Old Oakland is staying up late these days, giving night owls more possibilities after sunset. Dining 'til midnight, a wine bar, a summer streetfest and even entertainment with a Latin flair — the neighborhood is growing up.
Caffe 817 just launched a wine bar 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.
The Old Oakland pioneer had a "soft opening" last week but the official start of the enoteca was Thursday.
The idea came from popular demand, according to Lilian Massarweh, co-owner with her husband, George Massarweh.
A gap has been filled and Old Oakland has a neighborhood wine bar, said Lilian Massarweh.
The closest enoteca is the Franklin Square Wine Bar, about a mile away from Old Oakland (7th to 10th streets between Broadway and Jefferson) or Zza's by Lake Merritt.
The wines are Italian like the cafe (the 817 is pronounced ottocento diciasette) with 15 whites and 15 reds from Italy's 20 wine regions.
The food menu will have appetizers, among them antipasti, cheese and salami.
The Massarweh's plan to make the wine bar a permanent feature "for the fun of having a glass of wine with a little bite to eat," Lilian said.
They took over the cafe four years ago but it opened on 8th and Washington streets in 1993 when the only night spot around was the Pacific Coast Brewing Co.
Thursday Night Live
Fast forward to June 5, when the sound of salsa music will fill the streets 5:30 to 9 p.m. along 9th Street, between Broadway and Washington for the kickoff of Thursday Night Live.
Who needs Saturdays to sip cocktails and socialize, all while live bands serenade the senses (Julio Bravo and his orchestra Salsabor is on the bill for June 5).
The masterminds behind the free, twice-monthly streetfests (first and third Thursdays) were the chiefs of four Old Oakland restaurants.
"We are working hard to push this neighborhood along," said Kevin Best, who co-owns the B Restaurant and Cafe at 9th and Washington streets. "We want people to come down here for Old Oakland."
When they do, Levende East will have summer cocktails for them, said Dirk Kahl, kingpin of the fancy restaurant and lounge on the opposite corner of B's. Over on 8th Street, the Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana restaurant is staying open until midnight Fridays and Saturdays with a special menu that kicks in 10 p.m.
They can capture some of the hungry revelers soaking up Belgian beer at The Trappist pub next door.
Jesso's Seafood Restaurant across the street also keeps its doors open late, until 1 a.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Hard to tell how long the Old Oakland venue will stay put as since owner Jesso Smith opened a sister restaurant on 14th Street between Broadway and Franklin Street.
Even the Cock-A-Doodle Cafe is going nocturnal as soon as the owners get the go-ahead for their plans to open 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays for music, appetizers, drinks and some dancing — "but not too crazy," as chef Blanca Arechiga put it at a Thursday afternoon cabaret license hearing at City Hall. Everything would have a Latin flair, said co-owner Ana Trujillo.
Not a soul at the hearing raised an objection to the women's plot for their 7th Street eatery that made its name on omelets, french toast and sandwiches for the early bird and lunch crowd.
"It would be a fabulous addition to Old Oakland because there are more and more night time venues," supporter Luna Han told the hearing officer handling the application.
Old Oakland, Han added, "is different from when Blanca opened three years ago."
Caffe 817 --817 Washington St.; 510-271-7965; www.cafe817.com
B Restaurant and Cafe -- 499 9th St.; 510-251-8770; www.boakland.com
Levende East -- 827 Washington St.; 510-835-5585; www.levendeeast.com
Tamarindo Antojeria -- 468 8th St.; 510-444-1944; www.tamarindoantojeria.com
The Trappist -- 460 8th St.; 510-238-8900; www.thetrappist.com
Jesso's -- 901 Washington St.; 510-451-1561; www.jessos.com
Cock-A-Doodle Cafe -- 719 Washington St.; 510-465-5400; www.cockadoodlecafe.com