A new bar and lounge alights on top of the new Kissel Uptown Oakland hotel later this spring, bringing with it a menu of local craft beer, wine, and signature cocktails from beverage and operations director Gabriel Bryant. Called High 5ive, the East Bay sky lounge will also offer a menu of “approachable American food” from executive chef Nelson Ramirez, per an email from a representative. And if you’re not particularly enthused about the idea of new hotel bar, just remember how rare it is to find a rooftop perch from which you can enjoy a good cocktail in the Bay Area: High 5ive promises an outdoor terrace with sweeping views of Uptown Oakland and the bay beyond.
A sample menu teases signature cocktails like the Tony Bennett, a smoked Manhattan; the Beautiful Ones, an aviation-style gin cocktail with a striking purple hue thanks to crème de violette and a blueberry shrub; and the spicy Solar Flare, a blood orange tequila cocktail powered by chili-infused agave and a habanero tincture. Cocktails will be served in vintage glassware that’s both “chic, understated, and photo-worthy,” a representative promises. The rest of the beverage menu encompasses draft beers — with a focus on Bay Area–made selections from names such as Almanac, Fort Point, East Brother, and Federation — and a tight list of wines by the glass.
On the food side, a list of small plates spans the usual suspects. There’s a meat and cheese board and a trio of dips (hummus, olive tapenade, and baba ganoush), as well as artichoke and spinach dip and a couple of flatbreads. On the more exhilarating end of the spectrum, look for peri peri chicken thigh skewers and carnitas tacos on corn tortillas.
By the way, the bar’s name has a bit of Bay Area history tied in. Stick with us here: per a spokesperson, the first high five happened in 1977, during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. Dodgers outfielder Dusty Baker hit a home run and as he crossed home plate, Glenn Burke triumphantly lifted his hands in the air — Baker, not knowing what to do, slapped it. Burke, who was openly gay, was later traded to the A’s, where he became an icon in the gay community. He also brought his famous high five with him, and in San Francisco’s Castro district, the high five became “a defiant symbol of gay pride.”
As far as the space, it’ll be modern with sleek, low seats and a touch of greenery via hanging plants. Bold colored seating will add texture to the room — from chartreuse velvet armchairs and bar stools to natural leather banquettes and lounge seating upholstered in aubergine velvet and green. But the big draw will certainly be the outdoor terrace, which will be decked out with fire pits and lounge seating. Located at 437 25th Street in Oakland, High 5ive is expected to open in February or March.