SF Gate February 9, 2012Karen Reardanz
Daniel Patterson opened this long-awaited bar next to his popular Plum restaurant in Oakland’s Uptown in November, and it’s quickly become a destination. Thoughtfully crafted cocktails that change with the seasons are the name of the game here.
The drinks that bar manager Todd McKean creates don’t come cheap, but then again, these are complex concoctions you’re probably not making at home or getting at the neighborhood dive bar anytime soon.
The vibe: The bar looks unassuming from the street, but inside it’s warm and sophisticated. Candles dot an iron chandelier that hangs from exposed wood rafters, walls are papered in pages from poetry books, and bottles of house-made tinctures share space with liquor bottles on the back-lit bar shelves.
The crowd: Diners sip drinks before and after dining at Plum, the artistically inclined stop in on Art Murmur First Fridays, and the chic and celebratory fill the bar on weekends.
Best seat: The front window is great for people watching, and the two-person booths that line the wall are perfect for tuning out the rest of the bar. Larger parties should head toward the indoor garden area in back. Behind the plants is a couch space – but the service back here can be slow when things get busy.
Killer app: The salty-smoky fries ($4) are addictive, and the chicken wings with smoked chicken skin ($7) are an upscale take on the bar classic. If you’re hungry, you can’t go wrong with the juicy cheeseburger ($14), served with tangy house-made pickles.
Signature drink: The earthy San Franciscan ($11) combines vodka, Fernet, absinthe and beet juice, while the Celery Stalker ($11) blends St. George’s gin, celery juice and St. Germain elderflower liqueur – both are gorgeous as well as delicious.
Also on tap: Five wines are offered by the glass (the bottle list from Plum the restaurant is also available), along with three beers.
Bonus: Become a seat holder of Plum Bar for a $500 contribution and receive a regular discount and priority seating and reservations for life – yours and/or the bar’s.
Plum Bar: 2216 Broadway, Oakland. (510) 444-7586. www.plumoakland.com. 5:30 p.m.-midnight, nightly.