How To Spend 48-Hours In Black-Owned Oakland
By DeAnna Taylor
Oakland is one of several cities that make up California’s Bay Area. It is filled with so much charm and history. While gentrification is beginning to take over in some areas, there are still plenty of Black-owned businesses thriving across the city.
If you have plans to head to The Bay, or Oakland specifically, here’s how you can spend your time supporting Black businesses.
Check in to your accommodation at B Love’s Guesthouse. This Black-woman owned flat provides a chill and laid back environment for artists and business travelers to get a little R&R while in Oakland.
To start your day with the fuel you need, head to Red Bay Coffee. There are two locations within Oakland, but the main shop and roasting room can be found at 3098 E. 10th Street. Founded in 2014 by Keba Konte, the team at Red Bay truly loves what they do.
Get in a little retail therapy at Ancient Treasure. This natural skincare line was started by an African Medicine Woman and she uses her lifestyle to help other women feel confident and achieve radiant skin. The shop can be found at 1675 7th Street Ste. 23501.
If you are ready to indulge in lunch, you have a few options to choose from. If you are plant-based, you will really enjoy Souley Vegan. Located at 301 Broadway, this vegan eatery cooks up some amazing burgers among other dishes. You will definitely want to try the ‘Pray 4 Me’ burger.
As a second option, and just down the block, get your fix of chicken at waffles at none other than Home of Chicken and Waffles. Since 2004, Derreck Johnson and his family have been cooking up “soul food at its best.” Of course, the main attractions are the chicken and waffle plates, but you will find other items on the menu too.
If you need to walk off a little of your food, Jack London Square is an awesome waterfront area that provides scenic views.
For a little culture, make your way over to the Oakland Museum of California. Considered the top-rated museum in the Bay, you will find several Black themed exhibits currently going on. Most notable is the Black Power exhibit which aims to highlight the Black Power Movement that took place in California. If you happen to visit on a Friday, save your visit for later as the museum hosts a special Friday Night party at the museum during the warmer months.
To get a glimpse of Oakland native Marshawn Lynch’s contribution to the area, head to Beastmode Apparel. The former NFL star opened this store a few years back and it features pieces from his clothing line under the same name. If you’re lucky you may just catch him in the store as well.
For dinner, check out Everet & Jones BBQ also near Jack London Square. Whether it’s brisket or grilled ribs that you prefer, you can guarantee that you will leave satisfied. They are most known for their famous sauces, so stock up if you can.
If you’re in search of a little after-dinner cocktail, the Black-owned bar Oeste is the place to go. Featuring an amazing rooftop bar as well, this place has been named one of the best Black bars of the year.
For a little late night action, just around the corner, you’ll find Liege Spirits Lounge.
If you had a late-night, you’ll most definitely be ready for a hearty breakfast. If that’s the case we suggest two amazing options. First up, Brown Sugar Kitchen. Located at 2295 Broadway, it is the brainchild of popular chef Tanya Holland. The Louisiana native has introduced the Bay to some unique dishes including a smoked pork hash that is everything!
If you’re in the mood for something a little more old school, Lois the Pie Queen is your spot. This small, counter-style eatery is known for its hearty Southern-inspired breakfasts. But, the real winners are the specialty pies including a raspberry key lime pie that Lois perfected.
Do a little high-end shopping at McMullen. Owner Sherri McMullen supports emerging brands and those that tell a story through their work. While she features designers from all over the world, her focus is on African, African American, and female designers in the luxury space.
Stop by the Betti Ono Art Gallery, just a few blocks from McMullen. The space features pieces from artists of all backgrounds. Most recently, the featured exhibit is titled: A Call from Baldwin: Why Our Initiative Invokes “The Fire Next Time.” Keep in mind they are only open from noon until 5 pm on most days.
Still full from your breakfast? Opt for a sweet treat at Cupcakin Bakeshop in Swan’s Market instead. This woman-owned spot was started by Lila Owens in 2010. They offer different flavors daily so check the calendar before you head over.
If you happen to be in the area on a Friday, you’ll see the market taking place in the streets just outside of Swan’s until 2 pm. Look for the Way to Life Foods tent. This family-owned small business makes healthy granolas in over a dozen flavors. They even make homemade vegan cinnamon rolls and cookies. too.
To pick up a few Black-inspired books stop by Marcus Book Store located at 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. This independent shop has been in the area since the ’60s.
Now, it’s time to close out your trip right. Just on the border of Oakland and Emeryville is Rob Ben’s. Also owned by Marshawn Lynch, this restaurant and bar is truly a vibe. The garlic noodles and crab are a hit, but it’s only sold on certain nights.
Finish out your night with a drink from Dante, the bartender there. Ask for the Henny Sidecar.
Note: Oakland mural done by @trustyourstrugglecollective.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.