Who could use a drink?
Even for those who don’t sink in, much of the misery of the past nearly three years has, of course, stemmed from the lack of gatherings and the lack of community, comfort and quirkiness that plagues haunts. familiar premises. The pandemic and its fallout have been brutal for bars in particular, with so many East Bay watering holes now dearly gone, from whimsical to diving, indoor lounges and even gardens – and don’t even tell us of cozy pubs, sob.
Recently, however, libation havens have begun to emerge from hibernation, and new ones are trying their luck. Whether it’s a grand opening, a grand reopening, or just a grand that a place will be opening soon, take out your fizzy or non-alcoholic sip of your choice from the following new drink establishments (from summer) and to come, once again providing East Bay with both liquid and soul-satisfying refreshment.
(Reopened Oct. 27) Owner Mary Dugbartey’s warm and inviting cocktail bar and lounge 514 on San Pablo Avenue is known for its good vibes and the appeal of the El Cerrito neighborhood. Locals toast (and re-toast) its reopening after the pandemic shut down after just a year of operation. 514 Lounge is located at 11236 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito.
(Open August 12) Fans of Black Star Pirate BBQ have to say goodbye to the sparkling waterfront barbecue destination, but the same owners are now keeping the party going at Point Richmond. Expect playful cocktails, tons of live music and Louisiana comfort food at this fun and funky new bar in the atmospheric Baltic building. Baltic Kiss is located at 135 Park Place in Richmond.
(Scheduled to open in early 2023) “Don’t worry El Cerrito,” owners (and fiances) Claire Sullivan and Devin Hohler wrote on their Instagram page, alongside a photo of a car smashed into Banter’s wall. “One way or another, we’ll end up giving you this wine bar.” The vision of young industry veterans has been sidetracked a bit, but construction is now on track for Sullivan and Hohler to open their small, natural wine-focused gathering place in early 2023. ‘bringing all kinds of delicious, accessible, low-intervention wines from all over El Cerrito,’ Sullivan said. Banter will also be a bottle store, and there are plans to create monthly wine clubs and other customer benefits. Banter Wine Bar will be at 10368 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito.
(Coming soon?) All we know so far about North Berkeley’s upcoming adjacent Chez Panisse bar, currently under construction at Cesar’s former location, is the working title on its liquor license application: Navy bar. This French moniker is a nod to Marseille and the Marcel Pagnol film trilogy, which Chez Panisse was also named after, but we have no guarantee that this is the name of the business opening there. A variety of other names have been rumored, but as Chez Panisse management have firmly refused to confirm details, it looks like we’ll all have to wait patiently for more, including an expected opening date. . (working title) Navy Bar will be at 1515 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
(TBA opening and location) It’s an alphabetical coincidence that the only bar opening as murky as the nascent Chez Panisse project is Cesar’s early reopening in a new location. Yes, our beloved Nosh tipsters emailed us the location of the rumor, which we’re grateful for, but the owners of the reopened iteration of Cesar – a bar kicked out by Chez Panisse management for make way for the above company – refuse to confirm any information at all. Again, we have to wait. —Eve Batey
(Opened July) Newcomer Drop 84, opening this summer in downtown Berkeley, is definitely more of a nightclub/bottle service scene. The glitzy venue features live DJs and performers and special (and private) events, including the occasional KPOP party. Sometimes there is cover, check before you head out. Drop 84 is at 2284 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
(Opened Sept. 9) Eater described Fieldwork’s new East Bay space as a “big ass new beer garden,” and they’re not mistaken – the location is expansive, the largest craft brewery at 7,800 feet squares and built for craft beer drinking, dining and relaxed outdoor and indoor fun, no matter the size of your group. We’re bending the cocktail week rules by including this place, but the art of cold beer is on full display here. Fieldwork San Leandro is located at 100 W. Juana Ave. in San Leandro.
(Opened July) New from owner Shelley Cardiff, this appropriately and quietly open speakeasy inside an old Victorian, formerly the Grand Tavern, has two dog-friendly patios, juicy cocktails and an ambience clubby, indoor, lounge next to a “fireplace.” With a small full bar and spacious tables throughout, the place is in every way a new intimate hangout with class. (Oh, and uh, Late Night Brunch? You heard us. Late Night Brunch, served from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., is coming soon.) The Grand Avenue Social Club is located at 3601 Grand Ave. in Oakland.
