Appetite: Cocktailing the East Bay

A Banana Mamacow at Forbidden Island in Alameda

In this week's paper we poured out our thoughts on two delicious new additions to the East Bay bar scene, Honor Bar and the New Easy. Below, we glass up some other exciting East Bay drink destinations we think are worth your swizzle:

Oakland boasts the biggest concentration and range for East Bay cocktails, some of its consistent best at Adesso, casual drinks with bocce ball at Make Westing, elegant classic-style at Flora, pizza with cocktails at Marzano and Boot & Shoe ServiceMiel for tequila/mezcal drinks, Conga Lounge and divey Kona Club for tiki kitsch. Berkeley keeps it real with organic drinks at Gather, and artisanal cocktails at Revival Bar & Kitchen. The little island of Alameda hosts the beloved tiki gem, Forbidden Island, launched in part by tiki/rum expert Martin Cate who went on to open SF's Smuggler's Cove. Here, cheesy B-movie tribute nights and stmulating live music flow along with Banana Mamacows. As mentioned above, Emeryville now has two destination-worthy bars for cocktail lovers: Prizefighter and Honor Bar.


Albany is blessed with three old school classics merely blocks from each other along San Pablo Ave.: the musty, tiki vibe of Club Mallard, the mid-century, retro swank of Kingman's Ivy Room, and the edgy comfortability of Hotsy Totsy Club. Though none of these three are exactly craft cocktail bars, Hotsy Totsy comes closest, with house cocktail sodas, gracious bar manager Jessica Maria, and stellar guest bartenders like Scott Baird of The Bon Vivants, who bartends here weekly. They've kept on longtime bartender Chet, in his 70's, who has been tending there the better part of a couple decades. Their gorgeous, restored Wurlitzer jukebox is a treasure of rare and popular 45s, which you can play for free to your hearts content. Hotsy Totsy encourages lingering with friends under pressed tin ceilings, rocking out to excellent tunes hand-selected by staff. Funky '70's garage sale paintings line the walls and hilariously creepy movies (like For Your Height Only starring Weng Weng) play silently on the flat screen, add to the edgy, blissfully divey, convivial spirit.

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