¡Hola, hermosa! Chef Nelson German of alaMar Kitchen & Bar has just opened SOBRE MESA in downtown Oakland, an Afro-Latino cocktail lounge that is a spacious, tropical oasis inspired by the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other Latin countries. Chef German says he wants guests to feel like they’re on vacation—cue the uptempo Latin music!
There is plenty of room to gather with friends, whether you hang out in the lounge—with room for up to 40 guests, with sofas, cozy nooks, and cocktail tables—or hang out in the full-service dining area, outfitted with cognac-colored banquettes, offering a seasonal tapas menu (tables must be reserved in advance, but 13 bar chairs are available for walk-in guests). Be sure to check out the art wall, which features rotating artwork created by local artists of color available for purchase. In the far back is La Sala (“the living room”), an advance-reservations-only area for a spirits tasting for up to 12 guests, with a personal bartender, a bar cart, and a menu designed around the pre-selected spirit.
German paid a great deal of thought to the food menu, designed to tell a story with the cocktails and spirits. Among the tapas on the opening menu are white cheddar empanadas, stuffed platano maduro, peri peri petite wings, Salt Spring mussel toast, and sancocho stew dumplings ($7-$12).
The bar is focused on small-production spirits with a great backstory, including hand-crafted rum from the Dominican Republic and Träkál, made from indigenous fruits and botanicals of Patagonia. Consultants Susan Eggett (Last Rites) and Alex Maynard (Starline Social Club) worked closely with chef German on the creation of Sobre Mesa’s cocktail menu. Check out the eponymous Sobre Mesa cocktail, featuring a proprietary rum blend crafted in partnership with Mosswood Distillers in Berkeley, and Hotel Creole, featuring Haitian clairin from Saint Benevolence, which donates 100% of the bottle profits to aid charitable work in Haiti. The drink menu will feature cocktails on tap, classic cocktails, and signature punches. Drinks begin at $10.
Open Wed-Sun 4pm-12am, and until 2am Fri-Sat. Happy hour: 4pm-6pm. 1618 Franklin St. at 17th St., Oakland.
And now in the completely tragic news department, Jennifer Colliau has closed her Uptown Oakland bar, HERE’S HOW, just shy of a year in business, and after so much sweat and hard work and every last penny she had to open the place. It ends up a few nightmare NIMBY neighbors in the building where the bar was located (The Marquee Lofts, at 1755 Broadway) spelled the demise of the bar (excuse me, but why do you live in the middle of a nightlife area if you don’t want nightlife?). You can read the Eater piece for the sordid details on what is one big, damn shame. We feel for you, Jennifer. 1780 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland.