Tribune Tavern

By Jun S.  Published Aug 26th, 2016

The Tribune Tavern's impressive illuminated display of a large variety of spirits.

Just down the block off Oakland’s 12th Street BART Station, an oasis of craft beer, wine, classic cocktails, and a soul-nourishing menu of pub-style fare awaits.

Seated on the ground floor of Oakland’s iconic Tribune Tower, this space was once the newsroom of the Oakland Tribune since the early 20th century, where reporters gathered for the grind, printing headline after headline with the latest news of the day. It now stands to continue its tradition of a bustling gathering spot, serving a new kind of crowd.

Cardboard three-dimensional sculpture specially commissioned by local artist, Joshua Short.

This historic spot welcomes its guests with its wood panels and eclectic, old-timey decor showcasing the rich history that once took place within its walls. The Tavern’s stunning interior, crafted by Architect Jim Maxwell, pays tribute to its rich historic background-- with charming displays of repurposed materials, from subtle details such as original printing blocks that line its shelves, to its brass moldings supported by restorations of the structure’s original columns. Eyes are drawn to the elegant marble slates of the tavern’s spacious three-sided bar-top, where guests are comfortably seated for cocktails and a glimpse of the game on one of the many of the mounted flat-screen TVs. The Tavern also employs local artists in support of the Oakland art community by showcasing pieces such as the brightly illuminated cardboard structure, commissioned by local artist, Joshua Short, that reads “Tribune” across the Oakland skyline displayed right across from the bar.

Since its grand re-opening, under the leadership of Robert Soviero, the Tribune Tavern has become a prime destination to grab a pint and mingle. With a tap of 12 different varieties of craft beer, classic cocktails, a selection of over 100 Californian wines, and a full menu of soul-nourishing comfort food, the Tribune Tavern celebrates Oakland’s culture. Local favorites include juicy Tavern Burgers with sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, crispy romaine lettuce, and savory onion jam, and a platter of the Tavern’s much-praised Guilty Fries smothered in cheesy fondue that’ll leave you feeling anything but guilty. Of course, beer, burgers, and fries aren’t the only items on their curated selection of quality pub-style fare.

Grilled Pork Chop, sautéed pea tendrils, green garlic, scalloped potatoes.

Executive chef and 4th generational Bay Area native, Mike Luong (Culinary Institute of America at Greystone), brings a unique and culturally-diverse take on Northern Californian cuisine to the table. His menu offers anything between pub classics like a crisp basket of Fish and Chips and juicy Grilled Pork Chops, to more adventurous palettes that would prefer Seared Alaskan King Salmon served with the unique addition of purple Peruvian mashed potatoes and Sauteed Sea Scallops paired with pea tendrils and lemon risotto.

Pan Seared Alaskan King Salmon, spring onions, purple Peruvian mashers, upland cress.

A towering spigot of one of many of the beers available on tap.

During Happy Hour, the Tavern transforms from resting spot after a long day’s work to an energetic social scene, serving towering spigots of beer and enormous Jurassic Pretzels (another local favorite). The bar menu, which occasionally changes to suit ventures in more experimental concoctions, offers a curated list of standbys such as a classic G&T with house-made tonic, and local favorite, Rum & Roots, which is served with Castillo rum, Many Roots Beer, and a refreshing splash of lime. Kou, one of the Tavern’s praised bartenders, is known to pay special attention to detail when crafting cocktails to best suit each individual-- but if cocktails aren’t your thing, this bar team may be Olympic champions when it comes to serving a pint and Jameson in a blink of an eye.

Kou expertly straining a fresh cocktail into a coupe glass.

The Tribune Tavern is also among the handful of selected bars to host Official Golden State Warriors watch parties. Only steps away from the team’s corporate offices, the Tribune Tavern upholds a long-standing relationship with their players, as well as their fans. During parties, the venue is filled to the brim with customers decked out in blue and gold uniting with Strength in Numbers. Some days, you’ll be lucky to find Official Golden State Warriors merchandise thrown your way to show your true support for #DubNation.

So have a seat and grab a pint in this grand place of history, booze, and camaraderie, and you may find yourself in your new go-to bar.

The Tavern offers an impressively spacious seating area, ready to accomodate private parties up to 120 seated or 250 standing guests.

All photos by © 2016 Jun S. All rights reserved.