What’s better than beer? Beer that’s enjoyed outdoors — whether in the summer sun or with warm evening breezes. Here’s a guide to popular beer gardens, breweries and bars with al fresco seating in Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and San Leandro. And let us know your favorites in the comments.
Husband-and-wife co-owners Carl and Linda Lasagna (whose grandfather founded the adjacent Westbrae Nursery) have created a family-oriented oasis in the heart of north Berkeley. Soccer fans are in luck, as Westbrae will be providing ongoing coverage of the World Cup on its two widescreen monitors for fans. And a second outpost of Pedro’s Brazil Cafe now sells its popular South American cuisine onsite.
2318 Telegraph Ave. (btwn. 23rd & 24th Streets), Oakland [map]
Ph: (510) 444-8353
Hours: Mon. 4PM-12AM; Tues.-Thurs. 11AM-12AM; Fri.-Sat.: 11AM-2AM; Sun. 11AM-12AM
In the former space of the now departed Mama Buzz coffeehouse, you’ll find reasonably priced comfort food in an urban beer garden setting at Telegraph. Two spacious patios (one indoors) furnished with wooden picnic tables and an eclectic collection of local art — including a “Lost Sloth” mural and pop-up shop by Oakland artist J. Otto Seibold — can accommodate lots of customers. There’s an array of appetizing housemade sausages offered daily, and numerous sandwiches, burgers and breakfast items are also available. There’s no shortage of beverages either; they’ve got a variety of local and regional draft and bottled beers — including Oakland’s Line 51 Brewing’s Imperial India Pale Ale — and soda, coffee and Temescal kombucha made by Arbor Cafe.
The Trappist Beer Cafe
460 8th St. (btwn. Broadway & Washington Streets), Oakland [map]
Ph: (510) 238-8900
Hours: Everyday 12PM-12AM; Fri.-Sat. 12PM-1AM
Facebook: The Trappist’s Insider Page
The veteran venue on the list, Chuck Stilphen and Aaron Porter’s Belgian-style pub has been pouring brews in the Old Oakland neighborhood for over 8 years. Customers can unwind in the Old World brick-and-wood ambience of the front or back bars or relax in their outdoors back patio. There’s also a limited food menu, including a plump, juicy bratwurst poached in Sculpin IPA with a potato hash ($12) and the delectable pastrami sandwich with Gruyère, housemade sauerkraut and dressing on rye ($10).
Lost and Found
2040 Telegraph Avenue (btwn. 20th & 21st Streets), Oakland [map]
Phone: (510) 763-2040
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11:30AM-10PM; Fri.-Sat. 11:30AM-12PM; Sun. 11:30AM-10PM; Closed Mondays
Facebook: Lost and Found
From the owners of the music and art lounge The Layover, husband-and-wife team Christi Vaughn and Tim Martinez debuted the renovated 9,000 sq. foot building and patio in mid-April. The airy indoor space has several communal tables and two adjacent bars where patrons can drink and dine, while the sprawling outdoor patio is a literal beer garden that’s decorated with flowers and plants maintained by graduates from a gardening program at San Quentin. There’s numerous cafe and picnic tables as well as a smattering of cozy nooks for kicking back in the casual setting. And for customers in a more playful mood, there’s also a ping pong table and bean bag toss for fun and games. Lost and Found has 20 beers on draft — many of which are local offerings, like the 101 North Heroine IPA from Petaluma ($6) — although they’re currently limited to just beer and wine. Food-wise, Chef Dennis Yadroff (whose previous stints include Haven, Sweet Woodruff and FuseBox) has created an eclectic menu with global influences like kimchi deviled eggs with green garlic ($5.)
The Beer Shed at The Dock
95 Linden Street at 7th Street, Oakland [map]
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 5:30PM-9:30PM
Beer Shed: Mon.-Fri. 4:30PM-Closed; Sat.-Sun. 11:30AM-Closed
The Beer Shed is Linden Street Brewery‘s newly revamped tasting room with both indoor and outdoor seating. They feature their own beers — most at $5/pint — as well as other California breweries on tap. You can nosh on soft preztels or popcorn ($5/each), or head on over to James Syhabout’s The Dock for gourmet dishes such as fried fennel and onion petals ($10) and a falafel waffle ($13).
Located between St. George Spirits and Rock Wall Wine Company on the western boundary of Alameda Point, Faction’s kid and dog-friendly outdoor concrete patio with picnic table seating affords a scenic view of the city. There’s also an indoor tasting room and shop that sells growlers and other merchandise. Try their tasting flight that offers 5 oz. samples of all six of their beers for $13. And check online to see if any food trucks will be available onsite in case you’re hungry for snacks to accompany your beer.
Drake’s Barrel House
1933 Davis St. (btwn. Phillips Lane & Beecher Street), San Leandro [map]
Ph: (510) 568-BREW
Mon.-Wed. 3-9PM; Thurs. 12-9PM; Fri.-Sat. 12-10PM; Sun. 12-7PM
(First Fridays: 12-4pm full service, 4pm-6pm to-go & retail only)
Facebook: Drake’s Brewing
The Barrel House, the tap room and retail shop for Drake’s Brewery, has a big warehouse with indoor seating as well as a deluxe outdoor patio. There’s usually a food truck parked onsite during tasting hours, so check their schedule to see what’s available — or buy one of the locally-produced edibles they have for sale. Sample a taster tray to easily peruse their 24 beers, and you can also purchase growlers, six-packs, 22 oz. “bombers” and kegs.
