A look at the raw space and future home of Drexel. Photo courtesy of Deech Chapin-Rienzo.
A new bar is opening in early 2014 in Uptown a couple of blocks from The Fox and near the Flora/Duende corner: ~DREXEL~, which is all about becoming a neighborhood hangout. I spoke with partner Demetrius “Deech” Chapin-Rienzo (a partner in Vintage 415), and he is opening the bar with a friend from their days at Berkeley High School, Adi Taylor, who has lived in Oakland for a long time.
The 1,500-square-foot space (it previously housed a deli, Belly Roll Ben’s, which closed a couple of years ago) is currently under construction. Sam Strand, who did some spatial and interior design for nearby Duende, is designing Drexel. The high-ceilinged space is split in the middle by some pillars, so to the left will be the darker/edgier bar side, and to the right will be a more easygoing and lit area with booths, cocktail tables, and banquette seating. There will actually be two doors into the bar, so take your pick. In the back is a mezzanine, which will have Skee-Ball; shuffleboard is also being discussed. There is also talk of having some special DJ nights, but more on the loungy tip. Cocktails will be straightforward but good, and there are also plans for some food, too, which is TBD at the moment. They are aiming for a February opening; I’ll keep you updated. 382 19th St. at Franklin, Oakland.