Walk through the door of Plum Bar in Oakland, and the warm wood furniture and sepia-toned wallpaper immediately create the impression that you’ve just been enveloped in a cocoon. Look a bit closer – the sheets of paper shellacked to the walls are pages of poetry from the likes of E. E. Cummings, Frank O’Hara and Jack Kerouac. Grab a seat at the bar, peruse the menu, and prepare to enjoy some of the most creative and delicious cocktails in the East Bay.
The extensive selection of libations highlights both classic and wildly innovative drinks. Offerings range from Manhattans and Negronis aged in French-oak barrels, to seasonal concoctions that highlight the best that local farmers markets have to offer. Utilizing his training as a chef, master mixologist Adam Chapman creates a constantly evolving menu highlighting artisan spirits, house-made ingredients, and unusual flavor profiles. You can also find cocktail selections that mirror these influences at sister Daniel Patterson Group restaurants Haven, Aster, and Alta CA, as Chapman assists in curating bespoke cocktail programs for each that reflect their unique menu and decor.
Plum Bar, Haven, and Alta CA also offer a Barrel Society program, allowing patrons to create their own custom cocktail blend with the guidance of expert mixologists, to barrel-age in-house. Insider tip: It’s not on the official Plum Bar menu, but if the bar is not too busy, customers can request a flight of cocktail tastings. Often utilizing ingredients and mixology techniques not found in the regular menu offerings, it’s a truly unique sensory experience.
Chef Josh Bennett’s experience cooking in Europe and fine dining background are demonstrated in the international twists that elevate Plum Bar’s menu of classic bar food to new levels.
Whether you stop in for a quick nightcap, or make it a full-evening destination and enjoy dinner along with your cocktails, a visit to Plum Bar is not to be missed. It’s on the vanguard of the exciting changes afoot in the cocktail and culinary scenes here in Oakland.
Written by Samantha Nobles-Block.
For more information on Plum Bar, go here.
For more information on the Daniel Patterson Group restaurants, go here.
Photos by Jen Kay.