As pretentious as it sounds..... So I had high hopes for Era Art Bar. It takes alot to get a certain number of my friends who also live in the city to make the trek across the bay but we were screening potential future birthday spots for a friend. After convincing a couple of them that we would indeed make it back alive and the voyage was worth it, we were on our way. We get to the door and the door man immediately tells us there is a cover, even though there is no line. Apparently on a Friday night it costs $10 to get in, which is way to pretentious for Oakland, let alone San Francisco. After we start to walk away, of course that cover is waived so don't think you have to pay cover. But apparently the line is not waived and we have to "wait" while people line up behind us. I felt like I was in LA all over again. After waiting he let us go inside, of course, to a space that had plenty of room. My friends and I went to the bar first, just like always. I pulled out my crackberry where I had saved the name of a recommended drink (Rey Raton) from there menu. That didn't go over well either, as the bartender told me "we don't make menu drinks after 9". OK, fail #2. Fine, I got a Maker's Mark Manhatten. I will admit, it was a really good drink. But then I got the bill. 2 Maker's Mark Manhattens and a Hangar One Martini = $42. That is a little ridiculous, no matter how good the drinks are. Again, I felt like I was back in LA. The second half of the evening actually made up for it though as there is some pretty good art in that space, especially if you like textured art like I do. Of course, there is an upstairs VIP space but I won't get started on that. The conclusion, definitely not birthday worthy but I would go again earlier in the evening if I was already out in that neck of the woods.
Texture in People & Decor.
The recycled wood @ the main bar layered with the oversized Edison bulbs give a beautiful opening to this Oakland lounge. Mixing of textures whether metal, wood or glass makes this place urban elegance. Though crowded on opening night, all the guest were warm & smiling. The spinning of world music gave a tranquil vibe to the room. Some swayed to the music, others chatted happily, while others were sampling the bar menu or their ole faithful beverage. I made my way upstairs to the loft area where their was a another vintage looking bar. Smaller than the first but serving just as vigorously as the first. I decided on rum but the label I like was not available. The bartender quickly took down two bottles for me to taste. They were both great choice but I ended up w/ the Jamaican version and paired it with ginger beer. The bartender was very attentive. He offered to hold my bottle of ginger beer so I would not have to carry it around. I love excellent customer service. The upstairs decor was filled with vintage couches & chairs(or recreations that looked authentic). The tasteful art added charm & uniqueness to the space. The lighting fixture over the stairs was imaginative and one of a kind. You are also able to people watch on the lower floor which is a plus.
All in all, the space is a much needed addition to Oakland. A great alternative to local hang outs.
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