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Merchant's Saloon

Map & Directions 401 Second
Oakland, CA 94607
  • Sun, Sat 12pm-2am, Mon-Fri 7am-2am


SF Weekly's Description

Condos and loft conversions may be popping up all over Jack London Square, but you wouldn't know it upon walking into Merchant's Saloon. This intentionally unkempt dive bar's motto is "poisoning Oakland since 1916," and here you're more likely to encounter off-duty dock laborers, warehouse forklift operators, or scruffy skate punks than clean-cut new neighbors discussing yoga and wine. Lowbrow art murals and tattoo-inspired black light paintings set the visual aesthetic. A jukebox adds background noise, shuffling between hard rock and vintage country. And the separate back room looks and feels like a clubhouse for scalawags, with pool, foosball, and air hockey tables taking up much of the space, while retro arcade games and a beat-up antique piano - evoking the 1980s and 1880s, respectively - line the graffiti-scrawled walls. Clearly the Merchant's Saloon isn't meant for everybody. Its ideal clientele is one that likes stiff drinks, not stiff collars, and they'll let you know instantly where you stand.

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Tips from foursquare

  • Vasken H. on 08/06/11

    Diveiest dive I've ever seen. Fucking win.

  • Paul V. on 10/01/10

    This is what Oakland's all about!

  • Bill, the Butcher on 02/11/11

    Come from 7am to 10am for morning specials daily

  • Irene C. on 07/10/13

    A whiskey neat + a whiskey ginger = 6 bucks. What.

  • Brett J. on 11/07/11

    It's a dive bar. Cheap drinks and interesting people watching.

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