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Best Of Oakland and the East Bay 2016

The most amazing finds of the year.

Winners

2016 Goods & ServicesEditors' Choice

Best Art Store

Flax Art & Design

After spending its 37-year tenure in San Francisco on Market Street, Flax Art & Design has chosen a bittersweet move to a 1920s architectural wonder with exposed trusses in Oakland, a move sure to benefit the local art community. The community has welcomed Flax with open arms. A $99,000 city grant went toward internal renovations, and a $30,000 grant was applied to external innovations, making visiting this new 14,500-square-foot space a must. The trademark art store has been hailed as one of the best in the Bay Area for decades. Find anything you need here for your inner artist or gifts for your artist pals, from drafting pens and journals to spray paint, dye, and pastels.

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Florist

Flowers by Myrna

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Eyeglass Store

Focal Point Opticians

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Shopping District

Fourth Street

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Financial Planner

Frank Pare, PF Wealth Management Group

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Frame Shop

Galleria Scola Custom Framing

2016 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Games and Toys

Games of Berkeley

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Hardware Store

Grand Lake Ace Hardware

2016 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Farmers Market

Grand Lake Farmers Market

2016 Lifestyle & LeisureEditors' Choice

Best Tuesday Night Bargain

Grand Lake Theatre

The bright lights and old movie theater vibe aren’t the only things that attract customers to the Grand Lake Theatre. On Tuesday nights, you can see any movie—3-D or not—for only $5, one of the best deals in the Bay Area where nightly admission at those other first-run theaters are three or four times that price at prime time. The theater keeps its movies up to date, usually has something kid-friendly, and offers bargain deals other days of the week, too: on Wednesdays, for instance, you can get a free bag of popcorn with admission, and every day before 6 p.m., it costs only $6 to get in. The staff members are always smiling, happy to answer your questions, and guide you to your theater. It’s a real gem, and is definitely worth the $5 on Tuesdays.

2016 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Art Gallery

Gray Loft Gallery

2016 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Massage Therapist

Hana Levin, M.A., C.M.T., Melt Massage

2016 Food & DrinkEditors' Choice

Best New Vegan Eatery

Hella Vegan Eats

Following Hella Vegan Eats’€™ constantly changing menu on Instagram will keep you thinking about the newly opened venue—none other than a classic car gallery—constantly. Sylvia and Tiff Esquivel first opened shop as a food truck in Oakland circa 2009 but now operate out of Oakland’s Classic Cars West Beer Garden. They gather much of their cuisine influence from a visit to South America, a mission they embarked on to ponder their South American roots. Examples of recent delights included a bowl of Kennebec potato poutine piled high with jalapenos, cashew cheese, and seitan, and gluten-free cornflake battered chicken-fried waffles. In-house pastry chef Ashley Shotwell concocts doughnuts that seem to come from a secret unicorn fairyland—marbled cherry, strawberries and cream, and cinnamon roll.

2016 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Dance Studio

Hipline

2016 Food & DrinkEditors' Choice

Best Revival Beverage

Hopscotch Corpse Reviver No. 2

There’s no better place to sip a refreshing Corpse Reviver No. 2 than at the retro Southern-feeling Hopscotch. The Corpse Reviver first appeared in literature as early as 1861 in the humor magazine Punch and was intended as a hair-of-the-dog hangover cure. Hopscotch’s version of the No. 2 classic is composed of gin, lemon, Kina, Combier, and absinthe. Wherever you sit in this restaurant, which serves classic American food with a Japanese twist, feels just right: The main room has a Prohibition-diner vibe with water-fountain chairs and checkerboard floors, and the room next door is gray walls, baroque wallpaper, and subversive artwork—like the giraffe in a military uniform. The cocktail makes a great accompaniment to the oysters with the blanc de blanc mignonette, followed by the First Base Burger with griddled beef tongue. Or anything really.

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