OAKLAND -- Time may stand still at the Kingfish Pub and Cafe, but the beloved beat-up shack of a bar will soon be on the move -- literally.

If all goes according to plan, the "Fish," as patrons have lovingly called it for decades, will be loaded onto a truck and hauled 35 yards to its new Temescal district home on Telegraph Avenue. The shuffleboard table and faded pictures of old Cal Bears teams that cover its graffiti-stained walls will make the trip as well.

"The goal is for it to look exactly the same," Kingfish co-owner Emil Peinert said.

Peinert and his partners revived the Kingfish in 2009 after it was closed for 18 months. They could have stayed put at 5227 Claremont Ave. as the ground-floor tenant of a soon-to-break-ground condominium project.

The exterior of the Kingfish Pub & Cafe is photographed Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in Oakland, Calif. After more than 80 years on Claremont Avenue, the entire
The exterior of the Kingfish Pub & Cafe is photographed Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in Oakland, Calif. After more than 80 years on Claremont Avenue, the entire building, pending city approval, will be moved around the corner onto Telegraph Avenue later this year. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

But Peinert said the essence of the place isn't the address but the cramped quarters and sagging ceilings that are so low, generations of local sports luminaries, from quarterbacks John Brodie and Joe Kapp to former A's manager Tony La Russa, have had to lower their heads just a bit as they made their way from the bar to the bathroom.

"I think if it was bigger or didn't have those funky shapes, you'd be able to sit by yourself and not talk to anyone," Peinert said.

News of the prospective move last week was as well-received by patrons who have been drinking at the Kingfish for their entire adult lives as it was by those who have only recently moved to Oakland.

"Wow, that's like a Walt Disney fantasy," Tom Linder, a regular for more than two decades, said Tuesday when Peinert told him he was in escrow to buy the Telegraph Avenue lot. "It's like it came from heaven."

Peinert still needs city permission to make the move. The building can't pass modern building codes, but that likely won't be a problem because two years ago it was deemed eligible for landmark designation. That means it will be evaluated under the more lenient California Historical Building Code, although it will still have to meet fire codes.

Peinert plans to tear down the vacant single-story building on Telegraph that most recently was home to a soul food restaurant. Then he'll build a new foundation and haul over the bar in three trips.

"The house movers say they can move it, so I'm going to trust them," he said.

Peinert wouldn't say how much it will all cost. He figures the bar will likely be closed for about a month and should reopen before the end of the year.

The move will be the latest chapter for the Kingfish, which opened around 1930 as a bait shop serving locals taking trains to fish along the Delta.

With the end of Prohibition, the original owner, William Traverse, started selling beer to men who worked at a nearby creamery. UC Berkeley students adopted the bar in the 1950s.

Kapp, who quarterbacked the Bears to their last Rose Bowl appearance in 1959, was a regular. He kept coming as the team's head coach in the early 1980s, although he wasn't happy that his players followed his lead, former Kingfish owner Bill Vaughn recalled.

The coach called upset that "we were allowing his players to drink here," Vaughn said. "I should have said, 'Look, jerk, you drank here as much as they did.'"

The same easygoing, cheerful atmosphere that attracted jocks to the Kingfish also drew a loyal following of average Joes with nicknames like Hogbody and Lawrence of Aluminum.

The patrons used to drive one old-timer they called Buck to his doctor's appointments. "That has been the spirit of this place," said Terry Mulera, a Berkeley scientist who's been a regular since 1979. "It's been an extended family where everyone took care of everyone else."

The family was basically all-male, and their home had a leaky roof and was dark as a cave.

"It was a great barometer for women," Trebor Allen, 56, recalled. "If they walked inside and stayed, you knew you had a good one."

Like many Kingfish loyalists, Peinert, a financial planner from the Boston area, found a second family there after moving west more than a decade ago. "To me, it's that local dive bar that you walk into and in 20 minutes you feel like you've been going there for 30 years," he said.

When Peinert bought the place in 2009, he didn't change much other than fixing the roof and starting to serve mixed drinks. But the neighborhood was filling up with young professionals, men and women -- and soon so was the Kingfish.

The bar is too small for the generations to segregate themselves. And that's just fine for Cynthia Armour, a 25-year-old Oakland resident, who happened to be sitting on Buck's old stool Tuesday.

"I like coming here in the afternoon when there's a game on and you see all the old-timers in here," she said. "I hope that stays."

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.