downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

February First Friday fetes Fox

February 5, 2010

Uptown’s long-awaited Era Art Bar opens today at 4:30pm. Created by the impresarios behind several Old Oakland spots including B Restaurant, Air Lounge, and Tamarindo, Era promises to be a uniquely styled club. Era boasts hand-crafted cocktails, carefully-chosen wines, two floors for lounging, top-flight DJs, and stunning interior design. See what the buzz is about at 19 Grand Ave.

Tonight the Fox Theater celebrates its anniversary of reopening as a live-performance venue with a party at the Den. Despite not having any dedicated parking, the Fox has sold out almost all of its shows and was the top Google search term in San Francisco in 2009. Joined by the New Parish at 18th and San Pablo, the Fox is establishing Uptown as a live-music destination, though there is a growing perception the Paramount is falling behind (a position disputed by a boardmember in a recent OakBook column).

Downtown’s good news is not just about bars and nightclubs. The DTO, or more specifically Uptown, has seen several new restaurants open this short new year. Though we’re still waiting for Bakesale Betty, True Burger has opened on the same block as the erstwhile bakery, and Hibiscus at 18th and San Pablo adds a sweetly Southern note to downtown dining in a handsome historic building with a focus on Creole foods and unique cocktails.

With the announcement of Barnes & Nobles’ closure in Jack London Square, some observers mourn the passing of yet another bookstore, while others see potential for destination retail to emerge in the prominent space. On the other side of downtown, the Broadway Specific Plan, meant to outline the transformation of Auto Row into a “lifestyle” shopping center, is seeing fierce criticism from both anti-development types led by the Oakland Heritage Alliance who are critical of the goals of the project, and from urbanists who are very uncomfortable with the huge amounts of parking called for in the study (more parking than retail, actually).

Today is of course the First Friday of February, and without rain, it’s likely tonight’s Art Murmur events will be crowded. Highlights include local cityscapes at Pro Arts Gallery, a multimedia exhibition by French artist Pierre Alain Clauzin at Hatch Gallery, and a retrospective of late graffiti artist Mike “Dream” Franciso at the New Parish. From Jack London Square to Midtown to Uptown, the DTO offers art and entertainment tonight for any budget, or no budget. See you at the hot dog stand on Telegraph!


1 Naomi Schiff { 02.05.10 at 3:10 pm }

Say, Oakland Heritage Alliance isn’t anti-development; we’re pro-successful good-looking, savvy, transit-friendly, preserving-Oakland’s-character development! Let’s build on the empty lots and parking lots.

2 dto510 { 02.05.10 at 4:04 pm }

Yes, you say that, but the OHA is advocating for ridiculously low height limits along Telegraph Ave below 27th St, far below the minimum height to build a new building. On the other hand, the Specific Plan is too dismissive of the reuse potential of many of the structures on Auto Row.

3 Ralph { 02.05.10 at 4:44 pm }

A grocery store in the old Barnes and Noble location now there is an idea.

Is there still a there there with the Art Murmur? The galleries that were once along Grand have closed. And the others seem to be spread too far for the weak, soft bellied Oaklanders who are afraid of cool temperatures and raindrops. The city should run a bus in the winter time. And considering that some galleries are way up Telegraph and San Pablo they may want to do so in the summer also.

4 GeoffCapp { 02.05.10 at 4:49 pm }

I like B&N, as corporate bookstores go, but I have to say that was the second worst of their locations ever, behind only the one in Emeryville. Time to put in something worthwhile.

5 KO { 02.24.10 at 2:55 pm }

Ralph, grocery store is good idea but there is supposed to be an indoor farmers market in that new building in JLS to supplement the Sunday farmers market (which rocks by the way).

I like idea of a bowling alley inside there.

I’m wondering when Miet or whatever that bakery’s name is, is going to OPEN.

Have you tried the chicken and waffles place? Looks enticing but pricey.