Tag Archives: Somar

A cheap, car-free New Year’s Eve in downtown Oakland

30 Dec

New Year’s Eve has never been one of my favorite nights to go out. Clubs and events are absurdly overpriced. Everywhere is at least twice as crowded as usual. It’s close to impossible to catch a cab. So many years I stay home or do something low-key with some friends.

But this year my wife and I decided we wanted to go out and when I found out that the Free Broadway Shuttle would be running its usual Saturday night schedule of 6pm-1am, I realized we could bar hop around downtown Oakland. Getting around will be super easy (and free), and if any of the places we go to are too crowded, we can move on.

I researched free or cheap bars and clubs in downtown and put together this list, which I figured I’d share here. Continue reading

Party with Ella Baker Center & Oakland Grown next Tuesday

22 Apr

Next Tuesday, April 26th, there are two great opportunities to get out and meet community members, leaders, business owners, and artists at the Ella Baker Center Change-Maker Party and the Oakland Grown Party. The best part is that they’re nearby and not at the same time so it will be easy to stop by both.

I hope you’ve checked out the Ella Baker Center blog since I featured it on Monday, but if not, check it out now to find out about the great work they’re doing and why you should attend their event. As for Oakland Grown, I’ve written about the organization extensively before (and if you’ve ever run into me shopping, you’ve seen me carrying their bags). Oakland Grown is a member driven non-profit program that encourages people to consciously support those unique locally-owned independent businesses and artistis that have their roots in Oakland.

I’m proud to say that this week I became the first blogger member of Oakland Grown so I’m extra excited about next week’s event. (Disclosure: As part of my membership, I’ve agreed to write a few blog posts about Oakland Grown events and Oakland Grown members, though this really won’t be a change from what I’ve already been doing here.)

Here’s some info on the events. I hope to see you at one or both of them on Tuesday night! Continue reading

A bittersweet morning in Oakland

19 Mar

I woke up this morning feeling good. Maybe a bit fuzzy from all of that bourbon tasting, but I was still reveling in Pican’s grand opening party that I attended last night (thanks dto510 for inviting me!). Pican is  gorgeous, large, and comforting, yet elegant. I think it will soon become a destination restaurant.

But then I checked my email and read that the Parkway will be closing its doors this Sunday night. My heart sunk. I started feeling guilty, since I haven’t been there in several months. And then I started feeling hurt, since I don’t think I’ll make it there again before they close.

The Parkway is such an important part of Oakland, in fact, so important that I’ve included it on my list of essential Oakland experiences. There’s nothing else like it. I guess the small silver lining is that the Parkway’s sister theater, the Cerrito (in El Cerrito), will remain open, but that theater never held the same charm for me.

But the larger silver lining here is that even as some of our treasured Oakland businesses shut down in the face of this deepening recession, new places are opening up that are likely to become important parts of the Oakland community. We now have the chance to create new memories at two new bars in Uptown – Ave and Somar. And next week we’ll be able to enjoy the comforts of Southern food with a California twist at Pican while sipping on one of the 80 bourbons the restaurant features.

So goes the bizzaro results of this recession in Oakland. Somehow many new businesses thrive as old ones crumble. And I’m afraid there will be much more of this to come…

(Check out City Homestead for a sweet write up on the Parkway, complete with some pictures and the full email the owners sent out this morning.)