Oakland Nightlife

Sure, everyone knows there’s always a party going on in San Francisco, but hop across the Bay and you’ll find a more diverse, funky, wild and underground scene to explore. A good day to hit up Oakland for a party is on the first Friday of the month for the local “Art Murmur”. Throngs of hipster/hip-hopper/artsy-fartsy/punk/fashionista kids hit the streets for a monthly ramble through the many art galleries and bars of the Uptown neighborhood (read more). But much of the real action and revelry is on the sidewalks and blocked off streets where impromptu rap battles, band performances, and dance parties are commonplace. Food trucks, vintage car rallies, and outdoor movies are also on the roster. One Oaklandite called it “Mardi Gras of the West”. But if you miss First Fridays, don’t fret; you can still work your Oakland party by bar-crawling from downtown to uptown any day of the month. Start at Radio, hit the Layover, then head to a cluster of bars up the road including Dogwood, Make Westing (indoor bocce ball!), and the not-to-be-missed Café VanKleef. To end your night with real local flair, stumble up to Kim’s Backyard and the Stork Club before some local drags you to a house-party or hidden club in a super sketchy part of town. Don’t be afraid, it’s “how we do”.

by Anneka Imkamp (Oakland local)

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