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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

All-Day Par-tay at Drake’s Dealership in Oakland

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 1:45 PM

click to enlarge Togarashi fries with Sriracha mayo, Hella Hellie's lager, crispy green chickpeas, chimichuri cashews. - A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
  • Togarashi fries with Sriracha mayo, Hella Hellie's lager, crispy green chickpeas, chimichuri cashews.

I attended a media preview for Drake’s Dealership several weeks back. A new beer and bites establishment in Uptown’s mixed-use Hive space off of 23rd and Broadway, the former Dodge dealership now serves as a taproom for Drake’s San Leandro brewery. Drake’s pays homage to their locale on Oakland’s Auto Row, from salvaged dealership signage to pinstripe and bandana-clad servers.

Though half of the 32 taps were off at the time of my visit (the place being new and the beer 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 an atmosphere.

click to enlarge A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll


click to enlarge Mosaic pizza - A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
  • Mosaic pizza

click to enlarge A sliver of Drake's beer garden - A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
  • A sliver of Drake's beer garden
While many a restaurant boasts a modest backyard beer garden, Drake’s main event is its mass of outdoor dining. Much of the taproom’s 10,000 square feet lies under open skies, where remnants of metal framework suggest a long-gone ceiling. Enclosed in brick and salvaged wood with six strategically places trees, sprawls of patio furniture, and several open fire pits, the patio has the feel of something in the making. A party perhaps?

A party indeed. Long wooden benches, community tables, and lightweight chairs make Drake’s more of an informal shindig you can join any time than a watering hole at which you pull up a stool. Though you may want to do both — the beer list is a lot to take in.

Beyond traditional Drake’s brews, you’ll find more experimental and unusual offerings, many of which aren’t available anywhere else outside the brewery. There are rotating taps for guest brewers, though with full portfolio of Drake’s already including anything from the a Session IPA to a honeyed Hella Hellies to the Aroma Therapy Double IPA (which comes in at 10 percent ABV), you’ll hardly need more options. Good thing Drake's does growlers.

All that beer is enough to give anyone the munchies, and what better to pair it with than wood-fired pizza? Covered in sweet figs, mozzarella, goat cheese, prosciutto and olives, the Mosaic is unique in both its savory-sweetness and number of ingredients. The 1989 is a simple assemblage of pepperoni, red onion and chili, while the New Haven relies on pecorino and oregano. The media menu also offered starters, salads, and sandwiches — including chimichurri cashews and a peppery arugula with green apples and shaved parmesan — but the pie was by far the specialty of the house.

There were plenty of beards, cardigans, and A’s caps to be found. The crowd may not always be youthful hipsters, but it won’t likely waver too far. So slip on your flannel and order an IPA. Join Drake’s all day outdoor bash. Welcome to the party.

Drake's Dealership, 2325 Broadway, Oakland, 510-833-6649.


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A. K. Carroll

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