A couple of years ago, I noticed that a building around the corner of my Oakland apartment was up for lease. Formerly the home of a mattress outlet, I thought it would be a beautiful space for a restaurant with the building’s historic look and high ceilings.
Well, a restaurant didn’t move in, but probably the next best thing did – a Blue Bottle Café.
The gourmet coffee company, which has an Oakland roasting facility and offices nearby, opened one of its largest cafés in the corner building diagonally across from the Oakland Technical High School. They’ve played up the high ceilings of the W.C. Morse building with contemporary chandeliers and lighting and dedicated a quarter of the space for a repair station to fix espresso equipment, ala Apple’s Genius Bar.
The open, bright space has perked up the neighborhood, drawing out residents who typically head to either College Avenue in Rockridge or Piedmont Avenue to get their coffee fix. Now this quiet corridor of Broadway is waking up (a Trueburger is also slated to open a few blocks away).
As you know, I’m not a big coffee drinker but I love having this café just two blocks away. When I visited, I found a nice display of baked goods to go with the coffee (and they serve Five Mountain tea if that’s more your flavor) and its signature “wafflegotto” (a liege waffle with Ici vanilla ice cream and a shot of espresso like affogato) for $8.
While Blue Bottle does have its detractors, most of the buzz I’ve heard from people visiting the Oakland café has been enthusiastic about Blue Bottle’s presence and what they’ve done to the historic building. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Blue Bottle Café, 4270 Broadway, Oakland. Open weekdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; weekends, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website
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