Bar Hopping in Oakland: Boot & Shoe Service and Prizefighter
Over Labor Day weekend, I took a quickie trip up to SF for my birthday. I flew into Oakland and we decided to make a night out of it. I had heard so much about Camino and wanted to eat there. Before dinner, we got cocktails at Boot and Shoe Service down the street from Camino.
My friend ordered the Leatherneck Special (high proof bourbon, barolo chinato, orange bitters) and I got La Pluma del Fenix (bourbon, lemon, Cointreau, Cocchi Torino, Fernet). First, I was impressed that the pricing was $10 a cocktail. And the drinks were well-made. I liked my drink but I liked my friend’s a tad more and vice versa. I think she secretly wanted to trade which I offered to do but she bravely kept drinking the overproof Manhattan style drink.
Boot and Shoe was busy so we sat outside on the patio. I wouldn’t mind going back to try the pizza. They’re known for their potato pizza in particular. It looks like quite the cozy date place with the larger patio for rowdy parties.
After dinner at Camino, we decided we had time to check out one other bar in Oakland before heading back to SF. We picked Prizefighter. I had heard much about them and saw some bartenders from there at Tales of the Cocktail this past July. I’d mentioned I was heading out and they said they’ll be waiting for me.
It didn’t appear Prizefighter would get much walk-by traffic as they sit by themselves on a seemingly desolate block. The garden patio opens up to the main bar where everyone was crowded around. Luckily we found a couple of bar seats right in front of the beer taps. I spent most of the night trying to figure out where the lines where because I saw a bartender open up the main panel and I could see it was storage, not beer lines.
After reviewing the cocktail list, I broke my bartender’s choice as a first cocktail rule. I was in the mood for Cynar and asked for something with it. As the bartender gathered the ingredients I recognized it for a Berlioni. Later she would confirm it was not a “Cynar Negroni” as I casually mentioned I liked drinking. She pointed out the dry vermouth and said she used different specs. Yep, a Berlioni, probably straight out of the PDT Cocktail Book which was displayed at the bar. A Berlioni is Cynar, gin and dry vermouth. It is accredited to a German bartender who named it after what else, Berlin.
My friend got a cocktail off the list, the Whiskey Apple Soda. It’s light and refreshing. None of the hard stuff like the drink she had earlier at Boot and Shoe. We did need to get back to the city somehow….
© The Minty 2012