4/10/2013 04:21:00 PM

Tribune Tavern: Oakland's New Ingredient-Driven Waterhole

Back in the day when dinosaurs ruled the earth and people got their local news from newspapers, the Oakland Tribune’s “local room” was the place where reporters from different departments gathered to share stories and tips of the day. Starting tonight, it’ll be home to Tribune Tavern, the latest venture from the guys behind Chop Bar and The Grand Tavern showcasing re-envisioned moderately priced British pub-style fare and local and hand-crafted libations. The menu, overseen by Huw Thornton (A16 and SPQR), is fairly heavy and meat-centric (potted pates, shepherd’s pie steak, stout-braised short ribs and guilty fries - French fries slathered with beer-and-cheese fondue and pulled pork), but diners can also cobble together a somewhat healthier (and even vegetarian) meal from its small selection of market-driven vegetable dishes such as grilled asparagus or creamed kale.

Equally important will be the Tribune’s bar program, managed by Paul Christian (Haven, Plum Bar), which boasts its own dedicated kitchen for the production of its own house-made sodas, tonics, liqueurs, syrups and bitters and where the staff will employ modern techniques (including sous-vide ingredients, barrel-aging, carbonation) for its offerings. Tribune's bar is also stocked with 8 local craft beers on tap (including two exclusive cask beers), along with 10 wines on tap (all from wineries with ties to Oakland) and a 60-bottle wine list focusing on small production California wines. 

Set on the ground floor of the historic Tribune Tower building, the sprawling dining room (with a small heated street-side patio) maintains the vibe of that bygone era through the reuse of many antique fixtures and materials including pressed-tin ceiling tiles, the original marble now on the bar and in the entryway, and a communal table built from old wheel-barrels found on site. To begin, the Tribune Tavern will be only be open for happy hour (3-6 PM) and dinner Monday-Saturday, but plans to introduce lunch service in the future. 

Tribune Tavern: 409 13th St.; Oakland, 510-452-8742


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