Good when you come with friends.
Not really a place to hang out and meet people, but a good place to hang with people you ALREADY know. The place is great, as long as you don't come in when daylight can still peek thru.... music is loud, but awesome, the live acts here are always fresh.
I had heard around about this bar, that it was a cool hang-out, so me and my boyfriend went to it. This place is the worst. Totally lame. Too many hipsters and everyone who worked there except the doorguy was rude, drunk, and annoying. Avoid it if you can.
The Bomb Diggity.
This place is good. Very good. You're in Downtown Oakland, walking around, maybe with a friend or two -- girls, ahem, I should say cool girls, love this place -- and you come here. It's well-lit -- dark but not too dark -- and well-decorated, with more art hanging on the walls than you're able to digest, so you don't even try. You simply give in to the experience of the place, which is zany and creative and altogether happy. Sure, you get into some weird conversations at this place, but gimme a break. It is legitmately fun and always hooks it up with a good time. Don't come expecting anything. Just go, be prepared to get a little buzzed and to smile a lot. Relax. Enjoy. Dig the art, eat the popcorn (complimentary at the bar), and don't be afraid to surrender to the unexpected. Trendy, no. Real, yes. That's my two cents! Love this place!
Too cool for customers.
When I went to Cafe Van Kleef the man checking ID's went out of his way to be rude to me and later in the evening, my friends. After asking him for directions to pick up my friend, he pretended he didn't recognize me when I came back 10 minutes later and harrassed me until other people at the bar had to intervene on my behalf.
The place has good greyhounds (fresh grapefruit juice) and nice decorations on the wall, but the too-cool-to-treat-people-decently attitude is a big turnoff.
"Feeling Good" (Nina Simone).
First visit to Cafe Van Kleef: What an amazing "joint to joint"! (Prince fans, you know what I'm talking about!) Not only did I receive VIP treatment from the owner, Peter Van Kleef himself, but I also received much love from the locals! Peter, mahalo for the shot of tequilla, your special margarita, the Cabo San Lucas-esque trigger shots of more tequilla (OMG!), the off-the-hook linguisa, and most importantly, the warm alohas. Aloha a hui how in peace, love, and light... Lisa
An East Bay hipsters' hangout with eclectic decor, live entertainment and free snacks.. The Scene Tables and chairs are set outside, while the inside decor is polished and borderline swank. The chandelier lighting is dim, and there's always something to look at--boxing gloves, busts, 1950s pin-up portraits and contemporary artwork. Patrons range from Stork Club's punk-rock stock to downtown corporates who stopped in to see the fuss on this otherwise-dead-after-5pm strip of Telegraph. Seating is limited, but there's plenty of standing room near the stage.
The Draw Live bands play nightly, with a roster ranging from cabaret and jazz to bluegrass to fire shows. Owners pick a snack nightly--miniature pizzas or cheese platters--and pass the free goods around all night.
Somewhere in Oakland to go.
Found this spot (4/23/04) by word of mouth and knew that I would make it back the following weekend. You have that eclectic & diverse atmosphere that is welcoming when chatting with the person next to you at the bar. I really enjoyed it and the owner & bar hops makes you feel like a regular. What more can you ask for...live music, great people and wonderful spirits.