In the quest to find a decent place to host my little birthday get together, DJC and I had decided on a wine bar called Franklin Square in downtown Oakland. It's owned by the same folks that own Luka's Taproom across the street and since we like that place (for the most part), we figured that Franklin Square would be equally as cool, with a respectable wine selection. We'd decided that we were going to try it out on Friday night after a movie. Then...then we read the Yelp reviews.
Most times, I don't take too much stock in what Yelpers have to say, because I feel that most of them are washed-up hipsters that will slam places that they secretly love without hesitation just because its what hipsters are supposed to do. But every now and then, I pay attention to what they're saying, and in the case of Franklin Square, we steered clear of the place. It just seemed so...generic and yet pretentious all at the same time. Not at all what I had in mind.
A little discouraged, I did a bit more Yelp searching and came upon a place called Marc 49. It's also located in Oakland, but in the uber-trendy (read: hipster-infested) Temescal area. I balked at the location, but all of the positive reviews won me over in this case. So, after seeing "Gran Torino" (SO amazing, BTW) on Friday night, DJC and I checked it out. Now you can, too:
Aaaah, this is more like it! This is actually the back "room", which has open windows and heat lamps overhead. It's cozy, warm and perfectly charming. I really dug all of the wood. Actually, the whole place is charming. The wine was great and the food was more than passable (tasty panini sandwiches and salads) with excellent service. The only downside was that the back room got CROWDED. And loud. And the tables may have been a smidge too low for the food. But those things are small when compared to how much I really loved the vibe and feel of this place.
I reserved the entire back room on the way out the door. A great wine bar in Oakland? WIN!!