Whether you’re an Oakland native or new to the city, we’ve gathered a classic list of some great local spots you’ll definitely want to try! Anything from coffee to live music with a cold beer in your hand, this list has it all. 

 

Restaurants 

Bare Knuckle Pizza

One of my absolute favorite pizza spots in the East Bay! This place is tiny, but luckily it’s not the type of spot where people linger around the dinner table all night. If you can’t find seating, don’t let this discourage you and get it to-go! Pro tip, they do run out of ingredients, so call ahead to place your order. Bonus points for having amazing vegan options. 

Menu recommendation: The cherry pie – if you haven’t had cherries on a pizza before, get in line!  

Address: 351 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Photo Source: https://www.wanderroam.blog/

 

World Famous Hotboys 

Are you a fan of fried chicken? How about spicy fried chicken? Serving up some of the best Nashville-style chicken sandwiches, this will surely hit the spot. The restaurant has a funky old school feel to it, that definitely adds to the experience. They are known for their extreme spice levels, even the medium level spice will set your mouth on fire. 

Menu recommendation: Get the Hot Hot Sandwich … if you dare

Address: 1601 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Photo Source: SF Eater

 

Drake’s Dealership

An absolute destination point! If you are looking for great vibes, variety of in-house brews, and delicious food – this is the place for you! The beer garden is exceptional and the only way to go when you are visiting Drake’s. Perfect for the summertime when the weather is just right, but they also have fire pits which makes for a great winter dinner night too! This used to be an old Dodge Dealership and repair shop, so it has that super cool industrial and exposed brick look that we all love so much. They are famous for the wood-fired pizza, but I’ve had plenty of other menu items and nothing so far has disappointed me. 

Menu recommendation: Vegan jackfruit taquitos to start and the Dude Ya pizza … wash it all down with a beer, of course! 

Address: 2325 Broadway Auto Row, Oakland, CA 94612

Photo Source: dothebay.com

 

The Lunch Box

Who doesn’t love a local, family-owned deli? If you are looking for something quick and on the go, look no further. They have great sandwiches, salads, and hot plates. Don’t forget to snag a bag of chips!

Menu recommendation: The Italian Trio sandwich won’t disappoint! (pictured below)

Address: 1720 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94612

Photo Source: Yelp

 

Coffee

Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe 

Looking for good coffee and a bite to eat? This cafe has a pretty amazing and inclusive menu with many options. If you happen to be here in the evening, sit at the bar over a glass of wine or enjoy beer on tap! You might be wondering … “this is a bicycle cafe! Is this also a bike shop?!” the answer is YES – it’s a retail shop for cyclers as well. You can purchase gear in the back of the cafe!

Menu recommendation: The Hot Mess with ham & avocado with a Chai latte (dirty chai if you really need a boost of energy!)

Address: 302 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Photo Source: Lexi Winfree

 

Slojoy Coffee Roasters

Slojoy is anything but slow … it’s a walk-up window coffee shop with locally sourced coffee. Perfect when you need that quick pick-me-up cup of joe! They are family-owned with merchandise and coffee for sale as well. Slojoy has a few tiny tables if you’re looking to enjoy your coffee outdoors on a beautiful day. The baristas always leave handwritten notes on the cups – how adorable is that!

Menu recommendation: Their rotating specialty drinks are a must-try! A classic latte with their housemade almond milk is also a great option. 

Address: 1528 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612

Photo Source: californialifehd.com

 

Farley’s East

A great local spot where you can typically find folks with their laptops open getting to work! Farley’s have great breakfast and lunch options, perfect for an all-day study session or intense work deadline. The drinks are super versatile with options for everyone and every time of day. All around the clock – they have something for you. 

Menu Recommendation: Sparkling Americano or Matcha Limeade! Risky, but fun drinks that are definitely worth the try. 

Address: 33 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Photo Source: focussnapeat.com

 

Bars

Mad Oak

It’s game day baby! This is where you want to be when the A’s are playing. Great beer, TVs, and a second story outdoor patio – need I say more? Perfect for a large gathering of people that truly caters to everyone. 

Menu recommendation: If you aren’t feeling beer, go with the Higo Chumbo (mezcal, lime, prickly pear)!

Address: 135 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Photo Source: idsf.org

 

The Trappist

Yep – a beer bar. A great beer bar. Specializing in belgian beers and all the local breweries, this pub is a must on your Oakland list. Even though they are a bar, Trappist is pretty well-known for their food! Overall, great vibe. 

Menu Recommendation: Dig into their charcuterie board with an ice cold local beer! Sharing with a friend is encouraged. 

Address: 460 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Photo Source: lonny.com

 

Cafe Van Kleef

Dive bar meets jazz bar. If you are looking for live music, look no further! This is a pretty famous, but also local spot. It’s funky, it’s cool. If you’re in the area, don’t pass it up! 

Menu recommendation: Famous for their Specialty GreyHounds! Give it a go. 

Address: 1621 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94620

Photo Source: seriouseats.com

 

Other things to do

Swan’s Market

A food hall! Because who doesn’t love a big food hall with all the options? Walk around and check out what this market has to offer, there is something for everybody. This is perfect if you are with a group who just can’t decide on what to eat! Want mexican food? Head to Cosecha. Rather keep it casual with a hotdog and fries? Rosamunde sausage is the best! Looking for a morning juice? Super Juiced has you covered! 

Menu recommendation: Cosecha ( … or whatever you’re feeling because you can’t go wrong!)

Address: 538 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Photo Source: bartable.bart.gov

 

Oakland First Fridays

Celebrating the city’s art community, every First Friday of the month the streets are blocked off and you can stroll around checking out all the vendors.  Walk around and enjoy music, food, and local artists all around! Kid friendly!

Address: From 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street, Oakland

Photo Source: sfchronicle.com

 

The New Parkway Theater

This is not just your average theater … They have an eclectic atmosphere for sure! Random chairs and couches are set up for full relaxation to enjoy the movie experience. Don’t forget to check out the cafe, it’s more than just popcorn here folks! They even host outdoor movie nights, not to mention you can rent this baby out for a private party! 

Address: 474 24th St, Oakland, CA 94612

Photo Source: hoodline.com

 

Did we miss your favorite spot? Comment below. Visiting soon? Tell us in the comments which place you want to try first!