The Heart & Dagger Saloon: Bring Me Your Tired, Your Poor- And Anyone that Appreciates a Good Beer Garden
It’s almost dangerous that I live around the corner from the Heart & Dagger Saloon in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland, because a mere glimpse of it makes me want to forget my woes-of-the-moment and relax in the perfect Oakland weather. When you first walk inside, it looks like a cozy (read: small) space with a counter bar and a pool table, like a friend’s finished basement. However, keep on going because the spacious beer garden makes the Heart & Dagger the ultimate neighborhood watering hole.
Calling itself a “rock and roll bar”, you’ll find your share of the inked and pierced, but every time I’ve been there I’ve been there I’veseen everyone from preppy college kids pounding beers to middle-aged women holding a knitting circle. I’ve even celebrated my friends’ birthday here by holding a raucous game of Apples to Apples (hey, don’t judge, it’s fun, especially after a few beers) and not only did anyone blink an eye, but also came over to cheer us on.
Forget the typical restrictions of your usual bar/restaurant; for one, dogs are allowed on the back patio. In fact, it’s hard to avoid the affections of the owner’s dog, who roams around nuzzling customers. Happy hour, from 4pm-7pm, includes three dollar draft beer and $3.50 rail drinks. Otherwise, drinks are pretty reasonable (beers are about five dollars, rail drinks eight bucks).
The bar doesn’t serve food, so they are more than ok with customers bringing in your own cheap food- especially from the neighboring Lanesplitters pizza or Kwik Way. Hell, bring your own brown-bag lunch if you want.
Need more incentive? The bar offers free wi-fi so spend your afternoons here working on your on-the-verge of being discovered unpublished novel/screenplay. There’s also free parking in the lot across the street.
The Heart & Dagger Saloon
504 Lake Park Ave. [Grand Lake]
photo by Paula Wirth