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!

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Summer Starts in the DTO

May 25, 2012

Memorial Day weekend is considered the official beginning of summer, California’s finest season, and downtown Oakland’s mix of urbane and natural is the perfect place to ring in the season. Fairyland will be open for a rare Monday, for family fun. A picnic by the Lake could be made up of Korean snacks and bottled teas from EM Market (332 14th St), or champagne and cheese from Ratto’s (821 Washington St). With many restaurants, particularly in Old Oakland and Uptown, offering outdoor seating, downtown is a great place to enjoy your holiday weekend!

Weekend events include:

  • Tomorrow is the deadline for artists to submit work for Bay Area Currents, ProArts’ juried exhibition of contemporary works from Bay Area artists. The show will open July 3 at the gallery (15th St at Frank Ogawa Plaza).
  • Sunday night at Era (19 Grand Ave), Kev Choice’s soul band performs with DJ Soul Profess, a unique mix of live music and spinning – perfect for dancing!
  • Monday afternoon, Linden Street Brewery hosts a Jamaican jerk cook-off benefitting My Yute Soccer camp.
  • Monday evening, the Afrorican weekly party will show Ice T’s new documentary The Art of Rap, featuring interviews with many hip-hop legends. The event also features food and happy hour drink specials, starting at 5pm at Liege Lounge (491 9th St).

Next Thursday is the Oakland Indie Awards at the Kaiser Center (300 Lakeside Dr), a celebration of the independent businesses which give Oakland, downtown and the neighborhoods so much vibrancy.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, DTO!

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