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Drink Here Now: Starline Social Club

The kind of Oakland joint where Hemingway might have knocked back a few.


The first thing you notice is the space, or rather the amount of it. Square footage is something the Starline Social Club has in spades, along with a surfeit of laidback style. With its soaring stamped-tin ceilings, exposed plaster walls, and hothouse plants, the club feels like Oakland meets old Key West, a place where Papa hemingway might have knocked a few back.

Opened in late April by local artists Adam Hatch, Eric Siemens, and Drew Bennett and Ramen Shop co-owner Sam White, the starline is the latest chapter for the historic bi-level space, which opened as an Odd Fellows hall in 1893. Originally Hatch’s brainchild, the club sports a second-floor ballroom, designed as a music venue and events space, and a kitchen, led by Pizzaiolo vet Austin Holey, that’s turning out possibly the most original bar food in Oakland.

You won’t find mac ‘n’ cheese, but you will find dishes like rockfish carpaccio served with baby fennel, olives, and sea grapes. Chase it with a corrupt cities ($11), a sultry blend of bourbon, Pedro Ximénez, and vanilla Trinidad bitters. Like everything else here, it goes down easy.

645 W. Grand Ave. (at Martin Luther king Jr. Way), Oakland, 510-593-2109.


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