When it comes to entertainment and nightlife, Oakland has often been overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor, San Francisco. However, in recent years, there has been an explosion of new music venues, clubs, high-end restaurants, and bars in the city. The epicenter of this growth is located in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood. Thanks to this development, it’s now possible for residents to spend every weekend enjoying high-quality food, music and art without ever having to cross the Bay.
The Uptown District stretches several blocks to the east and west of Broadway, starting from approximately 17th Street and heading north to 27th. It encompasses major performance venues for nationally-known acts such as the Paramount and Fox Theaters, as well as smaller, more intimate settings such as the Stork Club, the New Parish, the Uptown, and Cafe Van Kleef. The musical styles on offer run the gamut from classical, jazz and experimental all the way to rock, punk, R&B, hip-hop, and dance – sometimes in the same locale. Both live music and DJ club nights are available nearly every night of the week.
Music isn’t the only draw to the neighborhood. The district also contains a large and growing number of well-reviewed restaurants. The best choices for a dinner out include Pican (nouveau Southern and Soul Food), Ozumo (Japanese), Hibiscus (Creole Caribbean), Mua (edgy, California-inspired cuisine), Luka’s Taproom (Belgian ales and pub food), Flora (New American), and newcomer Plum (California/New American). The cutting-edge fare at many of these establishments has started to bring in visitors from outside Oakland, turning the district into a must-visit destination for Bay Area gourmets in-the-know.
The neighborhood also provides a wide range of options for happy hour or after-dinner drinks. Popular spots include The Den at the Fox Theater, the Somar Bar and Lounge, 2022, the Mimosa Champagne Lounge, Era Art Bar and Lounge, Cafe Van Kleef, and the latest hip hangout, Three-Sixty-Five. For those who prefer caffeine, Mama Buzz Cafe of Telegraph stays open in the evenings, as does Cafe Madrid next to the Paramount Theatre whenever there is a performance scheduled.
Thanks to this concentration of nighttime activity, the area has started to attract a number of evening events. The best-known of these is the First Fridays Art Murmur, where on the first Friday of every month, art galleries located along 23rd Street and nearby environs keep their doors open late. Live music and street performers add to the entertaining atmosphere. A newer tradition is Restaurant Week, starting in January 2011, during which several Uptown Restaurants will offer special menus, deals, and events.
With all these choices, the Uptown District offers Oakland residents of every age and taste something fun to do in the evenings.
Oakland Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Uptown Nightlife Page: www.visitoakland.org/meeting_dining_nightlife.cfm
Oakland Art Murmur Home Page: oaklandartmurmur.com/
Oakland Restaurant Week Information: oaklandcvb.com/visiting_restaurantweek.cfm