alaMar Owner Nelson German to Open New Bar

Sobre Mesa is set to open early next year.


Image courtesy of Nelson German

Nelson German, owner and executive chef of Oakland's alaMar Kitchen & Bar, plans to open a new cocktail lounge in Downtown Oakland early next year.

Emphasizing Afro-Latino culture and cuisine, Sobre Mesa — whose name means "over the table" — will feature vibrant decor and refined tropical drinks inspired by German's African ancestry and his roots in the Dominican Republic.

“I’d like to start another renaissance for people of color by revealing Oakland’s stylish, sexy side,” said , who explained at Reddit recently that after working in New York City "alongside a legit Iron Chef," he relocated to California "for love," but after a few initial jobs in San Francisco he realized that "I couldn't get a sous-chef position because I was 'overqualified.' I always knew I wanted to open a restaurant" — so, in 2014, he launched alaMar. 

Sobre Mesa's ambience, tapas, and cocktails will evoke Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other sunny spots that German hopes will help guests feel as if "they're on vacation." 

Bartender Susan Eggett from San Francisco bar Last Rites consulted with German on the creation of Sobre Mesa’s cocktail menu, which will include the Mama Juan — a drink containing Dominican rum, Cocchi Americano, Punte e Mes, Nocino, yerba maté-spiced honey, and ginger and was inspired by Chef German’s father. The bar's titular Sobre Mesa cocktail will include rum, mezcal, pandan syrup, falernum, soursop juice, and lemon. 

Located in the space at 1618 Franklin St. which formerly housed The Payback, the mew bar will emphasize small-production spirits with intriguing backstories — such as rum distilled from sugarcane grown on a family-owned Louisiana plantation, and Träkál, an emerging and exciting spirit made from indigenous Patagonian fruits and botanicals.

“Oakland gave me my first restaurant," German said.

"I’ll always be indebted to the city for that."

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