With an alluring name — and lighting, cocktails, and music to match — Hello Stranger will greet its first customers this Friday, June 1. The bi-level bar at 1724 Broadway, just above 19th Street BART in the former Hill’s Shoes space, features several booths for lounging and a dance floor for all your moves (with a disco ball and a DJ set up for encouragement).
Hello Stranger’s owners, Summer-Jane Bell, Josh Trabulsi, and Bill Stephens, are regulars, rather than strangers, at most East Bay establishments. Bell began bartending in Oakland before rising through the ranks to become president of the local US Bartenders Guild chapter. Stephens, her husband, is Oakland born and raised, and Trabulsi has been on the local service scene for some time, most recently at Burritt Room in SF.
Bell says she’s “[picked] up the best aspects of bar programs around the world that I enjoyed” In her many cocktail and spirits stints, and is bring it all “back home to Oakland.” Drink options include an eponymous Hello stranger, described as “spritzy’ with passion fruit, Spanish vermouth, and sacred bond brandy. For something more bitter, there’s Hell’s Belles with Wahaka Mezcal, Campari and Cocchi Rosa, and torched Rosemary. And for something... let’s say dank, try an Oaksterdam, with Dickel Rye, Henesey Miro Vermouth, and OG Kush Terpenes. They’ve also got beer, wine, and non-alcoholic indulgences.
To inaugurate the bar (and the DJ booth) Oakland Faders DJs including DJ Platurn will spin weekend, with parties on Friday and Saturday night. Also in terms of highlighting local talent, the bar will display work from local artists in a gallery space. Up first is Alex Abajian of Glow Glass Studio.
Starting Friday, Hello Stranger will be open at 1724 Broadway from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.