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Best Of Oakland and the East Bay 2017

Our annual celebration of The Town and the East Bay.


2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best East Bay Beer

1500, Drake's Brewing

2017 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Hair Salon


2017 Food & DrinkEditors' Choice

Most Punk-Rock Place to Eat Fried Chicken (Vegan and Real)


Really, there's no competition. Japanese fried-chicken pop-up Abura-ya has nailed the punk-rock attitude, from the Ramones-ified logo to the music playing through the speakers, the no-frills dining room, and the handwritten menu board. Don't associate "punk rock" with apathy or slovenliness, however; the staff behind the counter is super friendly, and the karaage-style chicken the place is known for is freshly made and thoughtfully sourced—not to mention delicious. It's also gluten-free, and there's a tasty vegan version as well. With generous portions, plenty of side dishes, and nongentrified prices, Abura-ya is a welcome addition to downtown Oakland.

2017 Goods & ServicesEditors' Choice

Best Hacker Space

Ace Monster Toys

Want to make your own guitar? How about a battle bot? If you've got a dream, Ace Monster Toys has got a machine for it, and a class for how to use it. Many passion projects have gotten their start at this sprawling hacker space. Ace has 3-D printers, large computer-controlled routers for carving intricate details out of blocks of wood or metal, a textile room, and, best of all, a vibrant and enthusiastic community of intensely creative and endlessly supportive individuals. Where else can you rent a high-powered infrared laser for only 25 cents per minute firing time? Even Darth Vader pays at least twice that.

2017 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Building Contractor

Acme Builders Inc., Paul Peczon

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Small Plates

À Côté

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Nonprofit Group

Alameda County Community Food Bank

2017 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Plumbing Contractor

Albert Nahman Plumbing & Heating

2017 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Waxing Salon

Amber's Essential Touch

2017 Goods & ServicesReaders' Choice

Best Record Store

Amoeba Music

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureEditors' Choice

Best Parkour Teacher

Andrey Pfening

This Zen Jedi of parkour brings a sense of creativity and play to his teaching of this often-intense sport. From building obstacle courses in the gym to blazing a trail through the tangled limbs of trees like Tarzan, Andrey Pfening brings a passion and deep knowledge of his craft that few possess, and he always brings it with a mischievous Russian smile. Pfening teaches group classes at Athletic Playground in Emeryville, and also offers private classes. Pfening is one of the few people in the Bay Area who has been doing parkour for more than 10 years, performing in both the San Francisco Opera and American Ninja Warrior. He's well versed in acrobatics and dance, and breaks down complicated and difficult moves with an effortless elegance.

2017 Goods & ServicesEditors' Choice

Best Succulents for a Striking Garden

Annie's Annuals

Whether your garden could use a towering, waving succulent (like the Octopus Agave), an eye-popping edger (like the “instant origami” of the Red Pagoda), or a blanket of hardy ground cover (such as the Plum Fuzzy), the sprawling assortment of healthy flora and bounty of plant knowledge at Annie’s Annuals nursery will inspire your gardening journey. Founder Annie Hayes and gardeners and propagators on staff lovingly present rows upon rows of unexpected and versatile plants, dotting the beds with meticulously written, joyful placards highlighting plant care and fun trivia; they’ve done their homework so you can go back to digging in the dirt. 

2017 Food & DrinkReaders' Choice

Best Bakery

Arizmendi Bakery

2017 Goods & ServicesEditors' Choice

Best Local Sports Gear Made by Local Sports Fans

Bart Bridge

In the Bay Area, residents like to rep their teams with the pride of champions. But have you ever considered that the money you paid for that Warriors jersey, Raiders hat, or A's T-shirt actually has very little relation to your town? For Bart Bridge owner Luke Fraser, rocking "official" apparel that supported big business somewhere else was a problem with a clear solution: create, manufacture, and sell original designs from local makers that funnel funds right back to the home of the fans and makers. Whether you take BART or the bridge, you're showing a real brand of team loyalty when you rep Bart Bridge, and these aren't the run-of-the mill cliches everybody else at Oracle Arena or the Coliseum will be wearing.

2017 Lifestyle & LeisureReaders' Choice

Best Yoga Teacher

Baxter Bell, Baxter Bell Yoga and Therapeutics

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