When Mad Oak first opened last summer, I was in like. I’m a sucker for hiddenish warehousey graffitied rooftop with concrete views (Hey Mua, mostly!) drinking establishments. It reminded me of LA, the good part of LA, downtown. I like LA, I lived there for ten years beyond college. When I say that something reminds me of LA, it’s usually a compliment. Donut shop like LA equals compliment. Fashion market like LA, also a compliment. Art party like LA, I’m there. I could go on.
Wednesday night my friends and I met at Mad Oak for Books and Beer club. We were all business that night. The book selection was The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. People brought pages of note and outside articles ready to deeply discuss.
When did Mad Oak turn into a sports bar? I realize that every bar turns into a sports bar when the Warriors are playing but there were a ton of very large TVs. Large groups of men were everywhere in jerseys watching. I’m not complaining exactly. I will complain that there were no heat lamps on the roof. There are very few places to sit inside (wasted space in the back IMO). We ended up moving some people (we asked nicely) and claiming part of a long picnic table in the front patio.
I had a LA Street Burger (I’ve never bought a burger on the street in LA before) with shoestring fries. They have a full menu now. I’m pretty sure it’s a separate restaurant but since Mad Oak doesn’t seem to have a website, I am unable to say who cooked my food. They used to just have empanadas made by Javi’s Cooking. My burger was really soft and small. It was juicy and the bun was brioche maybe. I don’t like bacon jam so I gave half away. I loved the fries, especially the ones with some yummy red stuff sprinkled on them that my friend ordered.
We took a break to watch the Warriors win in OT. My friend T said she thought the vibe was weird, that there were too many bros watching sports. I said, “It’s always reminded me of LA.” As a good Bay Area resident, she took that to mean LA not in a good way. In this case I agree. Mad Oak feels like LA in bad way.