I am wrapping up my “shop local” series with a toast to the wonderful & welcoming wine and bottle shops Oakland has to offer. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I am ready to cross the last name off my list and shift my focus to the celebrating side of things. From the library warmth of Ordinaire to the sleek warehouse space of Oakland Crush, there is no shortage of inviting shops to pop into to pick up a great bottle of wine, beer or spirits to add to your holiday and New Years celebrations. These are a few of my top picks.
The name refers to “vin ordinarie”, translated as “everyday wine”. While the words ordinary and everyday may not impart excitement off the bat, it is the concept behind the phrase that has the appeal. It is the idea of wine that you set aside for conversations with friends, for those times that really are the essence of “the good life”. Standing in the kitchen cooking dinner with family and friends around you; sitting on the couch with your girlfriends talking about life, love and all that good stuff. These moments are what call for a glass (or two) of vin ordinaire.
With a focus on wines produced naturally, Ordinaire operates both as a wine shop and wine bar where you can sit down for a glass and even enjoy a snack of cheese and charcuterie. The shop is a warm and inviting space reminiscent of a library, with classic titles tucked between inviting bottles. Why not pop in to grab a few bottles for your upcoming celebrations and then sit down for a glass with a book. You are in the holiday home stretch and you deserve it :o)
3354 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
Hours: Mon – Closed, Tues-Sat 12:00pm-10:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-5:00pm
Lots of great info on their website, including details on their wine club: www.ordinairewine.com
Alchemy Bottle Shop
Just a couple blocks down Grand Avenue from Ordinaire, Alchemy Bottle Shop is a must if you have a cocktail or two in mind for your holiday celebrations. This bottle boutique focuses on small producers who specialize in the craft of spirit making. The word Alchemy itself is defined as turning something common into something special. While “common” isn’t a word I would use to describe the amazing bottles displayed on the shelves, the shops beautiful space invites you to come in and grab the ingredients to create the perfect cocktail concoction. With knowledgeable staff and wonderful recipe cards on hand, you will walk out the door feeling like the art of cocktails is common knowledge.
The downstairs space is dedicated to spirits which are organized by type, while upstairs you will find a nice selection of wines against the backdrop of a rotating art installation. On display during my visit was “Tahiti & Beyond”, a showing of large scale oil abstracts by Tana Sommer.
There is no doubt that a visit to Alchemy Bottle Shop will give you top quality ingredients to a perfect holiday cocktail. Whether classic or contemporary, it will be anything but common.
Alchemy Bottle Shop
3256 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
Hours: Mon-Tues 12:00pm-7:00pm, Wed-Fri 12:00pm-8:00pm, Sat 11:00am-8:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-5:00pm
Visit their website for more information, including details on upcoming tastings as well as their clubs: www.alchemybottleshop.com
Winding our way further down Grand Avenue, we land at another fabulous wine shop, Bay Grape. Owned by a husband & wife team, Josiah Baldivino & Stevie Stacionis, this community centric shop has everything you need to ensure your holiday libations are top notch. Bringing substantial experience in the industry together with a double dose of sommelier certification, these two can help you pick out the perfect bottles for your holiday menus with ease. The shop is a relaxed & comfortable space that feels much like being in a friends home; Josiah, Stevie, and their 8-year-old pooch Napoleon are on hand to guide your selection. On the day of my visit, the christmas tree was going up, the pup was curled up in his corner, a record was on the turntable, and folks were popping in for a glass while sharing the story of their Thanksgiving celebration.
As they state on their website, Josiah & Stevie are “mega-easy-going”, which is a welcoming phrase for someone like me. I have always found purchasing wine a bit intimidating, but walking into a shop that helps you make a selection without one ounce of pretension is refreshing. It makes you WANT to learn more about wine. So head over to Bay Grape for a few bottles for your upcoming celebrations, and be sure to check out their extensive schedule of tastings and Sunday School classes.
PS: be sure to check out the fun gallery wall when you walk in. Stevie & Josiah asked their favorite wine makers around the world to create a piece of artwork that tells patrons a bit more about who they are and the wine they produce. Such a cool way to introduce maker to drinker!
376 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
Hours: Mon-Fri 12:00pm-10:00pm, Sat 11:00am-10:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-9:00pm
Lots of great details and info on their website: www.baygrapewine.com
A fabulous new wine shop has opened its doors down in the Jack London Square area, Oakland Crush. Another welcoming spot with the goal of community, connection, and support of sustainable and family-owned, Oakland Crush is a wonderful addition to the burgeoning warehouse district of Jack London.
Owner Erin Coburn, in collaboration with the architects of Medium Plenty, has taken over space in a historic warehouse building and infused it with a blend of modern white, warm wood, and ethereal globes of glass. Local woodworker Rusty Dobbs and glassblower Michael Meyer have supplied examples of craftsmanship that are on par with the quality of wines sold here. I can tell you I now daydream of a wood table with a gorgeous crack in it like the one you can set your glass on in this shop. Yet another example of why wine shops are becoming the new style of neighborhood bar, Oakland Crush is sure to be a hit in this neck of the woods.
420 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Hours: Mon – CLOSED, Tues-Sat 11:00am-8:00pm, Sun 11:00am-7:00pm
So, I am kicking myself for running out of time before I could get to a couple of our local beer shops as well. I love a cold beer and when it comes down to it, my favorite adult beverage tends to be a Trumer Pils. Make sure you keep the following in mind for the beer lovers who may be attending your upcoming celebrations.
A huge favorite amongst beer aficionados, Beer Revolution is a combination craft beer bar & bottle shop. They rotate 50 beers through their taps daily, and have hundreds of bottles to chose from.
464 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607
The Good Hop Bottle Shop
Opened in 2014, The Good Hop is a great spot to check out for unique and hard-to-find-brews. Another example of a bar/bottle shop combo, they have 16 taps with rotating brews, and a whopping 450 bottle and can options for sale.
The Good Hop
2421 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
NOTE: Alchemy Bottle Shop & Bay Grape both offer beer selections as well
Photo Credits: All images by Adrienne Schell