The storefront of Marisa Mason Jewelry, one of the several cool shops along Temescal Alley. (Courtesy of @printclubltd)

A Modern Guide to Temescal: Oakland's Go-to for Indie Shops, Global Cuisine + Quirky Dive Bars

Once best known for its main alleyways (Temescal Alley and Alley 49), this BART-adjacent Oakland district has become the de facto destination for cool duds, around-the-world dining, and boutique fitness classes.

Chances are that you're already familiar with the delights of Temescal Alley. But while you're making your way over for soft serve and handmade jewelry, don't neglect the other shops and restaurants making this North Oakland neighborhood such a charming locale. From vintage wares to Korean barbecue to stiff drinks, Temescal offers a little something for everyone.

Where to Eat and Drink in Temescal

Try pairing a beer (or two) with sausage at The Hog's Apothecary.

(Courtesy of Black Creek Builders)


In need of a strong beer and a tasty hot dog? The pork-obsessed makers at The Hog's Apothecary (375 40th St.) have you covered with an impressive array of more than 25 craft beers on tap and an equally well thought-out menu that includes fried chicken (add it on to your biscuits and gravy at brunch), charcuterie, and dishes with cheeky names like the Thai Fighter and Bratmobile. // A neighborhood favorite for fresh fish tacos and refreshing aguas frescas, Cholita Linda (4923 Telegraph Ave.) serves up Latin American flavors with a sunlit patio in the back for al fresco dining. Don't walk away without trying the Maizena de Coco, a velvety coconut pudding topped with mango-passion fruit sauce or cinnamon, that will make you want to skip straight to dessert. // Anyone lamenting the loss of the Oakland location of Hawker Fare can head to Hawking Bird (4901 Telegraph Ave.), a fast-casual spin-off celebrating all things chicken jazzed up with Southeast Asian flavors, with newly expanded dinner hours and a full bar. The main focus is Syhabout's signature khao mun gai served sandwiched, boxed (over rice), or nested (in a salad), with a vegetarian tofu option. // For even more Thai, Bird and Buffalo (4659 Telegraph Ave.) specializes in traditional rustic Thai fare, such as Gai gra prao (stir-fried chicken with fragrant spices in a yellow curry), blistered green beans, and spicy larb Thai salad. // Yes, there will be lines, and yes, they will be worth it for Bakesale Betty (5098 Telegraph Ave.) and its cult-favorite fried-chicken sandwiches topped with a lightly spicy slaw, only available three hours a day (11am–2pm), Tuesday through Saturday. Pair your sandwich (tofu versions are also available) with a strawberry shortcake, and try to nab one of the ironing board tables outside so you can chow down. // A schoolroom favorite gets an upscale spin at Homeroom (400 40th St.), where the focus is jazzed up mac 'n' cheese—with flavors such as Gilroy garlic and jalapeno popper—and other school lunch classics (Oreos, broccoli with ranch) made in house and re-imagined with quality ingredients. A to-go location down the street (4007 Webster St.) means you can bring the comforting classics home. // Aunt Mary's Cafe (4640 Telegraph Ave.) plates up Southern comfort food with a focus on fresh ingredients in dishes such as a Southern take on bubble and squeak, yeasted grits waffle, and weekend-only Pain Perdue. // There's no shortage of Korean options in Temescal—including Koryo Jajang, Yu Yu Za Zang, Pyeong Chang Tofu House, Daol Tofu, Moo Bong Ri Korean Restaurant, AZIT, and newcomer Hancook— but Bowl'd BBQ (4869 Telegraph Ave.) may be the easiest way to ease newcomers into the range of options, with bibimbop, ramen and miso stews, and a hot stone grill for barbecuing your own meats at the table. // Can't get into the Inner Richmond Burma Superstar location? You may have slightly better luck at the Burmese restaurant's Oakland iteration (4721 Telegraph Ave.), where you can still get your fix of the tea leaf salad, garlic noodles, and spicy beef curry. // Vegans rejoice! Shangri-La Vegan (4905 Telegraph Ave.) specializes in macrobiotic, organic, and animal-free dishes, with an oft-changing menu focused on nourishing whole foods, available in two sizes. // While the decor is decidedly sparse, Asmara Restaurant (5020 Telegraph Ave.) is one of Oakland's longest-standing Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants, where you'll roll up your sleeves (literally) and use the spongy injera flatbread to scoop up toppings from the different combination plates. // You can stop by Doña Tomás (5004 Telegraph Ave.) anytime for tasty tacos and fresh margaritas, but the Mexican restaurant really shines at brunch—don't sleep on the chilaquiles or carnitas hash.


