downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — dining

Easing out the year

December 23, 2011

Well it’s almost Christmas Eve and downtown Oakland has had a year of extreme ups and downs. New initiatives and traditional celebrations greet us at the end of the year, while the DTO gears up to do what the DTO does best – party! After the news roundup, scroll down for last-minute holiday shopping ideas and a list of downtown Oakland New Year’s Eve parties.

America’s Children’s Holiday Parade, presented by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, brought more people downtown than any other gathering this year. It’s aired nationally on PBS, but you can watch it here on YouTube.

The Nutcracker, a seasonal classical music tradition, is once again danced by the Oakland Ballet at the Paramount Theater of the Arts tonight and tomorrow. Check out a Chronicle article about how the Oakland Ballet brought its art to schoolchildren throughout the city.

Planning for the future: the City of Oakland has hired a consultant to being studying expansion of the Broadway Shuttle – which will run until 1am on New Year’s Eve – as a round-the-clock service extending perhaps as far as the MacArthur BART Station. The study will look at costs, ridership, economic development, and different modes from dedicated-lane bus to shared-lane streetcar to light rail. The study is expected to be completed next Fall, and funding for expanded transit on Broadway is likely to be included in the transportation sale tax measure currently being drafted by the Alameda County Transportation Commission. For more information, check out the (unofficial) Oakland Streetcar Plan website.

East Bay Express discusses the changing mixology culture downtown, which has grown from margaritas rocks and greyhounds to custom tipples served up. This author recently went on a Manhattan tour of some of downtown’s oldest and newest lounges, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cocktails.

Daniel Patterson’s Haven opened to much fanfare in Jack London Square a week ago. Check out this InsideScoop interview with its chefs.

Last-minute holiday shopping

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, downtown Oakland today and tomorrow could be a lifesaver! The Pop Up Hood in Old Oakland (9th and Broadway) is a great destination. Also stop by housewares store Entrez Open House (1645 Telegraph), which will close early next year after a five-year run in Uptown. And the Oakland Museum’s gift shop (1111 Oak St) is always a popular place to find unique, creative and classy gifts. For the very budget-conscious, a stroll in Chinatown (9th and Webster) can turn up some unusual and affordable gifts, particularly for friends living in less cosmopolitan climes. Finally, don’t forget about the Oakland Grown gift card!

New Year’s Eve Events

Hubba Hubba Revue at the Uptown with Lee Presson & The Nails: A burlesque show with big-band and swing music sounds like retro good times!

Top Ten Social, a regular series of high-concept dance parties and civic lectures (so Oakland!), holds its New Year’s Eve party at Michelen Guide-mentioned Hibiscus Restaurant, with soulful crooning in the dining room and soulful beats at the outdoor dance floor.

STAY East Bay presents a night of old-school hip-hop with the Oakland Faders DJ crew at the Oakland Metro.

The ever-popular People Party house music and culture celebration will be at the New Parish on New Year’s Eve.

Disco Volante hosts a women-friendly NYE Bash with DJ Lady Ryan.

Vitus’s signature eclecticism is on display at their New Year’s Eve concert, headlined by a contemporary big band based out of the Mission, Lord Loves A Working Man, and including appearances by Hot Tub’s DJ and other dance-music specialists.

The Lovelight Blues Band is playing Cafe Van Kleef (1621 Telegraph). $30 gets a couple in the door, including glasses of champagne at midnight.

The new New Commodity warehouse space in the Art Murmur area hosts a masquerade ball to benefit the Oakland School for the Arts, including music, New Orleans-style food, and champagne for $30.

Downtown bars like 355 (355 19th St), The Layover (1517 Franklin St), Radio (435 13th St) and the Ruby Room (142 14th St) will be providing no-cover evenings with their top DJs and champagne at midnight. Somar (1727 Telegraph) and Spice Monkey (1628 Webster) are charging only $5 to access their events – and Spice Monkey’s is all-ages.

Happy holidays!

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A Fall Friday brings a hot weekend

September 23, 2011

It may be the first Friday of Fall but downtown sizzles with summery events.

Moneyball premiered at the Paramount last week with a star-studded green carpet. Find out what liberties the screenwriters took with the true story of the dot-com-era A’s in this Tribune article.

For the third year the Eat Real Festival will spice up Jack London Square with a radical gourmet delights – kicking off today with ice cream and sorbet for this summery Fall day. While you’re there, stop by the Crafts section to sign a petition to legalixe food trucks throughout the city. If you’re going to bicycle to the event the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland are providing free valet bike parking. Saturday’s official after-party will be a new club Vitus on 2nd and Broadway.

Speaking of food and the Jack London District, check out this article about local roaster Blue Bottle’s expansion across the country in Fortune Magazine.

The 10,000 Steps project, which seeks to connect downtown’s neighborhoods with the four historic “Square” parks, has introduced a self-guided cellphone audio tour of Old Oakland and Chinatown.

See you at the food trucks!

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