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Where to Eat and Drink in Temescal, Oakland

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Temescal district, Oakland, Calif.  Genova Delicatessen, Key System Western Car Barn, and roof of Temescal Branch Library on left. Roma Cafe and Tower Theater on right

Ah Temescal, arguably the best neighborhood in Oakland to eat and drink in for well over a hundred years.  From the 1890’s to the 1960’s Temescal was known as the East Bay’s Little Italy.  Italian delis, gardens, restaurants, and even an opera house once dominated 51st St.  In the 1940’s a great influx of Southern soul food came to Oakland and Temescal as well, in the 1970’s Ethiopians began moving into Temescal bringing East African cuisine and a great coffee culture, and in the 1990’s Korean immigrants built up Oakland’s ‘Koreatown’ just south of Temescal, and great Korean BBQ joints began setting up on Telegraph, so the neighborhood’s food scene is diverse, delicious, and storied.
Then in the 2000’s a wave of bearded people introduced a heavy influx of ‘modern Californian cuisine’ and fixed gear bicycles to Temescal, so naturally, houses now cost 1 million dollars, and non-ironic, ironic tattoos dominate a fairly sophisticated food and bar scene.  Here’s a guide on how to spend 12 hours in Temescal, eating and drinking to your delight.

1. Drinking Patios

Temescal Brewing
4115 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Personally, I like to begin a foodie binge on a big patio, with a delicious beer.  We started our day at Temescal Brewery, a place where the IPA is freshly made and the decor will make you think you’re sitting inside a La Croix can.  It’s like if Zeitgeist went to rehab and then became besties with Gwenith Paltrow.   The place is almost too bright, clean, and happy to be a ‘brewery’, but it’s a break for the status quo and it’s a refreshing one.  The large mural outside by David Polka is a fun, cartoony, skyline surrounded by succulents, picnic tables and cinderblocks.  And why not?  Now, if you have children or a dog, there is a drinking patio custom made for you just down the street.  It’s Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack on 4006 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and it has a large patio with a much bigger drink selection.

2. Lunch

Many people will mention Bakesale Betty as a spot for good chicken sandwiches, (and they are good) but I’m not much of a ‘stand in line on the sidewalk for food kind of guy’ once I’ve had a couple beers.  I look for a comfortable seat and with some California comfort food.

Hogs Apothecary
375 40th St, Oakland, CA 94609

Hogs has German style writing on the windows and a quote from the legendary foodie M.F.K Fischer on the wall, so right away you know they are not fucking around.  It’s a place that makes up a new menu frequently because they focus on what’s fresh that day.  Good pork, good sandwiches, good ingredients, and they have a constantly revolving beer selection from all over California that is fantastic.

Home Room
400 40th St, Oakland, CA 94609

If you’re a mac n cheese lover, there is no substitute for Homeroom, they live, eat, sleep, and slurp mac & cheese.  You can get any kind of mac, from Siraccha mac, to goat cheese mac, you can add seemingly anything from pineapple to walnuts to it, it’s pretty amazing.

Cholita Linda
4923 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

The tacos here a fresh and delicious.  A lighter lunch with an artistic touch.  I might at that there are at least a dozen more lunch options to mention here.

Evenin’ Drink

The sun’s going down, so it’s time for a drink.  Temescal’s an ‘eat, drink, eat, drink, eat, drink drink’, kind of place.  If you need to walk off your food, then mosey over to the Temescal Alley.  it’s a cluster of artsy shops and ice cream vendors, and people love it.   If you want to keep the train a rollin’ then you need to refuel.  So let’s talk bars.

The Avenue
4822 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Happy hour at The Avenue.  Pool, skulls, skateboards, and a strange mixture of Halloween and Christmas decor make the Avenue a great spot to meet weird people and have a good, stiff, well drink while looking for a bit of trouble.  Rock n rock is on the jukebox, and a good story is just waiting to happen.

Roses Taproom
4930 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

If you’re more of a pink chardonnay and baby stroller type, go to Roses Taproom.  It’s a smiley, rosy-hued, wine bar, that has a neighborhoody vibe too.

308 41st St, Oakland, CA 94609

 For serious cocktails and late-night eats, Underwood is now reopened and creating its own scene.  The kitchen’s open late, and the cocktails are fun and made with fresh juices.  The place has a new upstairs opening soon and legitimate charcuterie, we came for cocktails and food and left with bellies full of burrata and bubbles in our brains.

Korean Porn
2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Now, if you’re all tuned up, and your husband/wife has taken the children/dog home, and you want to keep the party going… well, there’s only one choice, Korean Porn.  It’s a funky, one of a kind, late night food, drink, and somewhat sleazy k-pop themed restaurant a 5 min ride from Temescal.  It’s actual name is Dan Sung Sa, but no one calls it that, they call it Korean Porn, I imagine because the food is Korean and the outside of the building looks like a porn shop from the 1990’s.  The inside is decorated with pinups, Korean alchohol ads, and it’s full of well-lubricated college kids and local weirdos of every sort.  Keep it goin’ !
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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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