[Photo: Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo]
Back in December, we got wind of a new Oakland bar opening up near The Fox in Uptown. Now, Drexl (previously reported as "Drexel") has quietly opened up shop in the former Belly Roll Ben's space. It's been revamped and refreshed by Demetrius "Deech" Chapin-Rienzo and Adi Taylor, who've dreamed of owning a hometown bar together since becoming friends at Berkeley High.
Chapin-Rienzo is no stranger to the restaurant and bar scene, having worked alongside Nate Valentine on projects like Mamacita, Blue Barn, and Umami. (Valentine's most recent project is the newly opened Harper & Rye.) Drexl is aiming for an eclectic, somewhat industrial vibe, with a focus on old elements of the interior—like concrete columns, wallpaper, plaster walls and old fir floors—that were uncovered during the remodel.
The focus is to be a neighborhood bar with a solid cocktail list and beer selection, though it high-end mixology is not the aim, says Chapin-Rienzo. He notes that they've gone for better-than-average well alcohol and a craft-beer focus in the bar's eight taps (think Fort Point Kolsch, Calicraft Oaktown Brown, Deschutes Black Butte Porter and more). There will also be three wines on tap, a red, a white and a rosé, plus a tap for a pre-mixed cocktail of some sort.
Though Drexl is a straight-up bar with no articulated food component, they are looking into some ideas for integrating eats into the experience, whether that be a pop-up, a food truck arrangement, or some other yet-to-be-determined solution. What they do have, however, is a skee ball setup upstairs, plus widescreen TVs for sporting events.
Though they've kept their opening fairly quiet, Drexl is now serving daily from 4pm-12am, and will probably be open later that that on weekends.