North Oakland’s Bar 41 has seen a lot of change since Chris Parks first bought the place last year. Back then, it was called Cafe Underwood, and Parks was excited to transform it into a 1920s-inspired, French wine bar with charcuterie. That original idea faded fast. Over the past several months, Bar 41 has been gradually beefing up its cocktails, and now, it’s settled on a new food menu with a new chef at the helm.
“I feel like I’m constantly a caterpillar into a cocoon into a butterfly and rinse and repeat,” owner Chris Parks says with a laugh. “It definitely took a while to find out what the neighborhood wanted from me.”
Parks, who also helped open San Francisco’s Per Diem and Noir Lounge, recently brought on chef Mario Camargo to develop a permanent food menu, available from 5 to 10 p.m. daily. Camargo grew up eating both soul food and Mexican fare, and he merges them at Bar 41 as well as with his catering company Blake’s Grillery. The tacos might come with smoked brisket or pulled pork, while the traditional pozole is his grandmother’s recipe. See the menu, which is also vegan and gluten-free friendly, below.
As Bar 41 transitioned from a wine bar to cocktail bar, Parks also hired a new bar manager in Joshua Troy Atkins, who is making syrups, tinctures, and bitters in-house following stints at Whitechapel and Smuggler’s Cove.
The bar’s location on 41st Street near Broadway has recently become a hub of activity, with the recently opened Bierhaus and Tacos Oscar joining restaurants like Clove and Hoof and Teni East Kitchen, as Umami Mart plots a sake and shochu tasting room nearby along with Tenderloin soul food haven Brenda’s coming across the street.
Bar 41 Winter Menu by on Scribd