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The Best Date Spots in Oakland

The best date spots in the neighborhood

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Nailing the perfect venue is an absolutely essential component to the success of a date. But here's the thing: What makes a great first date spot is definitely not the same as what makes a place the best to celebrate a special occasion or even a second date — so deciding where to take a plus-one doesn't always get the same answer. Every situation has different needs — neighborhood, vibes, price point — and it can be tricky to find the right bar or restaurant if you've never been there. So next time you're trying to pick a fitting location, just consult this guide. We've got you covered if it's Oakland you're cornering.

In need of the best date spots in other neighborhoods? Check out this ultimate guide to dating in San Francisco.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

First date, drinks:  Ordinaire

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At this combo bar and wine shop, friendly and unpretentious dudes will ply you with expert knowledge of funky, offbeat wines that can be purchased by the glass. If the date goes well, buy a bottle off the shelf and drink it at a dimly-lit table over some prosciutto and cheese.

First date, coffee: Blue Bottle Coffee at W.C. Morse

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Blue Bottle coffee, light snacks, and sugary waffles are the building blocks to any good relationship. Combined with high ceilings, huge windows, and gleaming white tile, this historic building is a pleasant place to get to know one another. Plus, the fact that there aren't hordes of laptoppers silently using Wi-Fi here (there isn't any) makes it fertile ground for conversation.

Second date, moderate: A16 Rockridge

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Snuggled into Rockridge's main drag, A16 is a great upgrade for a second date. Share pizzas, spirituous cocktails, and antipasti by the glow of the pizza oven, or while looking out onto the idyllic neighborhood streets.

Second date, expensive: Haven

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Down by the waterfront, Haven is a cozy neighborhood gem (that happens to be in Jack London Square). Dinner is a prix-fixe (three or four courses) of seasonal, family-style food that will hopefully get everyone on the same page. Sharing is caring, and you might as well get that out of the way on the second date.

Where to lock it down: Commis

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The only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in the East Bay is an obvious choice, and one of the grander gestures available. It's a relaxed vibe with super precise, flavorful food — make a reservation at the chef's counter for a memorable experience and a first-hand look at the action.

LTR, moderate: Ramen Shop

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Waiting in line can be a strain on a new relationship, but a couple well-versed in each other's mood swings can certainly make it to dinner at this bustling neighborhood spot. Grab one of the excellent cocktails and a snack in the bar, and prepare for ramen greatness.

LTR, expensive: Camino

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Just because you've been together forever doesn't mean you have to be boring. This rustic, chill spot offers some of Oakland's best food straight from the wood-fired hearth. It's cozy and upscale, making it the perfect place to catch up over craft cocktails, rosé, and whole-roasted Dungeness crab (when in season).

Breakup spot: The Alley

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Breaking up to the sweet sounds of Rod Dibble's piano playing is one of the more poetic ways to end a relationship. This divey saloon is dark, with private booths and stiff drinks, making it the perfect place to cut ties.

First date, drinks:  Ordinaire

At this combo bar and wine shop, friendly and unpretentious dudes will ply you with expert knowledge of funky, offbeat wines that can be purchased by the glass. If the date goes well, buy a bottle off the shelf and drink it at a dimly-lit table over some prosciutto and cheese.

First date, coffee: Blue Bottle Coffee at W.C. Morse

Blue Bottle coffee, light snacks, and sugary waffles are the building blocks to any good relationship. Combined with high ceilings, huge windows, and gleaming white tile, this historic building is a pleasant place to get to know one another. Plus, the fact that there aren't hordes of laptoppers silently using Wi-Fi here (there isn't any) makes it fertile ground for conversation.

Second date, moderate: A16 Rockridge

Snuggled into Rockridge's main drag, A16 is a great upgrade for a second date. Share pizzas, spirituous cocktails, and antipasti by the glow of the pizza oven, or while looking out onto the idyllic neighborhood streets.

Second date, expensive: Haven

Down by the waterfront, Haven is a cozy neighborhood gem (that happens to be in Jack London Square). Dinner is a prix-fixe (three or four courses) of seasonal, family-style food that will hopefully get everyone on the same page. Sharing is caring, and you might as well get that out of the way on the second date.

Where to lock it down: Commis

The only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in the East Bay is an obvious choice, and one of the grander gestures available. It's a relaxed vibe with super precise, flavorful food — make a reservation at the chef's counter for a memorable experience and a first-hand look at the action.

LTR, moderate: Ramen Shop

Waiting in line can be a strain on a new relationship, but a couple well-versed in each other's mood swings can certainly make it to dinner at this bustling neighborhood spot. Grab one of the excellent cocktails and a snack in the bar, and prepare for ramen greatness.

LTR, expensive: Camino

Just because you've been together forever doesn't mean you have to be boring. This rustic, chill spot offers some of Oakland's best food straight from the wood-fired hearth. It's cozy and upscale, making it the perfect place to catch up over craft cocktails, rosé, and whole-roasted Dungeness crab (when in season).

Breakup spot: The Alley

Breaking up to the sweet sounds of Rod Dibble's piano playing is one of the more poetic ways to end a relationship. This divey saloon is dark, with private booths and stiff drinks, making it the perfect place to cut ties.

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