Oakland, California, known for its beautiful parks and the only natural saltwater lake in the world, is a bustling and friendly city to visit. On my most recent trip there, I searched for fun places to get drinks with friends.
To my surprise, there were so many to choose from, as many locations had excellent cocktails, cold beer, and knowledgeable staff. Nonetheless, I narrowed them down to my top choices.
Check out my list of the best bars in Oakland, California, below!
555 12th St Ste. 120, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: (510) 922-9571
Find Penelope, the one-of-a-kind cocktail bar and snacketeria in uptown Oakland near the corner of 11th and Clay street. This is the place to go for artisan cocktails, fine spirits, and specialty beers.
This chic spot offers sidewalk seats, and incredible vibes flow throughout the establishment. Might I suggest that the next time you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and try the Penelope (Tequila, beets, apple cider vinegar, lime) with the Chicken empanadas—an excellent pairing!
1621 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 763-7711
Don’t know where to get a drink? Try Cafe Van Kleef, across the street from Both Sides Convenient Store. This cafe features knickknacks and other funky wall art, greyhounds, and many specialty cocktails.
Jack London Square, 48 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: (510) 839-6761
Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon is in Jack London Square, near the San Francisco Bay Trail. It’s one of the best bars you can find in the neighborhood.
2424 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 879-7601
The Double Standard is in the Korea-Northgate Corridor, a welcoming bar with a warm charm and modern decor. They typically host sports event viewings, comedy shows, and more.
It’s one of the nicer places to go out when you want to steak away for good food and high-quality cocktails. The bartenders use fresh garnishes and juices and have ten rotating beers.
There’s also a vast wine selection to choose from.
1741 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 251-1400
Make Westing is in Uptown Oakland, near the Fox Theater. The decor is industrial, paying homage to the city’s heritage. Make Westing has a full bar, two bocce courts, an outdoor patio, and gourmet bites.
Don’t hesitate to try the Mexican Blackberry when you visit, made with ginger beer, like, blackberry cordial, and tequila. This drink is fantastic with their empanadas.
532 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: (510) 496-4083
Bunny’s Cocktail Bar & Restaurant is in the Old Oakland District, near 8th and Clay Street corner. This community-based bar offers a beautiful dining experience.
The bar’s interior has an art-deco theme, a pleasant atmosphere, and a chic u-shaped bar. Shareable plates, classic cocktails, and cold beer make a memorable night with friends and family.
526 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: (510) 817-4985
The Summer Bar & Lounge is close to the Parliament Event Venue in Old Town Oakland. It’s the newest gay bar and nightclub in the area, and they host a talk show and live music performances.
1611 Telegraph Ave #100, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 920-0299
Bar Shiru is in Latham Square, by Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. The Tokyo-themed cocktail bar is the first hi-fi listening bar. They focus on jazz music, but they also play soul music and international tunes.
Come with a full stomach because they don’t serve food. The Lost of curated spirits and local craft beer is enough to keep you coming back for more.
2300 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612
The Low Bar is near the Oakland YMCA and is a great place to grab drinks with a group. This Mexican-inspired cocktail bar comes up with unique drinks and top-notch churros and tacos to go with them.
This venue had excellent drink specials during happy hour and a wide array of yummy drinks. There are 50/50 shooters, beer and shot specials, house cocktails, classics, wine, and more.
4915 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Phone: (510) 891-1113
North Light is an intimate and friendly neighborhood cocktail bar with traditional cafe fare. The spacious back patio offers beautifully situated seating for its guests.
North Light can accommodate you whether you’re a wine, beer, or spirit enthusiast, and if you make it during happy hours, you get half off on all drinks.
Stop by and try the delectable pulled pork sandwich with a cold brew or the House Old-Fashioned.
3325 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Phone: (510) 444-8505
If you’re looking for a chill environment to enjoy a drink with live piano music, you can find it near the Grand Lake Theater and the Lake Merritt estuary. Adorned on the walls throughout this bar are beautiful photos.
The interior of the bar exudes 1920s vibes. On my trip to Oakland, I had to stop by and try one of their signature Ribeyes and their Whiskey & Rye; needless to say—I had a great time, and everything was impeccable.
355 19th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 451-3355
If you know where the Snow Park and the Fox Theater are, you’ll have an easy time finding Bar 355—mere moments away from there.
This trendy bar has bartenders who are more than competent in serving creative cocktails, and there’s regular live music in a speakeasy-inspired venue.
This place is ideal for small groups and couples. I suggest trying the yummy Gin and Housemate Tonic on your visit to Bar 335.
1915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (415) 463-8039
First Edition is a comic book-themed cocktail den located near Whole Foods Market. The bar has high ceilings, outdoor tables, and large murals.
First Edition’s goal as a bar is to explore new cocktails and facilitate building new relationships—where individuals go from being strangers to friends.
Whether you like wine or you’re there for a draft Old Fashioned they can accommodate you as you relax on the roof deck.
347 14th St #3906, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 823-2332
You can find the Kon-Tiki in downtown Oakland, near the corner of Webster and 14th street. This tiki bar is a lively lounge full of punch bowls with tropical drinks.
Check out the Kon-Tiki tiki bar and get your fill on exotic drinks and good traditional bar food. You can’t go wrong with the Classic cheeseburger and a Mai Tai or a Rum & Spice, whichever it’s most appealing.
3332 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Phone: (510) 735-9073
Sometimes you need to take a load off; you can do so at the Libertine near the Grand Lake Optometry center. The local bar and lounge are known for cocktails and craft beer from brass taps—just a great place with great vibes!
They serve Red and white wine, beer, and ciders, but I recommend trying the Japanese whiskies and the Hemingway Daiquiri when you finally manage to make it to the Libertine.
4401 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
Phone: (510) 607-7143
Located near the Piedmont Ave Elementary School is Kona Club. This warm and cozy bar has refreshing island vibes and bamboo walls.
You’re allowed to bring in your food as you enjoy some of their classic cocktails. For first-timers, I recommend trying one or all three of these drinks: Scorpion Bowl, Classic Mai Tai, or a Pina Colada.
339 19th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 893-1919
Also near Snow Park in the 19th & Harrison apartments, the 19th Street Station bar is a laid-back venue with vintage decor and sports memorabilia.
This is a fantastic bar that serves draft Guinness and other tasty brews. What’s more, patrons have legal permission to smoke in this bar.
When you visit Oakland, make it a priority to check out these fun places to go out and get delicious drinks. I’ve recommended the best bars in Oakland, California, but there are plenty to choose from if none of these feel quite right.
Did we leave a bar out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
Best Bars in Oakland
- Cafe Van Kleef
- Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon
- The Double Standard
- Make Westing
- Binny’s Cocktail Bar & Restaurant
- Summer Bar & Lounge
- Bar Shiru
- Low Bar
- North Light
- The Alley | Piano Bar & Restaurant
- Bar 355
- First Edition
- The Kon-Tiki
- The Libertine
- Kona Club
- 19th Street Station