downtown oakland

Downtown Oakland circa 1910

First Friday reconvenes, and a cafe reopens

March 2, 2012

It’s First Friday, downtown’s monthly mass gathering of arts and culture worshippers, and even with exciting events for the weekend, there are still new shops to report on!

San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine inaugurates a First Friday column with a nice writeup of some of the highlights in the 23rd & Telegraph area. Take a look to plan your trip tonight, and also check out the official gallery listing at OaklandArtMurmur.com.

Oaklandish, in addition to hosting their monthly dance and art party tonight, is having a Spring Cleaning sale on almost all merchandise, starting tomorrow and running until last season’s wares sell out. In addition, the T-shirt company is debuting a new Art Murmur-themed top. Look for it tonight and at Grand Lake Market tomorrow!

Awaken Cafe, which earned a loyal following in its two years on 14th St., opened in a City-owned retail space on Broadway at 15th St. The large space offers plenty of room for socializing and meeting, unlike Awaken’s previous incarnation, and beer and wine (and champagne) join third-wave coffee and vegan doughnuts on the menu. Downtown residents are especially pleased by the early and weekend hours. Tonight the cafe celebrates its grand opening with music and fun. 1429 Broadway.

As regular readers know, there are more than a dozen restaurants, cafes and bars planning to open in the downtown area this year. One aspiring entrepreneur has turned to Kickstarter to fund what he hopes to be downtown Oakland’s first artisan bakery – and intrepid reporters have discovered that the erstwhile baker once worked as Michael Jackson’s personal chef, so that’s something. If Kickstarter – or carbohydrates – are your thing, check out the campaign.

Something else to anticipate is the Oakland Running Festival, on the last weekend of this month. The route has been rejiggered to reduce the traffic and transit blockades that snarled the city last year, but it will still have a major impact on travel throughout the day of the marathon (March 25th). Check out the map so you won’t be caught unaware!

The sun is back out and the buzz from 23rd and Telegraph is already growing louder. See you in Uptown!

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From comic books to Soul Train, the DTO celebrates this weekend

February 24, 2012

It seems that Spring has permanently sprung here in perpetually sunny Oakland. With First Friday just around the corner, there is no shortage of exciting events and new happenings in our downtown.

After WonderCon decided to decamp from the Oakland Convention Center (at the City Center Marriott, on 10th St) to larger digs in Anaheim, a group of community-loving comics creators decided to hold a gathering here in the DTO. Starting today, the Image Comics Expo runs through the weekend. Tonight, the Uptown (1928 Telegraph) hosts a welcome party, and fundraiser for the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund, starting at 8pm.

Diablo Magazine’s new issue rounds up all the latest restaurant news in downtown. The opening of Bittersweet Cafe on Broadway and the expansion of Beer Revolution are two highlights have haven’t been mentioned in this space before – but seeing everything lined up in one place is quite heartening. Quick update to the list – as of today, Le Cheval is operating from their original, remodeled space at 10th and Clay Streets.

Unmentioned in the magazine is the Night Light, which will open this Spring in the former Clancy’s space at 311 Broadway. The decor is beautiful, following a subtle nautical theme.

After the death of music and cultural hero Don Cornelius, a large Soul Train line formed in Times Square to celebrate his legacy. Inspired by that effort, a local group is asking for music fans to come to Henry Kaiser Park (19th off Telegraph) to mount what they’re hoping will be the world’s largest Soul Train line, on Saturday at noon. Hear from the organizers on their Facebook invite.

Uptown’s charming Entrez housewares boutique (1645 Telegraph) has moved to Walnut Creek, but its spirit will be celebrated this Sunday with a party benefiting the soon-to-open Urban Montessori School. A fundraising raffle will be accompanied by music, wine tasting by Periscope Cellars, and kid-friendly and craft activities. An after-party at Somar follows. Check out the details on Facebook.

Vitus (201 Broadway) and the Bay Area Pinball Blog welcome the debut of a new pinball machine with a tournament and party next Wednesday, Feb 29. The AC/DC machine will be greeted with a performance by the Dolomites. The tournament costs $5, starts at 5pm, and the deadline for registration is 8pm. Vitus’s four other machines, which include all-time best-seller Medieval Madness, will be available for non-tournament play.

See you on the pins!

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