East Bay’s Best Bars For Big Groups

July 4, 2013 5:00 AM

When it comes to going out to a friendly local bar, sharing time with friends or coworkers can be the best way to go. Here are five friendly spots around the East Bay where your group will be welcomed with tipsy, open arms.

Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse
1920 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 843-2739

Brothers John and Reid Martin found a home for their love of beer and brewing when they opened Triple Rock in 1985. Today, Triple Rock is a hugely popular brewpub and a fun gathering place not far from the famed University of California at Berkeley campus. As one of the first brewpubs in the country, Triple Rock Brewery has become legendary for serious brew aficionados in the Bay Area. Employees here are prepped for knowledge and understanding of not only the brews sold at Triple Rock, but of beer in general, and are tested on that knowledge as well. Triple Rock hosts or participates in annual beer events such as SF Beer Week with a lineup of brews and some brewers who make them. These events attract groups of friends to share in the party atmosphere. Triple Rock offers a brew-friendly menu, including snacks, burgers, sandwiches and vegetarian options too. Visit the website for the full story and all the details.

Albatross Pub
1822 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 843-2473

The Albatross is Berkeley’s oldest pub and known for its cozy, laid-back vibe. The pub sits a bit away from the UC campus and is a local secret that nevertheless is a pretty popular spot. It is a great place for groups to gather as the Pub has a lot to offer beyond the frothy beer and competitive spirits. In addition to the drink selections, the accompanying draw is everything else the Pub offers. There is live music, plus art gallery shows and lots of games: wooden tables playing Connect Four, Scrabble, Boggle and many other board games. Join the weekly darts tournament or enjoy the pool tables, and every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. is the Brainstormer Trivia Pub Quiz. Just sign up and come alone or with a small team – no more than five people – and you may even win drink tokens as prizes. The Albatross understands when you need some space and encourages it big time. The Pub takes reservations for parties both large and small, and also rents out the entire place when it is closed. Visit the website for complete information.

Related: Best Secret Bars In East Bay

Kona Club
4401 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 654-7100

This hidden gem is easy to pass by, but fans warn you not to overlook it. Kona Club is casual and laid back and seems to never get so crowded and uncomfortable that you cannot find a seat. The place captures a cool tiki bar vibe without being tacky. The bartenders have a reputation for being “super nice,” and make a combination of yummy drinks with names such as Macadamia Nut Chi Chi, Kona Sutra, Beachcomer Zombie and Kiss of Death – not a bad way to go. Try a Scorpion Bowl, which serves three or more. Fans describe Kona Club as a great place to meet up with friends to enjoy excellent drinks, superb ambiance, good music and “blow your socks off tiki décor.” There is even a smoke-spewing volcano that erupts without warning and covers the bar with a mysterious warm glow. Parties are very welcomed here, and the club’s spacious back room can accommodate plenty of friends. Outside food is welcomed as well. Contact Kona Club to book your party; all guests must be over 21 years. See the website for full details.

Buddy’s Bites & Brews
24297 Hesperian Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 300-3388

Buddy’s Bites & Brews gets high marks as a super fun place with excellent comfort food. Its fans say this is a great place to bring a group of friends — buddies — to enjoy the casual ambiance and camaraderie the beach theme invites. Buddy’s is a California pub started by a surf instructor and his friends who wanted to bring a place with a laid-back beach vibe to Hayward. Buddy’s Bites & Brews serves California-style pub food, great microbrews and wine, and there are promotions and events happening almost every night. Visit the website for full promotion details. The website’s beach and surf sounds will put you in the perfect Buddy’s mood.

JP DasBrew Tasting Room
44356 S. Grimmer Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
(415) 517-8100

Grab some friends and try something different this week. JP DasBrew is a small brewery, established in 2010, and owned and operated by German-born Jan Schutze and his wife Priscilla. Jan has been brewing beers for 25 years and originally wanted to brew only German-style beers with an American finish, but after recognizing how popular IPAs had become in California, decided to try brewing an Imperial IPA. With surprisingly good results, Jan has added a second IPA and hopes to add new brews in the future. Stop by the DasBrew Tasting Room to sample a flight of yummy beers paired with chocolates and sometimes with cheeses, and always with pretzels. This is a great locale to enjoy with a group of beer-loving friends. DasBrew beers can be found at a variety of bars and restaurants around the Bay Area. Visit the website for complete information on Tasting Room hours, upcoming events and locations that sell DasBrew beers. 

Related: East Bay Bartenders Mix It Up With Champagne

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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