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 

Blue Bottle's new cafe in Oakland is one of its largest, with high ceilings and lots of natural light.

Blue Bottle’s new cafe in Oakland is one of its largest, with high ceilings and lots of natural light.

I tried a Mandarin buckle (top) and the cafe has many of Blue Bottle's signature coffee equipment like the drip for Kyoto style coffee

I tried a Mandarin buckle (top) and the cafe has many of Blue Bottle’s signature coffee equipment like the drip for Kyoto style coffee

Barista at work

Barista at work

I got a soy latte, which I enjoyed. The soy definitely helped compared to when I get a regular latte with milk.

I got a soy latte, which I enjoyed. The soy definitely helped compared to when I get a regular latte with milk.

A window to the tech station. It hasn't been busy so far, but the tech guy always seem helpful and ready to answer any questions about coffee equipment.

A window to the tech station. It hasn’t been busy so far, but the tech guy always seem helpful and ready to answer any questions about coffee equipment.

The cafe has a lot of nice touches, like floral centerpieces in a communal table

The cafe has a lot of nice touches, like floral centerpieces in a communal table

You see a large selection of pastries and baked goods before you get to the ordering station

You see a large selection of pastries and baked goods before you get to the ordering station

These a row of fancy espresso equipment almost like an exhibit

There’s a row of fancy espresso equipment almost like an exhibit

Not sure what equipment this was in the tech station. But I liked the afternoon light.

Not sure what equipment this was in the tech station. But I liked the afternoon light.

The Wafflegatto is a unique spin on the affogatto

The Wafflegatto is a unique spin on the affogatto

The cafe is right at the corner across from Oakland Tech high school

The cafe is right at the corner across from Oakland Tech high school

I love the ceramic tiles of the historic W.C. Morse building. I'm glad Blue Bottle decided to preserve it and bring new life to the space.

I love the ceramic tiles of the historic W.C. Morse building. I’m glad Blue Bottle decided to preserve it and bring new life to the space.

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One Response to Blue Bottle Brightens an Oakland Neighborhood

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    You’re so lucky to be close to Blue Bottle. The coffee is sooooo smooth. Definitely a treat.