“For happiness, how little suffices for happiness!…the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance—little maketh up the best happiness. Be still”—Nietzsche
I'm visiting Oakland in a couple weeks, what are you recommendations on things to check out?
So so much… here is a start
Temescal Alley is kind of happening right now and I am digging it. Aside from the Barbershop there are a bunch of new small shops that have opened. Specifically a new men’s shop carrying Tellason jeans, Taylor Stitch shirts and other fine wear. Down the alleyway is a newer vintage shop that is definitely worth checking out and on the next alleyway over is a killer doughnut shop.
For your post haircut beer (they will give you beer and whiskey at the shop too) I highly recommend The Ave. It is dark, dirty, and has limited selections along with a low tolerance for bullshit… perfect. The people who work there are cool and friendlier than you might think.
Now that you are drunk walk across the street and get a tattoo at Tattoo 13 owned by Freddy Corbin. All the folks there are amazing and you can just get a bit o’ flash to mark the occasion. The Oakland Center For Creative Reuse is kind of amazing, cheap, and weird. Farther down Telegraph, Arbor is a great spot for coffee, local beer, and very pretty stylish girls (and boys too I suppose).
You have lucked out when it comes to food. Bake Sale Betty’s is famous and helped bounce the neighborhood back a long time ago they are known for their fried chicken sandwiches. Here is the inside tip though, Genova in the plaza across the street next to Walgreens is an ancient family owned Italian deli and their sandwiches kick the shit out of anybody else’s. For a nicer sit down kind of deal, Pizzaiolo is a little pricier but probably my second favorite place in the hood.
Some folks will tell you to go to Burma Superstar… it’s ehhh. The Korean Soft Tofu place next door to it is my favorite place by far. I get the Kimchi Soft Tofu Soup order it spicy.
For a slice and some good local beer, Lanesplitters is your best bet.
Now you are wasted, fed, and have some new ink and along with your cut and the new denim you look like a million bucks. So head to the Kingfish, which is another local institution. Maybe that cute lady you saw at Arbor is there and you can ask her to play shuffleboard then order food from the Ethiopian joint across the street. The Kingfish special is $6 and comes with a shot of Old Crow and a Red Stripe.
Portland, Ore - It is so close to the mountains, Bagby Hot Springs, and full of people I love. The preciousness and whiteness gets to me though.
Houston - The vintage boots, museums and galleries, home to so many musicians that I worship, and I fell for a girl there once. It was November, the drought had just broke and she taught me to two-step to Linda Rondstadt’s “Heart Like A Wheel”. She had white curtains on open windows.
Buffalo - I lived there for a long time. It was the closest city to where I grew up (about an hour or so away). Buffalo is like a tumor. It might kill you eventually but to remove it is to cut a piece of yourself away.
New York - Love or hate it - I’ve done both - It truly is the greatest city in the US.
*SF gets an honorable mention but fuck there is a lot of bullshit there right now.
I keep asking for a gerry curl and they keep giving me this haircut. Bunch of assholes.
Literally, I point to Joe or one of the other guys in the shop and say I want it that short on the sides. Then I tell them either long enough to keep the curl or wave or short enough to get rid of it.
To be fair Brad and that crew cut a certain style. It is why all us Oakland cats are looking so good lately.
Best advice, find a barber who you know cuts the kind of style you want. I once tried to take a photo into a really nice schlumpy old dude and told him to give me that haircut. It did not end well.
PS. I have asked dude’s or ladies with a style I dig where they get their shit. If someone is particular about their style they usually don’t mind talking about it.
I asked this really rad lesbian one time about her style and she pointed me to the best vintage men’s shop, the best place for a woman (or a man) to get an good hair cut in SF, and the best lesbian bar that I could go to as a straight man.