A new beer and bitesestablishment in Uptown Oakland's mixed-use Hive Drake'sDealership(a former Dodge dealership) now serves as a taproom for San Leandro'sDrake's Brewing Company. It pays homage to its locale on Oakland's Auto Row, fromthe salvaged dealership signage to the pinstripe- and bandana-clad servers.
Thoughhalf of the 32 taps were off at the time of my visit (the place being new and thebeer being free and all), there were still plenty of sips and snacks for a party,which is what Drake's seems to be after when it comes to creating anatmosphere.
Whilemany restaurants boast a modest backyard beer garden, Drake's main draw isits abundance of outdoor dining. Much of the taproom's 10,000 square feet lies under openskies, where the remnants of metal framework suggest a long-gone ceiling.Enclosed in brick and salvaged wood with six strategically placed trees,sprawls of patio furniture, and several open fire pits, the patio has the feelof something in the making. A party, perhaps?
Aparty, indeed. Long wooden benches, communal tables, and lightweight chairsmake Drake's more of an informal shindig you can join any time than a wateringhole at which you pull up a stool. Though you may want to do both — the beer listis a lot to take in.
Beyondtraditional Drake's brews, you'll find more experimental or unusual offerings,many of which aren't available anywhere else outside the brewery. There arerotating taps for guest brewers among the Drake's full portfolio, from a Session IPA to a honeyed Hella Hellies to theAroma Therapy Double IPA — which comes in at 10 percent ABV — you'll hardly need moreoptions. (Good thing Drake's does growlers.)
All that beer is enough to give anyone the munchies, and what better to pair itwith than wood-fired pizza? Covered in sweet figs, mozzarella, goat cheese, prosciutto,and olives, the Mosaic is unique in both its savory-sweetness and high number ofingredients. The 1989 is a simple assemblage of pepperoni, red onion, and chili,while the New Haven relies on pecorino and oregano.
Since it's Uptown Oakland, therewere plenty of beards, cardigans, and A's caps, too. The crowd may notalways be youthful hipsters, but it won't likely waver too far. So slip on yourflannel, order an IPA, and join Drake's all-day, outdoor bash. Welcome to theparty!