My Oakland neighborhood continues to evolve with recent food additions including a Blue Bottle Cafe and a Trueburger in the works. Another newcomer is the community-building Hog’s Apothecary.

An American-style tavern with an emphasis on everything pig, Hog’s Apothecary opened earlier this year by Bradford Earle and John Stewart-Streit in what’s being called the Jewel Box neighborhood, which technically is the 40th Street corridor near Broadway. (It’s the same spot as the popular Homeroom and a surge of small businesses in a compact block much like, um, a jewel box.)

Hog’s Apothecary’s airy space (made more airy by an opening in the roof) gives off a modern and casual beer hall atmosphere, and the impressive row of handles behind the bar is where the changing list of local craft brews are poured.

Pig-heavy Menu
Many probably come for the beer and camaraderie, but there’s also an interesting menu that — like what you’d expect with beer food — has an emphasis on sausages and meats. The menu is broken into categories, including “bits” (think pretzels and “Cracker John” or home-made Cracker Jacks), starters, butcher coffer (terrine and jarred spreads), sausage sandwiches, plates and sides.

The whimsical bar includes beer quotes and this wall of cool handles pouring a list of 33 local craft brew.

The whimsical bar includes beer quotes and this wall of cool handles pouring a list of 33 local craft brew.

The food has a seasonal touch, such as the starter of “chokes and favas” ($10) that I ate at the bar. It’s a plate of marinated artichokes, fresh favas, ricotta salata, olive, and barley all topped with a Schmaltz-fried farm egg. The barley added a nice heftiness to contrast with the soft-yolk fried egg and tender artichokes and fava.

When I think of beer, I think of German food and there’s a nod to that with the weiner schnitzel ($19), which was a big plate of food including two large pieces of perfectly cooked pounded veal evenly pan-fried to a golden brown color. It came with a warm German potato salad, horseradish and beetroot chrain, arugula, and dijon cream. I wished the potato salad had more of a vinegar taste like how I typically have had German potato salad (the potatoes were too soft and lacked much flavor), but I loved the dijon cream.

If you decide to have the home-made brownie ($6) for dessert, be sure to order it early on because it takes awhile. That’s because the brownie comes out oozing like a molten chocolate cake that turns the accompanying mint chocolate chip ice cream into mush very easily. It’s a rich dessert that probably was too much for me after the weiner schnitzel.

The Last Bite
With shuffleboard and a friendly staff, Hog’s Apothecary is a gourmet beer hall and gathering place drawing out residents of the neighborhood who typically would head to Piedmont Avenue or Rockridge. But now in the tiny Jewel Box, this American tavern is bringing good food and cheer to Oakland.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps
2.5snaps

 

 

Hog’s Apothecary, 375 40th St., Oakland. PH: 510.338.3847. Open Wed.–Mon., 5 p.m. till midnight (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.). No reservations. Major credit cards accepted. www.hogsapothecary.com

The Hog's Apothecary on Urbanspoon

One of the beer I tried was the special of the day, an English-style IPA from Freewheel in Redwood City ($6 pint/$4 during happy hour).

One of the beer I tried was the special of the day, an English-style IPA from Freewheel in Redwood City ($6 pint/$4 during happy hour).

Behind the bar. In the container is the housemade "Cracker John," the chef's play on Cracker Jack.

Behind the bar. In the container is the housemade “Cracker John,” the chef’s play on Cracker Jack.

Chokes and Favas is a plate of marinated artichokes, fresh favas, ricotta salata, olive, and barley all topped with a Schmaltz-fried farm egg, $10

Chokes and Favas is a plate of marinated artichokes, fresh favas, ricotta salata, olive, and barley all topped with a Schmaltz-fried farm egg, $10

A modern beer hall feel at Hog's Apothecary.

A modern beer hall feel at Hog’s Apothecary.

Weiner schnitzel with warm German potato salad, horseradish and beetroot chrain, arugula, and dijon cream, $19

Weiner schnitzel with warm German potato salad, horseradish and beetroot chrain, arugula, and dijon cream, $19

Sitting at the bar gets you close to the beer and the TV showing sports.

Sitting at the bar gets you close to the beer and the TV showing sports.

The open kitchen in the back of the dining room.

The open kitchen in the back of the dining room.

House-made brownie with mint chocolate ice cream, $6

House-made brownie with mint chocolate ice cream, $6

Pouring straight from the wall.

Pouring straight from the wall.

There's seating all around the dining area, which is perfect with the warm weather.

There’s counter seating along two window walls of the dining area, which is perfect with the warm weather.

Hog's Apothecary is joining the upswing in new business in what's called the "Jewel Box" neighborhood on 40th Street in Oakland.

Hog’s Apothecary is joining the upswing in new business in what’s called the “Jewel Box” neighborhood on 40th Street in Oakland.

 

4 Responses to A Review of Hog’s Apothecary in Oakland

  1. I’ve only ever read about the drinks here, so it’s good to know that the food is on point too – that brownie looks out of control!

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    That brownie a la mode DOES look enormous! And any place that has homemade Cracker Jacks sounds like a place worth trying. ;)

  3. Row says:

    What a cool-looking bar… love how the handles are arranged! How was the IPA?

    • Ben Ben says:

      I wasn’t that excited about the English IPA. But then the bartender recommended another beer, which I forgot to write down or photograph, of course, and that was much better.

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