(Opening August 12) Appealing in every way, right down to its name, Lemon Drop, in the former Lemon Tree in Alameda, is a sleek, casual new cocktail bar with cozy, low-light nooks outside. indoor and a large outdoor patio. Lemon Drop is located at 2542 Santa Clara Ave. in Alameda.
(Reopened Oct. 6) Ted Helmick’s wonderfully cozy Little Hill Lounge, closed in 2021, has been revived and is in good hands under new ownership by Matt Regan and Christ Aivaliotis of Oakland’s Kon-Tiki and Palmetto. In addition to craft cocktails that elevate the neighborhood bar a notch above, you can now find occasional food popups and other bonuses. Little Hill Lounge is at 10753 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito.
(Coming in late 2022 or early 2023) “As long as I’m around, this place will be open,” Missouri Lounge owner and “caretaker” Ali Eslami laughed over the phone. “I call it my living room.” It’s funny, just like a lot of regulars. For true dive bar fans, the Missouri Lounge is the reopening to watch – and has been for a very long time. The bar has been a cornerstone of West Berkeley since the 1950s, and Eslami, owner for 17 of those years, says its reopening journey since the pandemic halted in 2020 continues to be knotted, like so many businesses , through approvals, paperwork, inspections and zoning. “We wanted to move the kitchen,” Eslami said. “It led to a difficult situation for us with the permits, but it is what it is.” He is quick to reassure everyone, however, that the historic watering hole will open either late this year or early next year. The Missouri Lounge will reopen soon at 2600 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley.
(Opening Jul 29) PSA: The new little French restaurant in North Oakland that everyone is talking about is also a beautiful, sensual and accessible place for a well-balanced cocktail. The Meeting Point is at 5526 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Oakland.
Roses on Adeline Bar & Kitchen
(Scheduled to open Summer 2023) Former South Berkeley karaoke bar Nick’s Lounge has a new family of owners with deep roots in the neighborhood and a fresh take on the space. Architects Teresa Clarke, her husband David Soffa, her sister Madeleine Clarke, and chef Rose Soffa Clarke (Teresa and David’s daughter), are lifting the ceiling, adding windows and a kitchen, and hoping to bring in a beautiful new bar with seasonal dishes and cocktails at the neighborhood – the family home for over 50 years. Fingers crossed, the new community gathering place is expected to open in the summer of 2023. Roses on Adeline Bar & Kitchen will be at 3218 Adeline St. in Berkeley.
(Reopened Oct. 7) Oakland’s Thee Stork Club was once The Stork Club, and all that gritty dive-bar history now fits right in with the John Waters-blessed subculture vibe of the reopened landmark, featured by the folks behind Eli’s Mile High Club and Mosswood Meltdown Music Festival. Strong cocktails, weekly live music. The Stork Club is located at 2330 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
(Opened August) Maybe Berkeley’s old Venus was always meant to be a cocktail bar. The brickwork, the cabins, the high ceilings and the windows – the whole thing works perfectly for Tip-Sea, Berkeley’s new nightlife destination that adds a stylish and welcoming vibe to the downtown scene. Note: The kitchen offers a range of late-night snacks. Tip-Sea is located at 2327 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
(Open Oct. 14) The team behind popular San Francisco outposts, Tacko and Underdogs, have brought their hip, fun-loving, fun-loving flair to this Mexican-themed new Uptown cocktail bar and restaurant, decorated in the street art from Oaxaca. Todos Cantina + Cocina is located at 2315 Valdez St. in Oakland.
(Coming by the end of 2022) Updated information on this upcoming LGBTQIA+ bar and lounge, coming soon to the I. Magnin & Co. era Art Deco building, is that at from the beginning of November, they are so close at final inspections. Rest assured, owner Joshua Huynh and his team can’t wait to share their new space with the Oakland community. Stay tuned to Nosh for an opening date as soon as it arrives. The Town Bar and Lounge will be at 2100 Broadway in Oakland.