We are always amused when those who don’t venture out much are surprised at how friendly and sophisticated Oakland is and especially how vibrant the dining and drinking scene has become. We had heard that the owners of District SF and Ironside in SOMA had just opened District Whiskey and Wine Lounge in Old Oakland and knew we had to check it out. A beautiful Horseshoe Bar made with Brazilian reclaimed barn wood is the centerpiece of this stylish, open and light restaurant/bar. Seating also includes high tables and comfortable couches and there is a Custom Video wall which screens vintage movies and sports.
District Wine & Whiskey Lounge features Specialty Cocktails with Bourbon and other spirits made by Bar Manager Danny Baker, an international Wine List created by Wine Director Caterina Mirabelli and a small plates menu with California, French and Latin influences created by Executive Chef Bob Cina. We sat at a high table and started out with a bottle of Saratoga Sparkling Water and a refreshing Bohemian Bluegrass Cocktail made with Four Roses Bourbon, blueberry, lemon, rosemary and maple syrup. The cocktail was original and wonderful!
We enjoyed quite a few unique and delicious small plates. The Chipotle Deviled Eggs with pickled radish and baby arugula and sprouts were excellent. Next, we enjoyed the tasty Braised Oxtail Sombreros served on crispy corn tortillas with radish, lime and cilantro. The meat was very succulent and the presentation was fun. The Warm Local Asparagus with truffled poached egg, crispy house made pancetta and banylus vinaigrette was simply amazing and definitely a must! We loved the Ahi Tuna Tartare with Peruvian rocoto chili, cucumber and Meyer lemon dressing. The Seared Sea Scallops with candied jalapeno, caviar and ginger-orange mojo were also beautifully presented and definitely popular. The Crispy Fried Escargots with garlic- lemon parsley cream, grilled ham and wild mushroom salad was light and something different for escargot lovers. Make sure you save room for dessert and order it early as it takes some time to come .The Bourbon Bread Pudding with pecans, bourbon caramel and whipped cream was so light, fluffy and delicious that you would make a trip to just order it!
Wine is available by the bottle, by the glass (6 oz. pours) and tasting flights of 3 (3oz. pours) and is served in Riedel glasses which makes a tremendous difference allowing the true flavors of the wines to be appreciated. We enjoyed the Pinot Lovers Flight which included the 2008 Nelles Ruber Pinot Noir, Germany, the 2009 Joseph Drouhin Pinot Noir Chorey-Les- Beaune, France and the 2009 Stoller Pinot Noir Dundee Hills, Oregon. The larger than average pours allowed us to find a favorite which was the smoother French wine.
We had a great time at District Wine & Whiskey Lounge. The small plates were all delicious, the crowd was friendly and sophisticated, and the open, light atmosphere made you feel like having fun. We must return soon to try their Pizzettas, House Made Charcuterie and specialty cheeses. Try their interesting whiskey drinks or a flight of wine and don’t be surprised when you say to your server “I’ll Have Another.”
By Carol & Joe Davis
District- Wine & Whiskey Lounge
837 Washington Street (Old Oakland)
Oakland, CA. 94607