ADVENTURE: Biking through Oakland on a bar crawl to the best outdoor beer gardens + patios! // EATING: Portal Restaurant, Mad Oak Bar, Lost & Found, Telegraph // CRAVE: Garbage Bread
Biking around different spots for an Oakland bar crawl might be one of my favorite adventures of 2016.
When exploring a new city, there’s nothing quite like taking a bike ride to really discover and experience the area on a different level. I constantly am hearing about new amazing beer bars and patios opening up in the East Bay and knew it was about time we checked out a few of them! With a handful of bars and restaurants being within a few miles of each other around Lake Merritt and downtown Oakland, a few friends and I decided to look into renting bikes for the afternoon to hop to each spot.
To rent bikes, head over to Lakeview Bicycle, right on the edge of Lake Merritt. You can rent a bike for as little as $15 for three hours (a steal!). They’ll hook you up with a bike lock and great cruiser for your adventure.
Pro tip: If you happen to have a big purse or bulky backpack with you, save yourself the hassle of managing that during your ride and ask them to hold it in their backroom — they’ll be more than happy to.
The Oakland Bar Crawl Route
Stop 1: Portal Restaurant
Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to hit the Oakland bar crawl trail! Lake Merrit is right across the street from Lakeview Bicycle — start here and work your way south along the trail. Take in the views of the great blue lake and enjoy the people watching as you bike by.
After about a mile, turn off the lake pathway to Portal Restaurant. This place is AMAZING. Portal has an awesome outdoor beer garden patio with huge picnic benches and large yellow umbrellas.
We came here looking for one thing — their Pizza Bread. Basically, a large doughy pizza is grilled then stuffed with vegetables and cheese before being rolled up and served with pesto and marinara sauce.
You have to try this. Also amazing — try their fried chicken sandwich!
And, of course, grab a mimosa or beer to wash down everything.
Stop 2: Mad Oak
Hop back on that bike! Another quick half mile on the Oakland bar crawl, and you’ll be at Mad Oak Bar. This is a bomb space — you’ve got a TWO STORY patio (!), plus the open-air bar inside with large doorways that open up into the beer garden.
This place has great craft cocktails, huge benches and a photo booth. Enjoy a cold one on either patio level before jumping back on your bike.
Stop 3: Lost & Found
Your next stop is Lost & Found Beer Garden, about another mile away.
The patio space here is HUGE, tons of picnic tables with umbrellas for a little shade.
If your group is made up of the competitive types, this is the spot to play some games! There are ping pong tables, corn hole, and hula hoops if you’re feeling like moving those hips!
The beer selection here ranges from blue-collar to barrel aged brews. If you’re in the mood for some more food at this point, they have tons of options like soft warm pretzels, deviled eggs, ceviche, sliders, tacos, salads and sweet potato fries. Fuel up and head out to finish the Oakland bar crawl.
Stop 4: Telegraph
Last stop! Just up the street, Telegraph is only a few blocks away.
This place has a very funky vibe. Several picnic tables make up the beer garden, half shaded by a patio awning and the other half in the sunshine.
On either side of the tables, you’ll see a tall iron gate with huge rainbow letters spelling “BEERYLAND” and a giant two-story wall mural.
My favorite part: the outdoor bar has a few slushie machines mixing up icy cocktails! Perfect for a hot day. There’s also a few skeeball machines inside, and you can ask for Cards Against Humanity game from the front desk.
Now that you’ve ate and drank some of the best noms in Oakland, it’s time to head home! Complete the short loop back to Lakeview Bicycle and turn in your bikes. Congrats, you’ve completed a biking bar crawl through Oakland! So hipster of you.
Learn more about each of these beer garden spots on their websites:
Want another Oakland adventure? Check out the half-day guide to farmers markets, a cemetery hike, and Blue Bottle Coffee!