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Patrons have dinner and drinks at Flora Restaurant and Bar in Oakland, Calif., on Friday June 5, 2009. (Ray Chavez/Staff)

Pisco is a chic little bar on upper Market Street in San Francisco, where I happened to be Wednesday night. A co-owner mentioned his sister was planning a night out in Oakland and was wondering where to start. So I put together a multicourse menu with some substitutions spread out across several districts.

The list is not exhaustive, but once you're in one district you'll find other places nearby you'll want to explore next time.

For starters

These places are restaurants where the bars are pronounced features. They are good for entertaining visitors you want to introduce to Oakland.

  • Flora: A refined cocktail, a bite to eat and a show at the Fox Theater across the street. The best place to pretend you are Bette Davis or Hemingway. Info: www.floraoakland.com, 1900 Telegraph Ave., 510-286-0100.

  • B Restaurant and Bar: Mellow and friendly. An elegant collection of beer, wine and spirits. Info: www.boakland.com, 499 Ninth St., 510-251-8770.

  • Encuentro: The hottest little vegetarian tapas boîte in town. Info: www.encuentrooakland.com, 200 Second St., 510-832-9463.


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  • Bocanova: Glittering view of the waterfront from the patio. Info: http://bocanova.com, Jack London Square, 55 Webster St., 510-444-1233.

  • A Cote: Dining or just drinking here gives you the kind of glow that comes from a really good red. Info: www.acoterestaurant.com, 5478 College Ave., 510-655-6469.

    Jump right in

    If you want to just jump into the evening with a bar or lounge, check out these places.

  • The Layover: Hand-sewn throw pillows, retro hanging lamps, plush arm chairs and a lot of gold, purple and green. Think Las Vegas meets Marrakech, circa 1970. DJs and dancing. Info: www.oaklandlayover.com, 1517 Franklin St., 510-834-1517.

  • Era Art Bar Lounge: Two floors, DJs, local art on the walls and a generally lipstick-and-jacket crowd sitting on handcrafted chaises under handblown light fixtures listening to smooth beats. Dancing is encouraged. Info: www.oaklandera.com, 19 Grand Ave., 510-832-4400.

  • Paradiso Lounge: A feel-good melting pot for beautiful people. Info: www.disolounge.com, 2272 Telegraph Ave., 510-735-9095.

  • Somar: Think small SoMa danceclub. Info: http://somarbar.wordpress.com, 1727 Telegraph Ave.

  • Bench and Bar: Gay disco. Info: www.bench-and-bar.com, 510 17th St., 510-444-2266.

  • Cafe Van Kleef: Eclectic, in a word. Info: www.cafevankleef.com, 1621 Telegraph Ave., 510-763-7711.

  • Liege: Liege lounge purrs with velvety décor. To quote a patron: "Even outside, it felt all good and sexy." Info: www.liegeoakland.com, 481 9th St., 510-835-4343.

  • Easy Lounge: Major pickup action. Smoking is permitted on the patio. Info: http://easy510.com, 3255 Lakeshore Ave., 510-338-4911.

  • Geisha: Hip-hop vibe by night. Old-fashioned photo booth. 316 14th St.

    Dive Bars

    (Or close enough.) No explanation necessary.

  • The Avenue: 4822 Telegraph Ave., 510-654-1423.

  • The Warehouse Bar and Grill: www.thewarehousebar.net, 402 Webster St., 510-451-3161.

  • Merchant's Saloon: www.merchants-saloon.com, 401 Second St., 510-465-8032.

  • Smitty's: 3339 Grand Ave., 510-834-1591.

  • Baggy's by the Lake: http://baggysbythelake.com, 288 East 18th St., 510-763-5721.

  • Radio: 435 13th St., 510-451-2889.

  • Ruby Room: 132 14th St., 510-444-7224.

    Tiki Bars

  • Conga Lounge: www.congalounge.com, 5422 College Ave., 510-463-2681.

  • Kona Club: www.konaclub.net, 4401 Piedmont Ave., 510-654-7100.

    Rhythm & Blues

  • The Capri Lounge: www.atthecapri.com, 474 Roland Way, 510-635-6100.

  • Lakeside Lounge: http://lakesideloungeoak.com, 338 East 18th St., 510-452-2254.

  • Celestine's: 8475 Edes Ave., 510-633-2536.

    Wrapping it up

  • Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon: www.heinoldsfirstandlastchance.com, 48 Webster St., 510-839-6761.

  • Uncle Dougie's Heroes: 362 17th St., 510-832-3131.

  • Home of Chicken and Waffles: www.hcwchickenandwaffles.com, 444 Embarcadero West, 510-836-4446.

    Contact Angela Woodall at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/angelawoodall or Facebook.com/angelawoodall.