Hitting Oakland's Uptown
An hour by hour buzz log to help you navigate through what's hip and hot in Oakland's new Uptown district.
Courtesy of Franklin Square Wine Bar
You’ve heard the buzz about the nightlife renaissance in Oakland’s Uptown district. An array of new restaurants and chic bars, an überhip art scene, and several music venues have sprung up in the blocks between the classic Paramount Theatre and Old Oakland, turning the city’s vision of an arts and entertainment district into a thriving reality. Here’s our cheat sheet to your ultimate night on the Uptown.
4 p.m. Need a jolt to start your night? Check out new kid on the block Farley’s East coffee shop, scion of the cult favorite Farley’s in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. Grab an espresso and browse the two-story shop’s huge selection of magazines—one of the biggest in the East Bay. It’s also a short walk to the cluster of art galleries on 23rd St. and Telegraph—the epicenter of Oakland famous first-Friday-of-the-month Art Murmur.
Farley’s East, 33 Grand Ave., (510) 835-7898, farleyscoffee.com; Art Murmur, oaklandartmurmur.com.
5 pm Start your evening with a sip of wine, something from the seasonal small-plates menu, and the last of the sun’s rays on Franklin Square Restaurant and Wine Bar’s patio. Franklin Square offers $1 wine tastings 5–7 p.m. on Thursdays plus free bar food during the 4–6 p.m. happy hour.
2212 Broadway, (510) 251-0100, fswinebar.com
6 pm For a glimpse of who’s who in Oakland, check out the red-hot happy hour scene from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Ozumo. Movers and shakers such as former mayor and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and developer/power broker Phil Tagami often hit the eatery for $5 drinks and cheap bar bites.
2251 Broadway, (510) 286-9866, ozumo.com
7 pm Ready for dinner? The aforementioned Ozumo rocks, as does its neighbor Picán, which boasts a tempting menu of upscale comfort food—not to mention its own hopping bar scene. Flora, with its art deco interior, delicious food, and lovingly crafted cocktails, is another hot spot.
Picán, 2295 Broadway, (510) 834-1000, picanrestaurant.com; Flora, 1900 Telegraph Ave., (510) 286-0100, floraoakland.com
8:30 pm Of course, you’ve heard of the great shows at the Fox Theater, the beautifully restored ’20s-era venue that reopened in February. The Fox’s cocktail lounge, the Den, is open Tuesdays–Saturdays, whether the Fox has a show or not. A-list headliners flock to the nearby, equally exquisite Paramount Theatre as well. Meanwhile, a smaller scale scene is happening also, with the just-opened New Parish, the Stork Club, the Uptown, and Café Van Kleef showcasing an incredibly wide variety of live music.
Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., thefoxoakland.com
10 p.m. With nightly DJs and a 1,000-square-foot dance floor, Luka’s Taproom & Lounge is the perfect spot to work off dinner. It also has a full bar, 16 beers on tap, and a bar menu until midnight.
Luka’s Taproom, 2221 Broadway, (510) 451-4677, lukasoakland.com.
10:45 p.m. There’s still time to grab a bite at 2022 (formerly Ave), the new restaurant/bar located a couple blocks up from the Fox on Telegraph, which serves small plates until 11 p.m. Also, look out for Paradiso, a brand new two-story lounge/dance club from one of the co-owners of 2022. Complete with DJs, dance floor, and full bars on each level, Paradiso hosts its official grand opening December 1st.
2022, 2022 Telegraph Ave., (510) 484-4114; Paradiso, 2272 Telegraph Ave., (510) 484-4114.
12:00 a.m. Midnight hipster haven Mua, with its cavernous bar/restaurant/lounge/art space, is well worth a late-night visit—and the kitchen stays open until 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Mua, 2442-A Webster St., (510) 238-1100, muaoakland.com
12:39 am BART alert! The last eastbound train from the 19th Street station leaves now.
1 am There are plenty of places to keep the party going, including new spots Somar Bar & Lounge, with a full bar plus dancing on weekends, and Mimosa Champagne Lounge, specializing in late-night bubbly.
Somar Bar & Lounge, 1727 Telegraph Ave., somarbar.com; Mimosa Champagne Lounge, 2355 Broadway, (510) 891-1005, mimosachampagnelounge.com