In the lead-up to the Fourth, head East for a taste of good old-fashioned American summertime, Bay Area style.
Pop-up Beer Garden
Every Saturday through the summer, Classic Cars West, in Oakland, hosts a pop-up beer garden featuring local craft brews, Rosamunde sausages and local DJs. Not only is their outdoor patio great on a sunny day, but it's also hard not to feel pretty cool surrounded by vintage Ferraris, Porsches, Cobras and Corvettes, some of which have been used in films. 411 26th St, Oakland, (415) 626-1135.
Nothing beats the summertime vibe at Strawberry Canyon pool in Berkeley. There are two large outdoor pools (one kid-friendly, the other adults-only), and tons of grass around for lying out, having a picnic, and so forth. An afternoon spent by the pool here feels like a little vacation … not bad for $5. Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area on Centennial Drive, above Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.
Berlin-Style Ping Pong
The trend that’s been taking SF by storm heads to the East Bay for a three-Saturday engagement on the back patio of Paisan. Enjoy dollar beers, fried olives, and ping pong. Don’t let the ‘Berlin style’ tag throw you, it’s regular ole ping pong … the Berlin part is delivered by the cheap beers and Berlin-style techno. 2514 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley (510) 649-1031.