The 24 Best Patios in the East Bay
Drinks are good, drinks outside are even better, and drinks outside where the sun actually shines are even better... er!... which is why we put together this: a list of the best outdoor drinking (fine, and eating) establishments on the sunny side of the Bay.
(Sun actually out in SF? Are you sure?? Well we’ve got you covered there, too, with this round-up of 145 San Francisco patios, sorted by neighborhood.)
Jack London Square
What to expect: 15,000sqft of outdoor space that includes a beer garden, three 60ft bocce courts, fire pits (yep, more than one), and glorious views of the Bay. FULL STOP.
What you’re getting: Any of the 48 local draft beers, something from the healthy selection of bourbons, bacon Parm fries with buttermilk ranch, and a 10-spot order of the sweet chile wings.
What to expect: The huge lush patio with palms, succulents, and plenty of seating at communal picnic tables and long benches that line one side of the perimeter would be enough to lure us every sunny Saturday. The fact that there’s CORNHOLE tips the scales into “when can we move in?” territory.
What you’re getting: Imported and local craft beer from the constantly evolving menu and upscale bar bites, like a miso-braised pork sandwich and crispy fried chickpeas.
Jack London Square
What to expect: One of Oakland’s most important restaurants, which you can enjoy on a dog-friendly indoor-outdoor front porch with a bustling scene (get there early!).
What you're getting: The menu changes nightly, but the oxtail poutine is a mainstay because it’s so delicious.
What to expect: One of Oakland’s best beer bars with a humble-yet-totally-legit brick- and wood-laden urban patio.
What you're getting: Have the knowledgeable staff suggest a Belgian ale. Pair the brew with a light menu of charcuterie, cheese, and pickles.
What to expect: Texas-style BBQ served as it should be -- outside on picnic tables equipped with rolls of paper towels. Chuck Stilphen of The Trappist and Mikkeller Bar brings it with the beer selection, too, with 43 American craft beers on tap.
What you're getting: A meat plate with black Angus brisket, cornbread, and two sides of your choice (can’t lose with mac & cheese), plus one (to more-than-one) of the 43 beers on tap.
What to expect: A huge glass-enclosed beer garden, equipped with picnic tables and umbrellas/a clutch view of Lake Merritt. Great for dinner or appetizers and bottomless mimosa brunch on the weekend.
What you're getting: One of the 25 beers on tap and mini burgers (slightly bigger than a slider) with interesting combinations like fried chicken with jalapeno slaw and cilantro aioli.
What to expect: String lights from three majestic Redwood trees make for an enchanting, secret garden-like oasis, perfect for sipping one of Ali Tahsini’s sophisticated cocktails. Oh, and stay tuned for a new expanded deck the owner is building himself.
What you're getting: The owner’s favorite original cocktail, the International Mason, which is an invigorating blend of mezcal, cynar, house-made coffee bitters, and Dolin Rouge.
What to expect: Your latest reason to brave BART. A bi-level patio and rooftop garden with a living wall, Mad Oak replaces the former, long-missed Oasis nightclub, and it's intent on satisfying all of your day-drinking needs with food from a rotating lineup of local food trucks and its own pop-up kitchen currently hosting empanada purveyor Javi’s Cooking.
What you're getting: Fresh-squeezed Greyhounds and Javi’s Choripan Sandwich, featuring pork sausage and homemade chimichurri sauce.
What to expect: A serene, homey, urban oasis in the backyard of a refurbished Victorian. Shaded by palm trees with views of the park, you’ll forget this Brazilian lunch spot is in the middle of downtown.
What you're getting: The jerk chicken burrito or any of the other inventive Brazilian plates for UNDER $10.
What to expect: A simple, sunny waterfront patio that brings a bit of California’s seaside charm to an authentic German biergaten right on the Oakland Estuary. Rich person bonus: it has its own guest dock if you want to boat in.
What you're getting: A boot of Brotzeit Alt Shule, the ale brewed specifically for this location by Linden Street Brewery, and whichever house-made sausage on the menu tickles your fancy.
What to expect: A massive lakefront boathouse/seafood restaurant with umbrella-shaded seating on the pier is Oakland’s version of the SF classic, Beach Chalet -- only way warmer.
What you're getting: Ramos Gin Fizz and baked French toast at brunch; grilled fish tacos or spicy chicken wings any other time of day. And keep an eye out for the summer concerts on the dock to complete the ambiance.
