I keep hearing about Oakland’s Actual Café. And although I have yet to visit this particular spot, I’m planning on it. And you should too. It actually (wah wah) sounds pretty rad. Here is why:
1. They’ve got this whole “we love bikes” thing going for them. Their website even says: “Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not on a vintage track bike, or a one-of-a-kind Italian gold-plated number, or some featherweight aerospace kinda thing. Your rusty old Huffy is beautiful. Trust us.” And for some reason, I DO trust them. I don’t, however, trust other café-goers. They have bike racks inside. Which means no more standing in the rain trying to get your slipper lock in place. Now, if you’re an OCD misanthrope as I am, you can just look up from your computer every 3.4 seconds to make sure it’s still there.
2. Actual Café has “Actual Movies,” which are FREE movie screenings every Wednesday. Now, SF Funcheap says that this Wednesday they are showing Food, Inc. and serving FREE popcorn. I would point out the hypocrisy of serving FREE popcorn while airing a documentary whose villain is the corn industry, but there’s no point. Firstly, because I checked their calendar and it looks like they’re actually (is that getting old yet?) showing The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (the only live-action film ever made by Dr. Seuss). And secondly, because FREE stuff is always good. And so is popcorn. Although, as a vegan I never get to enjoy the fake-butter-riddled kind at movie theaters anyway. Man, my misanthropic juices are flowing today, aren’t they? There are some awesome showings coming up in the next few weeks (Almost Famous and the Truman Show!), so check out their schedule on their website.
3. “Laptop Free Weekends.” I’m not sure if this is a pro or con, but every weekend, the café turns it’s wireless router off. I think the purpose of this is community-building, by encouraging conversations instead of anonymous web-surfing (read about it here!). Now, based on my usual garden-y, vegan-y, granola-y posts, you’d think I’d love that. But today I hate everyone, so right now this sounds like a terrible idea. It will, however, decrease the percentage of “missed connections” being posted on Craigslist. Without a computer to hide behind, you might actually (now I feel like I can’t even use this word) get up the nerve to talk to that hot dude over there. But it is a cool idea. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, especially since the owner blogged that he’s been “weathering the slings and arrows of outraged technophiles all year.” I’m not one, I promise!
4. They really do seem pretty down-to-earth over there. Not like some of the stuffy pretentious cafés who put up the pretense of non-pretension. At Actual, their menu has categories like “Breakfasty Goodness” and “Lunchy Stuff.” And if you just read Number 3, you know how much I like to put “-y” at the end of nouns. The menu also features “Cheap(er) Stuff” and “Expensive(r) Stuff.” Which makes it really easy for the BrokeAss readership to decide what to order.
5. Here are the etceteras. Acutal Café takes part in Oakland’s First Friday Art Murmur. Awesome. They are very transparent about their business practices and keep customers up to date on their blog. Respectable. They use very little packaging, and when they do it is recycled and biodegradable. Ideal. They buy local. Perfect. They have an in-house bike-powered machine called “Sparkle Motion.” Intriguing. They host weekly events like live music shows, clothing swaps, and end-of-the-week “Decompression Sessions.” Fun! They even use an XtraCycle in order to run a car-free business. Amazing.
6334 San Pablo Ave. (@ Alcatraz) [Oakland]
Monday-Thursday: 7am to 8pm
Friday: 7am to 10pm
Saturday: 8am to 10pm
Sunday: 8am to 8pm