Emeryville as Entertainment Mecca

Cocktails on tap, high-end shopping, and artistic sensibilities greet visitors to the little city by the bay.


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Pizza making at Rotten City Pizza.

Photo by Pat Mazzera

Sure, many people associate Emeryville with Pixar, big-box stores, and Ikea traffic, or even card clubs, race tracks, and Wild West politics. But you don’t have to dig deep to find a group of artists of the printmaking or cocktail-shaking kind. Explore what Emeryville has to offer through its side streets and main drags. Exploring this little gem, where Oakland and Berkeley rub shoulders with the little pro-business-behemoth of Emeryville, is a rewarding way to spend a late summer or an early fall Bay Area day. And when you are in the mood for shopping at well-known retail giants, you can do that, too.

 

Eat & Drink

Barely more than 1 square mile of land, Emeryville packs in plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes. On Hollis Street, you’ll find New York-style pizza topped with crimini mushrooms or pork belly porchetta among other fresh ingredients at Rotten City Pizza. 6631 Hollis St., 510-655-2489, www.RottenCityPizza.com.

Grab a slice to go and head down the street to Branch Line, a newly opened bar by Rotten City owner Jonas Bernstein that also serves bar bites. It feels more like you’re hanging out at somebody’s newly renovated apartment than a business. Branch Line offers eight rotating cocktails on tap with a huge selection of more than 30 bitters and tinctures made in-house. 5885 Hollis St., 510-547-9000.

Other inventive cocktails can be imbibed at Prizefighter. On a spring day, the patio walls were padded in an intense magenta thanks to the blooming bougainvillea. Inside, the spacious bar offers up areas for you to lounge with your friends, both humans and pooches, and play shuffleboard. 6702 Hollis St., www.PrizefighterBar.com.

Beers and billiards—12-plus beers on tap and 20 tables to be more specific—go together over at the new location of The Broken Rack across Powell Street. Meanwhile, the dimly lit Honor Bar serves up the Bleeding Monarch, made with bourbon and passion fruit, and the gin-powered Queen Anne’s Revenge to keep you honest. If there’s a line, grab a cold beer from an ice bucket near the front as you wait; pay for it when you make it to the bar. 5768 Peladeau St., 510-652-9808, www.TheBrokenRack.com; 1411 Powell St., 510-653-8667, www.HonorEmeryville.com.

Photo by Pat Mazzera

Doyle Street Cafe.

For breakfast or brunch, head over to the popular Doyle Street Cafe. Just don’t come too famished on a weekend: There’s typically a wait to grab a seat inside behind the sunny windows of the diner. From stuffed French toast dipped in pure vanilla cream butter to poached eggs covered in homemade Hollandaise sauce, the menu doesn’t disappoint hungry breakfast and lunch lovers. 5515 Doyle St., 510-547-3552, www.DoyleStreetCafe.com.

Speaking of lunch, the Bay Area’s own Pied Piper of sandwiches, Ike Shehadeh, has opened his 18th location for Ike’s Place in the Parc on Powell building. Now it’s easy to snag favorite sandwiches like the Rickey Henderson and Going Home for Thanksgiving sandwiches. Hollis and Powell streets, www.ILikeIkesPlace.com.

 

Shop

For shopping large retail chains on this side of the tunnel, everyone knows to head to E-ville for shopping in centers like the swanky Bay Street. Here you’ll find household names—Gap, J Crew, H&M—next to some local businesses like Cornology, where you can buy bags of fresh movie popcorn to munch on as you stroll the promenade or to enjoy during a flick at the AMC movie theater. 5616 Bay St., 510-655-4002, www.BayStreetEmeryville.com.

 

Photo by Pat Mazzera

Print something cute at Western Editions.

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At Western Editions, founders Erin Fong and Taylor Reid not only “print cute shit,” they teach you how to do it a slew of monthly workshops. Join them to learn more about the history and techniques of letterpress printing using their Vandercook press. Your group will pick one Pantone color to work with as make your own greeting cards and practice calligraphy. You can even arrange to do the class in a private group. 510- 545-WEST, www.WesternEditions.com.

Don’t miss the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts from Oct. 3-25. The juried exhibit showcases upwards of 100 artists who live or work in the city. Sculptures, paintings, and performance art pieces are just some of the mediums explored at this free event that is now in its 29th year. At press time, the location had not been determined. 510-652-6122, www.EmeryArts.org

Find your center at Square One Yoga with classes such as the candlelight Mindful Flow session that costs $10 to attend. You’ll also find sessions focused on stress relief or prenatal care. A fun perk: Attend an evening session and reward yourself with a complimentary glass of vino afterward. Does it get more relaxing than that? 1540A 62nd St., 510-406-9048, www.SquareOneYoga.com.

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