What to expect: A laid-back patio with a few tables and barrels where you can set your drink down if you’re standing.
What you're getting: It's got 50 rotating taps, including everything from Hoparillo triple IPA to Caldera Mogli barrel-aged porter -- hit up the knowledgeable staff for drinking guidance. No food here, but you can bring in whatever you like.
What to expect: A massive sun-soaked biergarten with communal tables and Adirondack chairs and big flatscreen TVs where you can realize your dream of watching an important sporting event without sacrificing vitamin D.
What you're getting: One (or all eight!) of the local German-style beers on tap and chorizo or tri-tip from permanent pop-up kitchen Pedro’s Brazil Café. Also, keep a lookout for food trucks that stop by.
What to expect: A spatious, ray-rich, dog-friendly patio with giant wooden spools that double as tables, and literally every bartender in San Francisco and Oakland hanging out there.
What you're getting: Dealer’s choice -- as a bartender’s bar, this is the spot to be wowed by the cocktail creativity of whoever’s on duty. Try longtime bartender Patrick Brennan’s El Diablo, a mixture of tequila, mezcal, ginger beer, and lime.
What to expect: A funky graffiti-covered beer garden that’ll give you that "friend’s massive backyard party" vibe.
What you're getting: Boozy slushies and/or one of the 12 beers on tap. Oh, and definitely order one of the house-made sausages that change daily.
What to expect: An indoor-outdoor space with romantic string lights and floor-to-ceiling windows that can slide open and closed, depending on the weather (so... open).
What you're getting: A Linden Street brew or the Hemingway cocktail, plus the misto appetizer with fried avocado to share with the table, and the burger (that comes in a vegetarian version, too).
What to expect: You’re likely there for the live music, held inside at the intimate bi-level venue that plays host to reggae, hip-hop, and world music mostly, but the spacious interior patio is a huge bonus. Here you can still hear the music, as well as your date's voice, and get fresh air.
What you're getting: Only simple drinks here and basic beers on tap.
What to expect: A seriously chill, no-frills patio, which matches the bar’s super-divey insides. Bring your dog and enjoy whatever’s playing from the DJ booth and cooking on the grill.
What you're getting: $5 beer-and-a-shot deal and whatever’s grilling out back.
Jack London Square
What to expect: History (It’s the oldest bar in Oakland with tons of incredible history behind it. Case-in-point: the giant clock is frozen at the exact moment the 1906 earthquake rocked the area, forever warping the floor.), cheap drinks, and a basic, laid-back front patio that’s essentially just tables and chairs in front of the space.
What you’re getting: Lots of those cheap drinks
Jack London Square
What to expect: Well, Lungomare means waterfront in Italian, so definitely some waterfront, plus a whole bunch of patio space (80ish seats!), plus a clutch fire pit, and comfy couches.
What you’re getting: The Italian Job (George Dickel rye, Nocino della Cristina, house falernum, and mole bitters) and a half rotisserie chicken. Boss mode.
Jack London Square
What to expect: A ginormous patio, with white umbrellas providing sun cover for both regular four-tops and communal picnic tables. Also lots of pretty sparkly lights overhead -- if you’re looking for a great date patio, you just found it.
What you’re getting: A 1944 Mai Tai (1944 was a good year, dude) and pork ribs with guava BBQ sauce
What to expect: One of the best bars in Berkeley, and a patio befitting the status. This could very well be the best patio in the Bay Area -- it has multiple tiers, a fire pit, Adirondacks in back, and it looks sort of like a cross between an English hedge maze and an Escher painting. You could literally spend all day here, and a lot of Cal students/grads totally do.
What you’re getting: Pitchers of the house beer (the Honey Wheat is pretty great for patio drinking), plus a Xanthia pizza (which is basically a bacon, cheese, and potato pie).
Jack London Square
What to expect: Ample outdoor space that’s basically right on the water, a bar rail facing the Bay, and lots of sun cover.
What you’re getting: Pick a pizza, any pizza fired in the 800-degree wood-burning Valoriani oven, imported straight out of Italy.
What to expect: A pretty WOW patio, with both covered and uncovered seating areas, its own bar, and plenty of room for activities. For years Jupiter was the patio standby in Berkeley and this guy finally offered up some legit competition.
What you’re getting: A mezcal flight (#trust), guacamole, and allllllll the Berkshire pork al pastor tacos w/ pineapple-morita chile salsa