There's nothing quite like a bike ride to really discover and experience a city.
With new beer bars and sunny patios constantly opening in Oakland, it's time we check them out. And there's no better place to start than around Lake Merritt and downtown Oakland, where there a handful of bars and restaurants within just a few miles of each other. So, a few friends and I decided to rent bikes for the afternoon and hop to each spot.
GET YOUR BIKE
To rent bikes, head over to Lakeview Bicycle, right on the edge of Lake Merritt. You can rent a bike for as little as $15 for three hours (a steal!). They'll hook you up with a bike lock and a great cruiser for your adventure. If you happen to have a big purse or bulky backpack with you, save yourself the hassle of managing that during your ride and ask them to hold it in their backroom—they'll be more than happy to.
We came here looking for one thing — their Pizza Bread. Basically, a large doughy pizza is grilled then stuffed with vegetables and cheese before being rolled up and served with pesto and marinara sauce. You have to try this.
Mad Oak Bar
This place has great craft cocktails, huge benches and a photo booth. Enjoy a cold one on either patio level before jumping back on your bike.
Lost & Found Beer Garden
If your group is made up of the competitive types, this is the spot to play some games! There are ping pong tables, corn hole, and hula hoops if you're feeling like moving those hips!
On either side of the tables, you'll see a tall iron gate with huge rainbow letters spelling "BEERYLAND" and a giant two-story wall mural.
Stop 1: Portal Restaurant
Now that you're all geared up, it's time to hit the Oakland bar crawl trail. Lake Merritt is right across the street from Lakeview Bicycle, so start here and work your way south along the trail. Take in the views of the great blue lake and enjoy the people watching as you bike by. After about a mile, turn off the lake pathway to Portal, which has an awesome outdoor beer garden with huge picnic benches and large yellow umbrellas. // 1611 Second Ave., portaloakland.com
Stop 2: Mad Oak Bar n Yard
Hop back on that bike and in another quick half-mile you'll arrive at Mad Oak Bar. This is a bomb space—you've got a two-story patio plus the open-air bar inside with large doorways that open onto the beer garden. // 135 12th St., madoakbar.com
Stop 3: Lost & Found
Your next stop is Lost & Found Beer Garden, about another mile away. The patio here is huge, with tons of picnic tables and umbrellas for a little shade. The beer selection ranges from blue-collar to barrel-aged brews and, if you're in the mood for some more food, they have tons of options—think soft warm pretzels, deviled eggs, ceviche, sliders, tacos, salads and sweet potato fries. Fuel up before heading out to finish the crawl. // 2040 Telegraph Ave., lostandfound510.com
Stop 4: Telegraph Beer Garden
Last stop! Just up the street, Telegraph (aka Beeryland) has a very funky vibe. Several picnic tables make up the beer garden, which is half shaded by an awning. The best part: The outdoor bar has a few slushie machines mixing up icy cocktails perfect for a hot day. There are also a few Skeeball machines inside, and you can ask for Cards Against Humanity game from the front desk.
THE FINISH LINE
Now that you've downed some of the best noms in Oakland, it's time to head home. Complete the short loop back to Lakeview Bicycle and pat yourself on the back—you've completed a biking bar crawl through Oakland. So hipster of you.
// This story was originally published on sarahcraves.com.