The New York Times made news last week when it named the city of Oakland one of its 45 places in the world to visit in 2012. Placing Oakland 5th on the list — right between London and Tokyo — the Times credited the Fox Theater renovation as the main reason why Oakland’s “revitalized nightlife scene has continued to smolder.” The Times added:
The city’s ever more sophisticated restaurants are now being joined by upscale cocktail bars, turning once-gritty Oakland into an increasingly appealing place to be after dark.
The Times’ piece reinforces an article that the Oakland Tribune’s Cecily Burt wrote last month about the rise of successful Oakland entrepreneurs and small business owners, all despite a sluggish economy the past three years. Burt wrote:
Dozens of … determined entrepreneurs aren’t waiting for things to turn around. They are thumbing their noses at the economy and opening new shops, restaurants and galleries in Oakland at a pace most other cities can only envy.
Jason Overman, aide to Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, said businesses have added about 1,500 new jobs in the past year, which he called amazing given the state of the economy. … There also have been 50 new restaurant openings the past year, he said.
… Despite the economy, (Drew Lisac, Mayor Jean Quan’s economic adviser) is pleased and amazed that people are willing to take a chance. “It’s been so odd for me. Everybody outside of Oakland is saying everything is doom and gloom, but actually here it’s quite the opposite.”
Likewise, Homeroom, the Temescal district eatery that specializes in Mac ‘n’ Cheese, recently was covered by the Chronicle, which gave the popular Oakland hot spot rave reviews.
Lastly, there is a new Oakland waterfront restaurant called Haven, Daniel Patterson’s place at 44 Webster St. — which faces all those sailboats docked in the Oakland harbor. Now, Haven and Bocanova are two eateries that basically surround the venerable Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon on Jack London’s south end, the area closest to the Victory Court site. Walking around Jack London Square this unseasonably warm weekend, it was easy to imagine 35,000 to 40,000 A’s fans leaving a Victory Court ballpark at 4 p.m. on a sunny summer day, ready to add cash to Oakland’s tax coffers by eating and partying at these new establishments that are popping up along the harbor and in downtown Oakland.
Just ask The New York Times.