Beginner’s guide to Oakland compares all your favorite spots in SF to their East Bay equivalents

Our pal Sarah recently “retired” to Oakland but realized that the only way she could get her SF friends to visit would be to educate them about all the rad things the East Bay shares with the city, so she constructed this comprehensive compendium of comparisons between the various bars, restaurants, and other fun that each side has to offer.  Even your groceries are covered:

Rainbow Grocery (The Mission) / Berkeley Bowl (Berkeley)

Can you imagine Rainbow but twice as large, half as expensive, and with a fantastic meat and seafood selection? If not, go visit Berkeley Bowl, or its newer location, Berkeley Bowl West. The Bowl is an East Bay staple, and can satisfy every hippie, health nut, hipster, and politically conscious bone in your body.

She’s got an Oakland answer for everything from Bender’s and Bi-Rite to Toronado and Tartine, so if you’ve ever been the slightest bit reluctant to venture to the other side, please do read on.


A lovely video of Oakland, by Conrad Tse. Doesn’t it look nice? Or maybe it’s just the fancy lens and soothing piano music. Either way, you’ll all be living there once your parents cut you off, so start getting to know it.

Not So Down With OPD

Our blogosphere comrade generic1 was held up by gunpoint a couple of days ago, and couldn’t get the police to show up to take his report. So the next day he walked right up to an Oakland Police Officer in the same area he was assaulted, and this guy flat out refused to take his report.

If you read the full story, the officer in question probably wasn’t trying to be a dick; it’s just policy. But still, if someone says, “hey, I was held up by gunpoint here,” shouldn’t that take priority?

Full scoop here, which includes interesting details like the fact that apparently cops are as addicted to their iPhones as I am.

So Why Is AC Transit So Awesome?

Between their service cutbacks, perpetual lateness, shameless venting on twitter, colliding with pedestrians, and providing free showers to residents on Fillmore St., it’s clear that MUNI is in the middle of an epic downward spiral of fail. Why? State budget cuts, they say.

But waitaminute… I can think of this other city that also happens to be in this state: Oakland. You know, that place you never go to in the “Eastern Bay”?

Ooh, shiny! This picture is from my phone, not an AC Transit informative brochure.

I work in Downtown Oakland every day and I sometimes use AC Transit. During a recent ride, it occurred to me that there are some really amazing things about it:

  1. I’ve never had to wait longer than 10 minutes for a bus. The “walk or ride” calculation never becomes a factor.
  2. Buses are modern and clean. Seriously, look at the picture. It looks like interior of an airport shuttle.
  3. The realtime Nextbus predictions are actually accurate and seem to be able to distinguish between buses going in the opposite direction.
  4. No one sneaks in the back door of the bus or flashes a dubious expired transfer. Everyone walks in through the front and pays their fare.
  5. There’s this awesome concept of “Rapid” lines. Example: the 72 stops wherever you want, but the 72R will only stop at major intersections, often shaving off 10-20 minutes of travel time. Does the 49 really need to stop every block on Mission St? A 49R that stops at Van Ness, 16th, 24th, then Valencia would change my life.
  6. As far as I know, no one has ever had to defend her seat with karate on AC Transit (less tempers, less crazies).

So why doesn’t AC Transit suck? I’m sure there are a lot more factors here, but their annual operating budget is $320 million, while the SFMTA is a whopping $808 million.

Damn, maybe I just need to get my bike fixed already and stop thinking about MUNI.

The Bay Area A.V. Club Guide To How To Have Fun This Summer If You Live In SF And Your Best Friends Live in Oakland

[I did this feature for the Bay Area print edition of The Onion. They ran a trimmed version in their summer double issue last month, but since they don't put anything online, here it is. --Allan]

If your best friends live in Oakland, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the East Bay this summer. Today, the A.V. Club presents a guide to making the best of it.

First, try to think of every trip to Oaktown as a mini-vacay to a bustling mini-metropolis. Stroll Lake Merritt’s shoreline and you’ll swear you’ve landed in some tiny little bastard version of Chicago or something. Enjoy the view for a bit, then walk a couple blocks down East 18th Street and finally see a movie at the Parkway Speakeasy (1834 Park Blvd., 510-814-2400, As you’ve surely been hearing for years, it’s an historic movie house full of couches and beer and pizza, and it is every bit as fun as it sounds.

