Hopscotch (address and info)
It may look like a diner, but this spot has serious street cred when it comes to its food and cocktails, earning it a recommendation from Michelin this year. GM and bar manager Jenny Schwartz is one half of the operation behind this delightful American-Japanese fusion restaurant. Find her working the room or infusing cocktails with Japanese sensibilities and flavors in creative ways.
Signature cocktail: Islay Tart, featuring Armagnac, Caol Ila 12 year, Cynar, and Carpano Antica served up in a glass half-rimmed with smoked Okinawan sea salt and seasoned with yuzu
Where she drinks when she’s not working: “Pretty exclusively one of the following: wine at very casual dinner parties at friends’ houses; Prizefighter, where my go-to drink is a Cynar Boulevardier; Nido for the great food and mezcal margaritas; and the Aloha Club on Fruitvale Ave (where I drink Negra Modelo and shots of Herradura Blanco) for Warriors-watching at its best.”
What she loves about Oakland: “I grew up in Southern California, lived in DC for many years, have worked all over SF and the Bay Area, and I have never ever loved the guests I serve as much as those here in Oakland. Diners at Hopscotch are sophisticated, adventurous, laid back, diverse, and happy. I accept the struggles that come with being in our neighborhood and embrace the positive impact that we get to be part of. Crime is down, additional tax revenue is noticeably improving schools, and local non-profits have more funding and are making greater impact. It feels good and it’s mostly sunny!”