Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Where to Grab a Drink after Work

20 Feb

This post is a bit difficult for me to write because lately, there’s really only one place I go to get drinks after work – Radio. But Radio’s not for everyone so I’ve included a few other places to stop in for a drink after a long day at work.

Radio – 13th between Broadway & Franklin

Over the years, I’ve grown very fond of Radio. Of course, it helps that it’s only two blocks away from my office, but that’s not the only reason to love it. The bartenders and regulars are friendly, the drinks are cheap during happy hour, it’s always dark and basked in red lighting, and, of course, you can play pinball. Though Radio is small, it’s rarely overcrowded during the early evening (watch out late on weekend nights though – it gets packed!). My favorite part? You don’t have to worry about bringing a designated driver because Radio’s just a few steps away from BART and most major AC Transit lines, and it’s across the street from one of the few taxi stands in Oakland.

Ruby Room – 14th between Madison & Oak

Ruby Room has a very similar feel to Radio – laid back and basked in red light. But it’s several times the size of Radio, and instead of playing pinball there, you can play pool. I don’t make it down to Ruby Room often because it’s a bit out of my way, but it’s a nice place to sit with a bunch of friends to catch up. And it’s right near Lake Merritt, so if you live in that direction, it would be easy to stop in on your way home.

Pacific Coast Brewery – Washington between 9th & 10th

Pacific Coast is the perfect spot for large groups. By downtown standards, this place is huge, and they have several large tables. The beer selection is pretty extensive and very tasty. Plus, you can eat dinner or just much on some fries while enjoying your after work beer. The best part of Pacific Coast might be the outside patio. During the warmer months, I love sitting out there and enjoying beautiful Oakland evenings.

Cafe Van Kleef – Telegraph between 15th & 17th

I previously wrote about Van Kleef as a music venue, but it’s also a great place to stop in for a quick drink in the evening. Van Kleef is small and pretty much always crowded, even on a Wednesday evening. So if you’re looking for a place that’s full of energy and you’re likely to run into someone you know or meet someone new, this is the place for you. But if you’re looking for a quiet and calm evening, Van Kleef probably isn’t for you.


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