Revolution CafÃ© is located in West Oakland in a neighborhood known as The Lower Bottoms, not a particularly endearing name, but somehow fitting for a place west of “Dogtown.â€ From the outside it doesn’t look like anything special, but when you walk through the front door its awesomeness will smack you in the face. The emptiness of the neighborhood is completely and wholeheartedly made up for by Revolution’s ambience: an unpretentious and homey hoarder’s-living-room-chic (minus the chic). The compulsive decoration, consisting of hundreds of pieces of insane art (e.g the birdcage hanging from the ceiling housing a Barbie and a clown), 4 pianos, a drum set, and tons of mismatched furniture, is beyond charming.
Throw in a 12-year-old â€œin-house scoundrelâ€ (as the counter lady called him) interviewing the patrons on art and trying to get your phone number and you’ve got yourself a cozy afternoon of studying, eating cheaply, and warding off precocious elementary school hustlers handing out their phone numbers on post-its. In his words, Revolution CafÃ© is â€œgoodâ€ and â€œfunâ€ because you can â€œbring babies and animals,â€ you can â€œplay the band,â€ â€œmake prank calls,â€ play with â€œtoys and stuff,â€ and â€œfart.â€ I saw no evidence of the last one, but if babies and animals are allowed in there who knows what kind of madness could ensue, right?
When she heard I was writing a piece about the cafÃ©, the super-cool lady working the counter offered to make me a FREE sandwich (I was pretty excited because it was the first kickback of my journalistic career, though I felt like somewhat of a fraud). In a few short minutes out came a gorgeous platter of fresh salad of baby greens, a gigantic sandwich of homemade hummus, sun dried and fresh tomato, olives, and the works, plus a banana to snack on later.
As if that weren’t enough, here are some more reasons to visit this well-kept secret: it’s open 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday, most things on the varied breakfast/sandwich/soup/salad menu are under $5, they serve beer and wine, they offer FREE internet, it is conveniently located right across the street from the West Oakland Bart stop, a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis stares at you while you pee, there are fresh $.75-cent pastries, actually good home-brewed $.50 coffee, and I’m pretty sure they offer FREE coffee refills and FREE coffee period if you bring your own mug. They just started having Open Mic Nite (1st Friday of the month, 8:30pm) and Comedy Nite (3rd Friday of the month, 8:30pm).
7th Street Revolution CafÃ©
1610 7th St @ Peralta St. [W. Oakland]
Open 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday