Are you an Oakland local and find your invitations to hang out in your beloved city turned down purely based on the location? I know I can’t be alone.
I understand that this is in part due to the fact that Oakland tends to make national headlines (on television and the Internet) for something crime-related. You may also come across an op-ed piece about how much our sports team (or arena) “sucks.” Recently, Bay Area sports fans have made headlines because of their behavior at games, too. I think I’m not the only one that feels that it’s unfortunate that these incidents give our area a bad name. However, if you sift through the headlines, you will find that Oakland has a vibrant, ever growing, up-and-coming dining/music/art scene that I feel very proud of. Consider the following tidbits.
We have some great music venues and have held sold out shows at the Fox Theater and Paramount Theatre. Like stand up? Dave Chappelle has graced the stage at The New Parish several times. Do you like fine dining? Commis on Piedmont has received a Michelin star this year. For the truly artistic and adventurous, the local art community has gathered together to create the highly popular Oakland Art Murmur. Dozens of local art galleries, cafes and venues provide their walls to showcase art, local bands play music and hundreds of locals walk up and down Telegraph.
Silicon Valley might make all the headlines with tech giants like Google and Facebook, but many have no idea that Oakland is home to one of tech’s beloved internet radio companies, Pandora. The latest issue of San Francisco magazine usually has plenty of Oakland shout outs in its Food and Wine section. Do you love beer and like a wide variety of rotating taps along with regular visits by local breweries? Look no further than Beer Revolution. You even have The Trappist right around the corner if you like your beer imported and Belgian. Did I mention you can eat the best fried chicken sandwich at Bakesale Betty’s on Telegraph?
You also may be unaware that 2011 saw the first annual Oakland Battle of the Taco Trucks. Once restricted to a San Francisco location, renowned sushi bar Ozumo has expanded with an Oakland location. Yoshi’s Jazz Club is one of the worlds most respected jazz venues, hosting jazz greats across the years. In addition, reviews for Flora Restaurant & Bar, Wood Tavern, Café Biere, Hudson and Chop Bar are through the roof on Yelp. Homeroom on 40th specializes in mac and cheese made with artisanal cheeses from local cheesemakers.
Next time you are invited to Oakland, remember there are plenty of awesome things to do in this city and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised if you look beyond the negative headlines.
Give Oakland a chance!
Carlos Cisneros lives off of Telegraph/Alcatraz and tries to support our community, especially the local music scene. He founded a music blog in June 2010 at http://bayareanative.com and he works at Pandora Internet Radio on Webster Street. The rest of his links across the web can be found at http://about.me/carloscisneros!
You Tell Us is Oakland North’s community Op-Ed page, featuring opinion pieces submitted by readers on Oakland-related topics. Have something to say? Send essays of 500-1,000 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
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