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Best Of Oakland and the East Bay 2017

Our annual celebration of The Town and the East Bay.

Winners

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Bar

Starline Social Club

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Private Elementary School,Best Private Middle School

St. Paul's Episcopal School

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Taco Truck

Tacos Sinaloa

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureEditors' Choice

Best Theatrical Turnaround

TheatreFIRST

Founded in 1994 by Clive Chafer, TheatreFIRST originally focused on international plays rarely seen locally. The next artistic director, Michael Storm, shifted the fare to more popular plays. When director Jon Tracy took over last year, he proposed a radical shift. The company now produces only commissioned new work, with casts and creative teams at least half women and two-thirds people of color. The first season has offered a heady mix of plays about colonialism in Southeast Asia, black Revolutionary War soldiers in the British Army, Japanese-American internment camps, and (in Lauren Gunderson and Geetha Reddy's HeLa, playing through June 17) the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks.

2017 Food & DrinkEditors' Choice

Best New Cocktail Bar

The Cat House

The Cat House features Art Deco wallpaper, an upright piano, and velvet upholstery, but unlike speakeasy-themed establishments that try to transport you to the jazz age, this Lakeshore Avenue bar puts on the brakes before going full Gatsby. You're more likely to hear Belle and Sebastian while sipping harmonious cocktails like the Hollywood Madam, Dear Irene, and La Madrina. A Jane Whiting Chrzanoska print of a woman draped in only a beaded headdress (and holding a curious black cat, naturally) now presides over the bar, but The Cat House pays respect to the history of the location with the sunny courtyard out back that is still home to a massive cactus (a holdover from the former occupant, The New Easy).

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Cheeses

The Cheese Board Collective

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureEditors' Choice

Best Summer Solstice Event

The Garden of Memory, Chapel of the Chimes

There's no way around it: A mausoleum is not the first place most people think of when looking for a summer solstice celebration. Julia Morgan's neo-gothic, labyrinthine Chapel of the Chimes, though, is filled with light and beauty, illuminated by skylights and filled with lush indoor gardens. So enchanting are these chambers that every June 21, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Chapel of the Chimes invites experimental musicians and sound artists to fill these nooks, hallways, and rooms for an event called The Garden of Memory. Some musicians play traditional instruments, some hook up motion detectors to create music based on the movement of people in the room. Getting lost in this environment is nothing short of otherworldly. Tickets are on a sliding scale, $5 to $15.

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureEditors' Choice

Best Underground Venue

The Monkey House

An intimate and endearingly quirky Berkeley performance space on lower University Avenue run by respected singer/songwriter Ira Marlowe, The Monkey House serves as a vital hub for musicians, poets, comedians, storytellers, actors, playwrights, and other creative types who thrive in tight quarters. Run on the down low in Marlowe's domicile, the monkey-infested venue celebrates its fifth anniversary with a June 24 benefit for Meals on Wheels featuring an array of acts, including Maurice Tani, Sugartown, Wishing & Bone, Shelley Doty, Dawn Oberg, The Vultures, Bay Station, 3-Drink Circus, Sasha Reid, and Jill McAnally.

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Preschool

The Renaissance International School

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Beer Selection

The Trappist

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Wine Store

The Wine Mine

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Golf Course

Tilden Park Golf Course

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Seafood Retailer

Tokyo Fish Market

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Comedy Venue

Tommy T's Comedy Club

2017 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Auto Repair

Torchio's Auto Repair

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