Uptown Oakland's new Kissel hotel + Occitania restaurant are staycation-worthy
High 5ive, the rooftop bar the Kissel hotel in Uptown Oakland. (Julie Soefer)

Uptown Oakland's new Kissel hotel + Occitania restaurant are staycation-worthy


San Francisco has long been primed for staycations, with so many stylish boutique hotels worthy of checking in. But while Oakland has been drawing residents away from the city for years, The Town hasn't been so destination-friendly for weekenders.

An urbane new hotel with a highly anticipated restaurant is here to change the game: Enter the Kissel, a recently opened boutique stay within walking distance of Uptown Oakland's scene-making eateries, bars, shops, and concert venues.

Check in at Uptown Oakland's Kissel Hotel.

Dinner at the Kissel's Occitania has accents of the South of France.

(Joseph Weaver)

Opened this spring, the first thing to notice about the Kissel Uptown Oakland(2455 Broadway) is its awesome location, central to the countless restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues that give The Town its creative rep. The seven-floor property is marked by striking interiors. The vibrant lobby bar Otto’s, for instance, has a tropical vibe thanks to an ivy wall mural, palm frond wallpaper, and glowing orb pendant lights. The lobby itself is decked out in faux fur rugs, shaggy seats, and more dramatic lighting.

The rooms—168 of them, plus 10 suites—are sleek and modern, with thoughtful space-saving features and plenty of outlets. The upper guest rooms provide some fun cityscape views, but the third floor rooms open onto a terrace courtyard with serene landscaping and comfy outdoor seating. It’s a lovely spot to sip a glass of wine if you need a little recharge from the urban energy down below.

Dinner at Occitania

After you settle into your room, head downstairs to dinner where chef Paul Canales, known for his popular nearby restaurant Duende, is at the helm of Kissel's pretty ground floor eatery designed by the local architectural firm Arcsine.

Occitania(422 24th St.) is named for the linguistic region of Occitan that spans sections of Spain, Italy and France, all of which have a say on the menu, which is comprised of southern French–style dishes you'll likely not find yourself making at home (hi, we'll have the wild Burgundian snails, please).

The best way to start things off is to order one of their beautiful cocktails (the Fired Orange Spritz is a stunner) or an intriguing glass of wine to mull over as you determine how adventurous you want to be with the food. Will it be housemade charcuterie such as classic pork rillettes, a no-brainer French onion soup, red wine–braised calamari, or a creamy mountain of Roquefort salad to start? Heartier options include a hard-to-pass-up steak frites and a lamb shank the size of your face. For dessert, we suggest the multilayered tourte aux crêpes infused with coffee and smeared with a rich chocolate Pernod sauce and almond brittle.

If you happen to live close by, it would be hard to resist dropping by the bar on a weeknight for the French burger "a la Cafe Midi."

Explore Uptown Oakland

A Roku gin highball at Viridian.

(Courtesy of @viridianbar)

Brunch and kick it.

For an easy staycation in Uptown Oakland, keep it simple and let yourself wander. Your first stop on a Saturday morning should be brunch at Calavera(2337 Broadway), a spacious local favorite (just a bloc from the Kissel) with a celebratory mood and great Mexican food. The mostly agave-based cocktails are far from your standard marg.

With a belly full of chilaquiles and bloody marias, it’s time to walk around a bit. In just a few block radius, there’s so much to explore. Art galleries, murals aplenty, boutiques including Ayesha Curry's Sweet July(455 23rd St.), antique shops, and the too-cool People’s Barber(2337 Broadway, #101). Much of this is found right at The Hive (2335 Broadway), a community complex you can view from the patio at Calavera. It's also home to Red Bay Coffee(2327 Broadway) and a Humphrey Slocombe ice cream shop (2335 Broadway), so if you start getting hungry again, it’s time for a charcoal latte and a scoop of Secret Breakfast.

It's well worth noting that another much-anticipated about restaurant has also just opened in the neighborhood. The once semi-secret, quasi-legal supper club known as Hi Felicia has gone brick and mortar (326 23rd St.) and is serving a 14-course prix-fixe of creative, regional Mexican fare with seatings starting at 6:30pm Fridays through Mondays. For more details, you can check out our recent review.

Small Plates and a Show

If you're not up for a whole dinner production, grab a couple small plates and a cocktail at the Kissel's rooftop bar, High 5ive(437 25th St.), which has a buzzy energy about it as well a panoramic views and some great people watching. After you've shared a Kingston Negroni and some Mediterranean spreads, head out for a show at the Fox(1807 Telegraph Ave.) or the Paramount(2025 Broadway), both just blocks away. Upcoming headliners in 2022 include Chris Rock, LCD Soundsystem, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Shakey Graves, and Amy Schumer.

Save room for a nightcap.

If your show gets out at a reasonable hour (or not) and you aren’t quite ready to call it quits, there are plenty of options for some exciting beverages and more snacks. Viridian(2216 Broadway), which opened in February 2020, is run by a trio of local friends who take inspiration from Oakland’s Chinatown to create mind-blowing cocktails like the Umami Jack (Starward Viridian barrel single malt whiskey, shiitake mushrooms, apricot and seaweed) or the Bend and Snap (Sông Cái Vietnamese gin, makrut lime aperitif, snap pea, rau ram, and lime). The spot's impressive food menu highlights the skills of new chef Kevin Tang (formerly of Nari and Mister Jiu’s) along with desserts crafted by pastry chef Vince Bugtong. These are special, so try to ignore the loud people next to you at the bar so you can concentrate on the miso flavors evolving out of your cremeux.

Friends and Family(468 25th St.) is also worth ducking into. The woman- and queer-owned space with a mom theme and tenderly thrilling decor serves standout drinks that are a bit more on the classic side—think Mom’s Rosy Cheeks (vodka, rose, lime, Peychaud’s) and the Sophia Loren (Aperol, bourbon, lemon, and rhubarb bitters). This spot was recently ranked number 33 on the 50 Best Bars in North America list.

Sunday Morning in Uptown Oakland: Coffee + Donuts

Otto's, the all day cafe and lobby bar at Kissel Uptown Oakland.

(Julie Soefer)

A late night out calls for a lazy Sunday. Instead of hurrying out, head down a couple of floors to Otto’s Coffee + Donuts + Beer, the Kissel's hotel bar that also serves food in the morning and evening. The donuts come in mini form, little puffed cinnamon sugar coated rings that are served with rich, melted dark chocolate topped with mini marshmallows. They are decadent yet teeny, a perfect little treat for the morning. Otto's also serves heartier fare in case you need a bit more protein. You can order coffee and espresso drinks here too, or, if you are a real coffee aficionado, you’ll probably want to head down the block to The Crown(2523 Broadway), Royal Coffee’s tasting room, roastery, and lab. Coffee tasting flights of espresso, hot brew, and cold brew are a fun way to geek out a bit, and get an extra kick for your journey home.

Rooms at the Kissel are simply modern.

(Courtesy of Kissel Uptown Oakland)

// Kissel Uptown Oakland, 2455 Broadway, kisseloakland.com

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