Oakland's Fox Theater has a concert calendar that sometimes seems like it was booked by the music gods themselves (this fall's lineup includes the xx, The Black Keys and the Flaming Lips, to name a few). But what's out there for pre-show grub and drinks? Here's a guide to the best to be had in the 'hood before a show:
The Uptown, right across the street from the Fox, is a divey watering hole. Even before the Fox was revamped a few years ago, the Uptown was livening up downtown Oakland by slinging cheap drinks (which you aren't going to find at the Fox) and shows by all kinds of local acts. Loosen up by giggling at burlesque dancers or head banging to punk. Green Day, Chuck D, the Germs and High on Fire have all paid their dues under this club's dim lighting, and the cream of Bay Area music's cool crop continues to plug in here. 1928 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland (510)451-8100
If you don't mind wearing a paper napkin bib or getting barbecue sauce under your nails, Chef Edward's Bar-B-Que is ideal before a night of drinking and live music. A ten-minute walk from the Fox, this cozy diner is studded with 60s car culture memorabilia and specializes in southern style barbecue. Try their famous piggly wiggly sandwich (specially-roasted pork with crunchy coleslaw) and don't be too shy to feast on ribs, smokey baked beans, barbecue chicken and beef brisket. Chef Earl Edwards has barbecue in his blood, and has been keeping up this family tradition since the fifties. 1915 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland (510)834-9516
Flora is as classy as the Fox is, and it's just across the asphalt. This romantic, art deco'ed spot serves American cuisine reinvented for modern, organic-obsessed times. Find leg of lamb and sausage, suckling pig, mac n' cheese, sweet pea soup, cheesecake and angel food cake on the food menu, and take a breath before you look at the top-notch cocktail list. You'll have a hard time deciding what to choose. 1900 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland (510)286-0100
For the low maintenance, Pho 84 is the spot. But if your show is on a weekend night, beware: this unassuming Vietnamese gem gets packed because it's that irresistible combination of food that is both delicious and cheap. There are a few bowls of pho on the menu (the seafood one is recommended), but their stir-fried dishes, spring rolls and huge portions get the most love. 354 17th Street, Oakland (510)832-1338
The dinner menu at Luka's Tap Room & Lounge is top-notch pre-concert fare. There are oysters, Belgian-style frites, hefty entrees and a decidedly tasty Niman Ranch burger, as well as a bar menu with seafood, a Satsuma plum and roasted beet salad and pork and grilled cheese sandwiches . Luka's also has an impressive slew of Belgian beers and cocktails that puts any bar at the Fox to shame. This joint is open late, so you could stop in either before or after your show. 2221 Broadway, Oakland (510)451-4677
Tell us some of your favorites!