The East Bay bar scene is heating up and with that comes a bevy of places serving good times alongside a selection of strong cocktails, wine, and beers. There are a number of breweries expanding with new taprooms, new wine bars pouring exceptional selections, and cocktail bars featuring top-notch food to boot. Here are 13 of the newest bars and taprooms in the East Bay.Read More
Here Are the Hottest New Bars in the East Bay
A guide to the newest East Bay bars
Bentley’s Cocktail Lounge
The self-proclaimed birthplace of the martini has a new hometown bar with the new Bentley’s Cocktail Lounge. There’s plenty of outdoor seating perfect for the warm weather and sipping a Martinez-appropriate martini or one of the bar’s popsicle-infused drinks.
Morgan Territory Brewing has moved closer inland from Tracy, planting a flag in Pleasant Hill with its new taproom. Expect the beers that Morgan’s become known for, but also expect some seasonal brews to switch things up. There’s no food served on-site, but outside food is welcome.
Luna Sea Lounge
Luna Sea Lounge is a new nautical-themed bar from Santa Cruz-based vodka brand Luna Sea Vodka. While it only makes sense the lounge would feature an outsized number of Luna Sea Vodka-based drinks — as it should — it’s still a proper bar with other liquors in play, deployed in some serious cocktails. The Carrot Head features a mix of mezcal, carrot juice, ginger, and lime; the Velvet Buzzsaw, meanwhile, blends gin, Campari, raspberry, and rhubarb. There’s also a limited small plates menu, just in case you get snacky over drinks.
Hal's After Hours
One of Albany’s favorite coffee shops, Hal’s Office, has recently taken the leap into wine bar-dom, turning the day cafe into a nightlife spot dubbed Hal’s After Hours. The cozy space features seating indoors and out, and you’ll see plenty of neighbors enjoying low-intervention wines with tinned fish, empanadas, and charcuterie and cheese plates.
A new winemaker has joined the ranks of the Gilman District neighborhood known for its urban wineries. Nori Nakamura has opened a production facility and tasting room for his brand, Noria Wines, on Gilman Street this past August. Nakamura launched the brand in 2010, but this Berkeley location is Noria’s first tasting room.
Boo Loo Lounge
A new tiki bar stumbled into Orinda, complete with a thatched roof bar, tropical plants, and moody lighting. Expect plenty of classic rum drinks, such as mai tais and daiquiris, and tiki vibes to spare. The new bar is located next to the Orinda Theatre, making it an ideal pre- or post-movie stop.
Berkeley has the honor of being the site of the only U.S. taproom of 400-year-old Austrian brand Trumer Pils, and East Bay beer fans certainly aren’t complaining. The brewery has had the location since 2004, but it’s only now (as of October 2023) opened the taproom side of operations as “part of a renovation project at the existing brewery,” SFGATE reports.
Bartavelle has reopened on San Pablo Avenue, shifting from its annex window into a new space that customers can sit in, and with its reopening, wine bar alter-ego Bar Sardine has also made a comeback at night. Expect interesting wines from smaller producers using regenerative farming techniques and bar snacks that shift with the seasons, but share the same ethos as the food from its daytime cafe.
Cellarmaker Brewing Co.
Cellarmaker has reopened in the previous Rare Barrel space on Parker Street, welcoming customers to its new taproom and beer garden. Expect a mix of the brand’s beers by the can and bottle, as well as on tap; meanwhile, the kitchen isn’t quite running yet, but there are snacks for sale. Following quickly on the heels of its Berkeley debut, Cellarmaker also opened another East Bay taproom, this time in Oakland at 300 Webster Street.
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New bar the Barbary has taken over the former Libertine spot on Grand Avenue, and owners (and sisters) Narges and Nala Gardizi created a space they hope is a “midpoint between a tiki and a traditional dive bar feel,” Nala Gardizi told Oaklandside. You’ll find fun portraits of animals dressed in old-timey military dress and some fun cocktails — including plenty of grogs — befitting the Gardizis background working at Emeryville’s Trader Vic’s.
Good Luck Gato
Good Luck Gato is dubbed an “izakaya cantina” — a mix of casual Japanese and Mexican drinking establishments, but also a shorthand way of explaining the roots of this new spot which features dishes and drinks that pull from both cultures. Pick from a mix of plates, such as the uni elote, or corn on the cob boiled in dashi and served with sea urchin butter and cotija cheese. For cocktails, try the Emerald Zone, which features nori-infused tequila, mixed with mezcal and gentian liqueur, plus cucumber, yuzu, lime, and sesame oil. Some fun sake items are on the list, such as a can of sparkling peach sake with jelly — heads-up it requires shaking before opening.
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Yes, there’s another Cellarmaker location on this list, but that’s only because the beer brewery has been on an expansion tear, taking over the former Rare Barrel space in Berkeley and adding on this Oakland location in 2023. There are, of course, a number of Cellarmaker beers available, but also in the mix at this location are Detroit-style pizzas and a smattering of other dishes, such as adobo spare ribs, black cod with garlic sesame udon, and a house Caesar salad.
Homegrown Hops Brewing
The popularity of Homegrown Hops Brewing has helped the business grow into a second location in downtown Livermore. The taproom stocks the brand’s beers, of course, and hosts live music on Saturday, which makes the space lively. Food from New Tradition Kitchen keeps the night rolling.