downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Old Oakland is New Again, Again

June 1, 2012

Old Oakland, of course, is the original downtown for the burgeoning city that grew up around the terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad (still extant, though horribly maligned, at 7th and Washington). The compact commercial area centered on Washington Street has been a bellwether for downtown’s retail fortunes, from the first farm-to-table restaurants during the dot-bomb, to fashion-forward denim and vintage furniture shopping during the real estate boom. Now the long-term leased boutiques and galleries of the Pop Up Hood define a new period of growth, while stalwart B Restaurant closed its doors.

Though B closed at 9th and Washington, District opened across the street. And this week, we learned of new leases signed at this key intersection. B’s lovely storefront won’t be closed long, because a restauranteur and foods businessman have bought the kitchen. Perhaps giving the neighborhood at shot at some Guide Michelin love, Sarah Kirnon, formerly chef at Hibiscus, has taken possession of the corner space at Swan’s Market, last home to Jesso’s (which has since moved to 14th and Harrison).

But you don’t have to wait for new restaurants to open to enjoy Old Oakland’s many charms. The area is now officially part of the Art Murmur, and on this First Friday the streets will be full. Manifesto Bicycles has departed the neighborhood to expand in its Temescal location, but this evening they will be bringing a stereo on wheels to make a bike party out of Ninth Street.

And there are some happenings far Uptown, tonight, too. Check out Diablo Magazine for a non-artsy guide to 23rd and Telegraph area.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite DTO establishment in the East Bay Express’ annual Best of the East Bay issue! Voting started today and concludes at the end of the month.

Have a great First Friday, whether you’re far Uptown or down in Old Town!


1 daniel schulman { 06.01.12 at 5:19 pm }

I believe Old Oakland is generally regarded as Oakland’s second downtown area. The Oakland Heritage Alliance has recently released a new version of Beth Bagwells A Story of A City history book of Oakland. This reference could inform this discussion.

2 dto510 { 06.01.12 at 7:39 pm }

I meant that Oakland didn’t become a city, and so had no downtown, until the Transcontinental Railroad. But yes Oakland’s earliest large-scale settlement was at the waterfront.