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Bar director Aaron Paul at Plum Bar


If you’re looking for a distillation of what makes East Bay cocktails notable, head to plum bar. Chef Daniel Patterson’s downtown institution is known for its Barrel Society program, which gives you the reins. Pony up $320 and you’ll meet with a cocktail consultant to craft your own drink, which will then be barrel-aged and stored behind the bar for you and friends. 72 southwest december 2016

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At dogwood, try the La Sirena, a spicy, lemony mezcal concoction, and then retire to its annex, darling’s elixirs. Housed in an old pharmacy, it hosts only five tables and an equally small menu. The frothy Lady Evil balances gin and rosewater syrup with star anise. Slide into the lush backyard at boot & shoe service and sip on a Donna Vecchia, made with herbal wine, amaro, and lime. And no trip to Oakland is complete without a stop at the ephemera-packed café van kleef. The mounds of grapefruit atop the bar inspire cravings for a Greyhound, made with vodka and freshly squeezed juice.


11/10/16 3:21 PM

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