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Your Ultimate Guide To An Edgy, Laidback Oakland

BY NADIA CHO

Facebook Concept 47 by Beija-Flor Naturals

Facebook/Concept 47 by Beija-Flor Naturals

It’s no secret that Oakland, California has been on the up-and-up in recent years. As an amazing hub for culture, food and activism, it gives San Francisco a serious run for its money. One of the most talked-about developments in Oakland is Temescal, the district in North Oakland that borders Berkeley. The area only spans about ten blocks from 51st to 40th Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Broadway, but it has quickly become the go-to spot for shopping, eating and community organizing as well as showcasing how cool East Bay truly can be.

SEE ALSO: Mom & Pop BBQ in Oakland, CA: Brick Pig’s House is “That Home-Cooked Feeling”

Temescal is run by the coolest and hippest folks around as you’ll see recent grads clad in all vintage, hipsters of all ages, tattoos as far as the eye can see and most importantly, people who’ve called East Bay their home for decades and possess immense pride in their community.

Although Temescal’s transformation into a popular hangout district is inevitably a partial result of gentrification and an influx of young professionals, one can sense a robust effort to create a tight-knit community in which everyone values the collective interest and wants to protect the distinct identity of their neighborhood. This explains the high concentration of small, local businesses that dominate the area and sell locally made products and the works of individuals from around the East Bay community. This exceptional collection of businesses boasts high quality, one-of-a-kind products and services from artisan beauty essentials to carefully designed home plants to old school straight razor haircuts.

Here are a few of my personal favorite businesses—by no means an exhaustive list—in Temescal that embody the edgy, laidback and communal spirit of East Bay.

1. The Wine Mine 

5427 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (map, website)

The Wine Mine on Telegraph and 54th might as well be called “The Gold Mine” because it features so much wine of every kind from around the world at very affordable prices. The best part is that there’s no pretentious feel to the place, it’s just a tall, luminous cellar packed with wine, and it’s beautiful. The staff working there comes off as very friendly and helpful and just as unpretentious as the place itself. To top it all off, there are $1 wine tastings every Saturday from 2-5 in the afternoon. Cheap wine-o’s rejoice and head over to Telegraph Avenue right now!

Facebook The Wine Mine Oakland

Facebook/The Wine Mine

2. Marc 49

4915 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (map, website)

Marc 49 could possibly be the most stylish bar on the block with a warm, smoking room feel and a gorgeous, artsy patio in the back. It brings you incredibly creative products of mixology and cocktails named after bad-ass women like the Amy Winehouse that includes cabernet sauvignon, bourbon, maple syrup, bitters and served in a martini glass. It’s an ideal place for casual and intimate gatherings, perfect for those times when you want quiet ambience and some high quality alcohol.

Facebook Marc 49 Oakland

Facebook/Marc 49

3. The Avenue

4822 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (map, website)

If Marc 49 is where you can have a fancy mixologist cocktail and do some classy socializing, The Avenue is where you go after to drink cheap pitchers and hang out for the rest of the night. Everything about The Avenue is great as it’s dark, laidback and divey but not gross. The bartenders are fly and edgy and very chill. It’s the type of place where everybody probably knows each other, where you can go after work and unwind with beers, pool and good company.

Facebook The Avenue Oakland

Facebook/The Avenue

4. Concept Forty-Seven by Beija-Flor 

4727 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, California (map, website)

Concept Forty-Seven has everything you need to freshen up and make yourself beautiful. It’s got jewelry, clothing, home décor and organic beauty products made by over 75 local artisans and designers. You will definitely walk out with more than a couple of amazing finds as their jewelry lines are very trendy and exquisite and everything on their organic and natural beauty product wall smells and feels like heaven. The girl who was working at the time I walked in happened to be a maker of some of the skin products there and it was great to personally see the individuals that would benefit from purchasing locally produced products.

Facebook Concept 47 by Beija-Flor Naturals Oakland

Facebook/Concept 47 by Beija-Flor Naturals

5. Curbside Creamery

482 49th St, Oakland, CA 94609 (map, website)

Thankfully I no longer have to go to Ici in Elmwood and stand in horrifically long lines to get yummy ice cream with flavors like Thai tea or Chai. Curbside Creamery is located in uber-trendy Temescal Alley a strip of stylish, obscure shops and boutiques, a hipster’s wish come true.

This adorable ice cream parlor serves delectable flavors like vanilla with bourbon whiskey, gourmet ice cream cookie sandwiches like strawberry ice cream on vanilla shortbread and of course, cashew-based vegan options because this is the Bay Area after all. Another great ice cream shop is Tara’s, just down the street on Telegraph, which only uses organic ingredients from local farms.

Facebook Curbside Creamery Oakland

Facebook/Curbside Creamery

6. Bakesale Betty’s

5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (map, website)

Bakesale Betty’s is the type of place where people write reviews like “I would fight my grandma for the strawberry shortcake.” It’s a Temescal staple where people know that the fried chicken sandwich is out of this world and worth traveling to Oakland for.

The shop is very simple and only open from 11 am to 2 pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Bakesale Betty’s only serves a small number of products which mainly include cookies, pastries and of course their famous chicken sandwiches. Be sure to get there early if you want to try them sandwiches, because they stop serving once they run out of ingredients for the day!

Facebook Bakesale Betty Oakland

Facebook/Bakesale Betty

Do you have a favorite place to add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Nadia Cho contributor profile

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