Drinking Design Diary: Plum Bar


There are two things I’ve recently promised myself I would do more of: read things that inspire me and aren’t the newspaper and go to Oakland.

I know it sounds like a strange pairing, but I actually got a fix of both the other night when I went to the opening of Plum Bar, the new watering hole adjacent to Daniel Patterson’s celebrated restaurant, Plum.

Designed by Scott Kester (who also decked out Patterson’s Plum, Coi and the forthcoming Haven), the 1,500-square-foot space is in Oakland’s Uptown District (Oakland: check!) and has walls covered in the torn-out pages of more than 60 books by America’s great poets (reading: check!). The warm wood floors, custom leather booths and stools, and of course, the delectable cocktails by mixologist Scott Beatie, had be feeling inspired in no time flat. 

Produce played a starring role in many of the cocktails (below is fennel in a Brulee Old Fashioned and parsley and pickled radishes in the Rad Radish), and most of it was was grown nearby—specifically in the eight-foot-high greenhouse cabinet right next to the bar. If the generous garnishes don’t fill you up, the bites by Chef Ron Boyd (who also heads up the kitchen at Plum) elevate bar food to the level of poetry. 

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