Happy Hour Menu
44 Church St., Danville, (925) 820-7200, bridgesdanville.com.
1548 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 945-6960, hubcapsdiner.com.
95 Linden St., Oakland, (510) 251-8898, lindenbeer.com.
Place to See Art
1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 295-1417, bedfordgallery.org.
100 Northstar Dr., Truckee, (530) 562-1010, northstarcalifornia.com.
1684 Locust St., Walnut Creek, residualsugarwine.com.