3758 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA
"We went a little crazy — it's like Montana and Wyoming had a dirty love child," bar owner & restauranteur, Alexis Filipello, describes her newest Oakland re-invention, The Lodge on Piedmont Ave. & MacArthur Blvd. The interior is floor-to-ceiling wood and filled with campy-rustic details such as mounted animal heads and furs (there’s an entire bear fur pinned to the ceiling), antler light fixtures, framed paint-by-number landscapes, and pressed leather seats. The menu leans meat-heavy with charcuterie, sausages, and more; though, there is a veggie sandwich and grilled cheese for non-meat eaters. Drinks focus on simple classic cocktails, local beers and Spanish & Italian wines, plus a fun piña colada slushie machine!
Next, we head to Geo Kaye’s, an unfussy bar tucked far enough away from the quickly gentrifying Uptown but still close enough to be a destination worth going to when you want to get away from the glitz of Telegraph Avenue. Located across the street from an all-night laundromat, Geo Kaye’s is an untouched gem that steers away from the overdone ambiance of other local bars, opting, instead, for neon beer signs and a digital jukebox. With an unpretentious selection of liquors and beers that can cost you all of $5.25 (CASH ONLY!); this place is also dog-friendly, there’s usually one or two lying around. Everyone ends up chatting toward the end of the night when the booze has set in and the place seems even more intimate.