I was the lucky recipient of my friend A’s extra ticket to Jose Gonzalez at the Fox Theater last night. A is from Indiana and new to the Bay Area. I got to pick a place to have a drink before the show. My first thought was Fauna, but it’s not open on Sunday. Some other bars in Uptown are also closed on Sunday nights. “What is this the Bay Area or the Bible Belt?” my friend asked. Good point A. She hasn’t been to Dogwood or Diving Dog but I don’t the vibe at the former or beer at the latter so I decided to head to Cafe Van Kleef.
Cafe Van Kleef looks like it’s fun and it is. There’s all kinds of weird shit and taxidermy to look at. The clientele is diverse, the female bartenders are super nice, and sometimes Tumbledown House plays there. The best part about Cafe Van Kleef is the fresh squeezed Greyhounds or Salty Dogs or Palomas or… The place was mellow on a Sunday night before a show and I enjoyed myself there more than at Fox’s own Den (the bartender there charged for Sprite, whereas it was free at Cafe Van Kleef).
I wondered if Cafe Van Kleef looked super Oakland (ugly with character) to A or if it just looked like an Applebee’s on crack.