downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — March 2012

A diversity of destinations, downtown

March 16, 2012

Oakland’s burgeoning and increasingly famous nightlife scene gets a new addition tonight, the Night Light in Jack London at 311 Broadway. The former Clancy’s Taqueria has been transformed into a nautically-themed, bordello-inspired lounge. Wood panelling (salvaged from ships), sailing lamps, and even a pirate-y chandelier surround leather couches, a DJ booth, and an elegant bar. The spot promises to become another hip Jack London District destination – and is just steps from a Broadway Shuttle stop!

Speaking of easy transportation, the City of Alameda announced that its Estuary Crossing Shuttle, which has exceeded ridership expectations, will operate for at least another year with funding from the Air District.

In more good news for the downtown waterfront, Miss Pearl’s (once Jam House) has reopened, after a long closure, and according to the Express, it’s better than ever. Check it out at Jack London Square’s Waterfront Hotel (1 Broadway).

Despite the rain, downtown events are going strong this weekend. Tonight is the final installment of Tina Tamale’s pop-up stand at Swan’s Market (907 Washington), during which the mexican foods maven will be joined by Little Shop Artisan Box and Boucherie Artisinal Meats. Check out the facebook invite for the details, and stop by between 5 and 9pm tonight.

It’s the two-year anniversary of The Skillet, the Layover’s (1517 Franklin) monthly dance party that combines DJing with live music. Tonight will be an all-vinyl affair, according to resident DJ Crimson.

Though there’s no shortage of hip events downtown this weekend, fans of classical music and jazz can party in Uptown too. Tonight the Oakland Symphony presents Spots on the Orient Express, playing Baroque, Romantic and Modernist pieces with guest violinist John Sords. At the Paramount (Broadway) at 8pm. And on Saturday, the Piedmont Piano Company (1728 San Pablo) hosts a performance by jazz vocalist Daria.

Hip-hop, island music, symphony and jazz – isn’t that what Oakland’s diversity is all about? Enjoy it this weekend, and don’t forget to bring an umbrella!

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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!

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