Date Nights, Happy Hours, Fun Casual Dinner Spots, First Date Bars, Coffee Dates Anniversary Ideas + Places To Meet Singles. Things To Do In Oakland, Berkeley & Alameda

Oakland has seen a renaissance in nightlife, beer and restaurants like no other place in the Bay Area. The East Bay offers an incredible number of options for dates and interests of all kinds and is now a destination for people in SF and Marin as well as the South Bay.

In the past 5 years, there have been a number of places that have surfaced around the area as well as existing businesses that have catered to a growing younger demographic of customers as well as those eager to explore places around them that crave fresh food, more craft beers, quality cocktails and social environments.

As an online dating photographer and consultant, I have helped clients plan first dates to provide good first impressions. Here are a few of my favorite places around Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda for dates and meeting singles. Scroll to the bottom of the page for San Francisco, Marin, Napa and Sonoma date ideas.

Please note there are many places I recommend that are more unique, romantic – these are exclusively available for clients.

Drake’s Dealership, Oakland

Fun brewery and restaurant with outdoor seating, heat lamps and food good enough if you are not a beer fan.

Jack London Square, Oakland

Great place to go for a walk along the water. You have Blue Bottle Coffee, Plank (bocce ball, bowling, beer garden), as well as a farmer’s market and my favorite East Bay beer bar in Beer Revolution.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

Beautiful garden on the UC Berkeley campus great for a late morning or afternoon stroll. Continue the walk around campus on a weekend ideally in the fall when the ivy and fall colors are gorgeous.

Berkeley Rose Garden

Free and beautiful in the springtime. Walk a mile down the road to grab some tasty pizza slices from Cheeseboard pizza afterwards.

Comal, Berkeley

Spacious Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating, firepit and fun lay out. Look out for their late night menu specials.

Friday Night @ Oakland Museum (OMCA)

Off the Grid makes Friday nights at the Oakland Museum a fun place for all ages. Live music, drinks, food trucks – what else do you need?

Redwood National Park, Oakland

Beautiful outdoor hikes at this spacious park is a must for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the city’s noise, crowds and distractions.

The Cat House, Oakland

Stylish interiors, fancy drinks, cozy environment with vintage accents. For a sophisticated yet approachble bar, check out this unique space in the East Bay.

Faction Brewery, Alameda

The best views of any brewery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nothing beats a beer in the sun on a warm day.

St. George Distillery, Alameda

Gin? Yes please! If you are a gin fan or don’t like gin, this is the place for you. Take a tour and check out some incredible gins at this distillery tour. Reservations are highly recommended as tastings and tours are limited to small groups.

Pro-tip: Head to Faction Brewery next door for a post tour beer with a view of San Francisco

Blind Tiger, Oakland

Prizefighter, Emeryville

Craft beer and cocktails at this Emeryville institution is a must. Indoor and outdoor seats and limited bar bites make this a great place for a low-key drink but without sacrificing quality.

Yoshi’s, Oakland

Beautiful large but cozy jazz bar and live music venue. Find other music like Cuban salsa, R&B and more here. Check the calendar for performances and last minute deals.

Albatross Bar, Berkeley

Old dive bar with darts, pool table and fireplace. It doesn’t get more relaxed and chill than this place.

Albany Bulb, Albany

Quirky burning man-ish sculptures next to Golden Gate Fields. Dog friendly and great views of Marin and San Francisco.

Rare Barrel, Berkeley

My favorite brewery in the East Bay, Huge industrial doors for fresh air, interesting and delicious vegetarian bar bites and incredible selection of sour beers and a few non-sour, guest beers. 

Pro-tip: Try the Ensorcelled dark sour beer.

Lake Merritt Walk, Oakland

Check out this walk around Lake Merritt (about an hour give or take). Start off at Equator Coffee and take a stroll around the lake.

Chez Panisse

If you really want to impress your date, book a dinner here.

For additional date ideas in Marin County, Napa, Sonoma and San Francisco, check out my other date idea posts here:

About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas.

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