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

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!