For slices and pints sans cinema, head over to Lanesplitter (4799 Telegraph Ave., 510-527-8375, It’s somewhat less polished than your beloved Little Star, but it has a longer draught list and equally mouth-watering pies.

Speaking of long lists of beer, on August 11th you can all take a mini-road trip down to Hayward for the Bistro’s 10th Annual IPA Festival (1001 B St., 510-886-8525, India Pale Ales will be ferried in from microbreweries all over the world, so designate a driver and drink up.

On your way back north, go to an A’s game. A’s games are great because you can enjoy the Great American Pastime without all the Bonds-related drama and T-Third-related transit confusion. Plus, the Coliseum is doing that cool thing where instead of sending you tickets, they just text you an image of a barcode.

Now that you’re back in Oakland, if you’re not familiar with the Oaklandish organization (, read up. They sponsor subcultural events throughout the year, including this week’s shadow-puppet production of Sinbad the Sailor by Teatro Penumbra at the Parkway.

Suppose one of your friends just graduated from Mills and is in need of a place to host a celebratory barbecue. Redwood Bowl in Redwood Regional Park (10570 Skyline Blvd., 888-EB-PARKS) is an ideal place to grill up some bockwurst and toss around the ol’ Frisbee. The meadow’s uneven terrain means barefoot Ultimate can be hazardous, so be careful.

In the evening, check out one of those fabled warehouse shows, perhaps at a place like Ghost Town Gallery (2519 San Pablo Ave., 510-393-1876, They’re cheap and laid back and charmingly sketchy – welcome respite from the too-familiar routines at the city’s proper rock clubs. You might meet local superstars like Brian Glaze and they might regale you with advice about how to get rid of clingy groupies (tell them you have AIDS) and how to pick up girls you actually like (tell them you’re friends with the Time Flys).

If local superstars aren’t enough, plenty of international ones play in the East Bay too. Canada’s Fucked Up will grace the stage at Gilman (924 Gilman St. in Berkeley, 510-525-9926, on June 30th, and Daft Punk and the Rapture will rock UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre on July 30th. Either of these would be a great sendoff for your friend that’s moving to Germany or somewhere the following week.

Lastly, if one of your friends tries to drag you to Ikea, there might be a sick view of the melted 580 connector from the parking structure, but other than that, leave your wallet at home and resist, resist, resist.

Whatever you end up doing, the looming question all damn night will of course be how the hell to get back to the city. Inevitably, we all end up sprinting toward a BART station at 12:26. That sucks, because you find yourselves sweaty and winded, and half the time you don’t even make the train. Alternatively, you can search the cryptic maze of schedules on for info on the All Nighter bus, but you’re drunk for goodness’ sake.

Instead, just opt for a sleepover. This way, you can drink ’til the bars close, stumble over to Taqueria Sinaloa (2138 International Blvd., 510-535-1206) for some carnitas, and then go home, watch Moonwalker again and pass out. In the morning, maybe you can all go to the city together…

East Bay kids are perfectly adept at coming to the city an Amoeba run and a show at the Fillmore, so be sure to turn your friends on to something new this summer! Show them Thrillhouse (3422 Mission St.) and Force of Habit (3565 20th St., 415-255-PUNK, in lieu of Amoeba, and then drop into Rite Spot Cafe (2099 Folsom St., 415-552-6066, for a much more intimate concert experience (The A.V. Club recommends Ash Reiter‘s girl-with-a-big-electric-guitar crooning on June 25th or Toshio Hirano‘s little-Japanese-man country twang on June 30th).

By the way: Since your friends have nothing but a tape deck in their ’92 Acura Legend, be sure to have a few choice cassettes (think NPG-era Prince or the Ghostbusters soundtrack) ready to go for their ride back to Oakland. They’ll appreciate it.

 Browse more Mission Mission coverage of music, travel, food and drink, Muni, and The Onion.