(Patricia Chang, courtesy of @juniorbarsf)

Side of Art: 10 Bay Area Bars + Restaurants Serving Creativity on the Walls


In a place where hot new restaurants and bars are, let's be real, a dime a dozen, design-savvy entrepreneurs are looking to art to help distinguish their brands from the pack.

But we aren't talking about nice little painting in frames. Nope, murals, and even graffiti, are making big statements inside the buzziest restaurants of San Francisco and Oakland. From feminine florals to testosterone-driven hunting scenes to playful street art–inspired works, check out 10 local eateries winning at the art game.

The lively mural at Oakland's Dosa by Dosa does some heavy lifting, intended both to convey shiny, happy feelings, and to represent for the restaurant's provenance ("Love Life" is the city motto of Oakland) as well as for the South Asian heritage of both Dosa's owners and the artist, San Francisco-based Namita Kapoor. "I wanted the message to make people smile and reflect positivity," says Kapoor, who collaborated with her husband, photographer Gudmundur Vigfusson, and Berkeley Signs' owner/artist Steve Vigeant. The result is a riff on colorful Indian motifs as well as vintage American sign painting. The words "Hope Please" are a nod to Indian trucks, which often bear signs that read ""Horn OK Please!"

An additional black-and-white mural of Chandni Chowk (Delhi's Moonlight Square market) fills the back wall of the main dining, acting as a portal from Oakland to India. // Dosa by Dosa, 2301 Broadway (Oakland), dosabydosa.com

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