Following a beyond-badass move—in which the entirety of its original historic building was moved across the street to avoid being torn down—The Kingfish Pub and Cafe (5227 Telegraph Ave.) has managed to retain the charm of the original location while adding extra appeal, including a spacious patio with free popcorn. // It's hard to miss the skeletons slumped over the balcony above The Avenue, a venerable neighborhood dive that's managed to withstand the test of time in Temescal. While it's worth a stop year-round for the gothic-inspired interior, game of pool, and a round of Big Buck hunter, make sure to plan a visit over the holidays, when the bar's signature stalactites get generously adorned with multicolored lights. // When it first opened in 2016, Temescal Brewing (4115 Telegraph Ave.) eschewed the typical industrial beer decor for whimsical illustrations, pegboard walls, and pale pink accents, which continue to pair especially well with the laidback vibe of the expansive kid- and dog-friendly outdoor patio and the brewery's infinitely quaffable beers and free popcorn. Swing by for special events such as First Friday DJ sets and the occasional weekend beer and yoga pairing. Relative newcomer Roses' Taproom (4930 Telegraph Ave.) also showcases the lighter, friendlier side of craft beer with a light- and plant-filled taproom; beers that range from a traditional Vienna lager to a Belgian Tripel fermented with beeswax and Meyer lemon; and a monthly membership program that includes a handmade mug, discounted beers, and free pours of the latest releases every Tuesday. // The owners of Oakland Yard (420 40th St.) logged time at Chez Panisse, Brooklyn wine retailers, and Sonoma County wineries before opening this neighborhood wine shop focusing on natural wines and small producers, where you can explore your options with flights and tastings Thursdays and weekends. // Temescal was sorely in need of a dedicated sports bar, and 2nd Half Bar & Lounge (4307 Telegraph Ave.) somehow managed to fill that void while also upending expectations of a game-day watering hole, with the requisite draft beer, drink specials, and flat-screen TVS, but the bonus of near nightly events (often with a community or social impact focus) and a surprisingly sexy and inviting reclaimed wood interior. The best part? A Sunday and Monday pop-up from Smokin' Woods BBQ, when you can score the Southern-style beef ribs and other smoky favorites.

Coffee, Treats + Snacks

The Cro Cafe (470A 49th St.) makes the most of its pint-sized space in Temescal Alley by serving up Sightglass brews, matcha, and chai for patrons strolling Temescal Alley, but you can also ask for your drink in a ceramic mug if you want to enjoy it on site. // Nearby, Curbside Creamery (482 49th St.) doles out ice cream sandwiches and both traditional and vegan artisanal scoops and soft serve in freshly made waffle cones, with flavors ranging from vanilla malt ball to Thai iced tea. // No frills (and cash-only) Golden Gate Donuts (4201 Telegraph Ave.) has garnered a loyal customer base with its old-school cake and fried donuts—standouts include the apple fritter and French cruller. // The coffee shop formerly known as Arbor Cafe was reborn under new owners as Hawk and Pony (4210 Telegraph Ave.) in 2017, and key upgrades such as accepting credit cards, extending hours, and changing up the tap list have cemented the space as an ideal hang for remote workers during the day and low-key groups in the early evening. // Tara's Organic Ice Cream (4731 Telegraph Ave.) not only dishes out refreshing sorbets and seasonal flavors, but also features work from local artists inside the shop. // With two locations in Temescal, Subrosa Coffee (419 40th St. and 4008 MLK Jr. Way) doubled down on Oakland, and the cafe's minimalist approach to coffee means fresh pours from beans sourced from small coffee farms and roasted in The Town. Don't forget to swoon over the interiors, which feature natural wood, subway tile backsplash, and the odd antler chandelier. // If you head to Beauty's Bagel Shop (3838 Telegraph Ave.) on the weekend, expect a wait, but for good reason: The small-batch, hand-rolled bagels are wood-fired to achieve the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy, and can be topped with a simple schmear of cream cheese or ramped up as a sandwich with smoked trout salad or fried chicken. // Simple and delicious cafe fare makes Julie's (4316 Telegraph Ave.) an ideal weekday stop for a quick breakfast tartine or chicken caesar salad, but it's the fresh-brewed tea infusions and tea lattes that encourage lingering. // Although it shuttered at the end of 2017, thankfully aptly named wellness hot spot The Well (5443 Telegraph Ave.) reopened under new ownership with herbal drinks, kava, and tea, with the goal of using food as medicine and events as opportunities to gather the local community. It's one of the best places in the East Bay to find food and drinks with trendy—yet powerful—wellness superstars such as ashwagandha, dandelion root, and turmeric, and where The Town's residents get their golden milk lattes, cordycep-infused coffees, and hearty grain bowls infused with powerhouse ingredients.

Click through for where to shop and get styled in the neighborhood.

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