464 3rd St. (btwn. Washington & Broadway), Oakland [map]
Ph: (510) 452-2337
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 12-10PM; Fri.-Sat. 12-11PM; Sun. 12-9PM
Facebook: Beer Revolution
This is a true beer aficionado’s spot as Beer Revolution has 50 rotating taps and hundreds of domestic and imported bottles for sale in their indoor coolers (you can take them to go or drink one down right there for a $1 surcharge.) Grab food from their neighbors — Annex Burger or Souley Vegan — to eat inside the bar or outside on their comfortable wooden patio.
This legendary bar (now a designated historic landmark) has been pouring drinks since the late 1800s in the heart of Jack London Square. You can either squeeze into the tiny indoor pub and marvel as its collection of artifacts plastered on the walls and ceilings (and try not to spill your drink on its famous slanted bar), or sit out front on the patio that faces the waterfront. Neighboring restaurants Bocanova, Forge, Haven and Lungomare also have ample outdoor seating.
This boxing-themed bar with a minimalist, lounge-like interior and enclosed wooden patio sanctuary is a fine retreat to imbibe all manner of beers, wines and spirits. While they have an excellent list of local and imported brews on their menu, their whiskey, tequila, mezcal and cocktails are the true highlights. And just a few doors is Rotten City; head on over or call for delivery if you’re wanting a delicious slice of pizza.
1000 Embarcadero, Oakland [map]
Ph: (510) 645-1905
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11:30AM-11PM (kitchen closes at 9:30PM); Fri. 11:30AM-12PM (kitchen closes at 10PM); Sat. 10AM-12PM (kitchen closes at 10pm); Sun. 10AM-9:30PM (kitchen closes at 9pm)
Facebook: Brozeit Lokal
Just past Jack London Square off of the Embarcadero, Chop Bar‘s Lev Delany has created a waterfront oasis that’s perfect for large crowds in fine weather. Brotzeit’s kitchen utilizes whole animal butchery in preparing their sausages and burgers, and all of their sauerkraut, sauces, pickles and mustards are also housemade. Brozeit Lokal has a rotating menu of German, Belgian and Californian craft beers. A pint of Fort Point / Mikkeller Double IPA will run you $7, and if you’re feeling extra thirsty, go for a liter of Kolsch ($14) or a two-liter boot ($30) while you admire the view of the Brooklyn Basin.
Berkeley’s Moxy Beer Garden has transformed the old Casa Vino wine bar into a casual venue with plenty of seating for groups in their covered outdoor patio or inside the bar. They offer a wide selection of beers on tap from Drake’s, Black Diamond, Thirsty Bear and several other local breweries. Moxy also serves an extensive menu including burgers made with premium beef sourced from Pacific Pastures Farm in Hydesville, CA.
Pyramid Brewery and Alehouse
Address: 901 Gilman Street (between 7th & 8th Streets), Berkeley [map]
Hours & Tours:
Mon.-Thurs. 11:30-10:00PM; Fri. and Sat. 11:30-11:00PM; Sun. 11:30-10:00PM
Tours are held everyday at 4:00PM, and last appx. 45 minutes long.
Facebook: Pyramid Breweries
Housed in a vast, visually-stunning renovated warehouse in northwest Berkeley, Pyramid Brewery hosts a full-service restaurant for lunch and dinner in addition to showcasing their complete range of standard and seasonal beers. Several dishes on the menu are even prepared with their brews, like the mac & cheese flavored with their Alehouse Amber ($5). There’s plenty of seating available in their cavernous indoor space or congregate outside on their patio, which stays cozy year-round with heat lamps. Buy growlers, beers and other items at their store, and take a 45-minute tour of their brewery which starts everyday at 4PM. They’ve also got a second location in Walnut Creek.
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill
1520 Lakeside Drive (btwn. 17th & Oak Streets) Oakland [map]
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11AM-10PM; Sat. 10-11PM; Sun. 10-10PM
Facebook: Lake Chalet
While Lake Chalet has their own beers on draft produced by their sister location, the Beach Chalet in San Francisco, the main reason to head to this restaurant is to take in the lovely views of Lake Merritt from its expansive outdoor area — especially at night, when a twinkling constellation of lights illuminates the waterfront. Have lunch, brunch or dinner, or can catch a gondola ride from its deck if you’re in a romantic mood.
Rosamunde Downtown Oakland
Address: Swan’s Marketplace
911 Washington Street (btwn. 9th & 10th Streets), Oakland [map]
Hours: Sun.-Wed. 11-10PM; Thurs.-Sat. 11-11PM
Facebook: Rosamunde Sausage Grill
Downtown Oakland’s Rosamunde is conveniently located right next to Taylor’s Sausage in Swan’s Marketplace, a venerable 20-year-old institution that supplies some of its delicious meats to its neighbor. They’ve got the same sausage-laden menu as their Mission and Lower Haight counterparts, and there’s 16 craft beers on tap that you can drink outside on their sidewalk patio or at one of the communal tables indoors.
Two other places I left off my original list but also highly recommend are the German restaurant Speisenkammen in Alameda and one-of-a-kind Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa. Several other readers also suggested Tap 25 in Livermore, as well as Freehouse and Jupiter in Berkeley.
Photos by Jenny Oh