Beer Revolution, Rosamunde, Bernal Cutlery

Beer Revolution has been a favorite spot for East Bay beer lovers for the past 10 years; its owner says it’s going on pause when “bars can be bars again.” Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Beer Revolution taps out for now

We heard word that Beer Revolution, the 10-year-old craft beer taproom at 464 Third St. in Jack London Square has possibly closed for good.  A beer lovers’ wonderland, Beer Rev offered nearly 50 taps and many more bottles and cans of specialty brews, along with a low-key place to enjoy said suds over some punk rock tunes. The bar closed when the pandemic arrived, and although the bar’s voicemail still has a hopeful message of it reopening, visitors to Beer Rev’s website will find it mostly non-operational, with a short but sweet note from owner Rebecca Boyles, aka Rebecca Revolution: “thank you for all the amazing years in beer.”

Nosh has attempted to contact Boyles for more details. In the meantime, on Facebook, she shared that she has “decided to put a pause on Beer Revolution,” adding “I created this place to be filled with people, building community, a place for best friends to meet, brewers to show off their amazing suds, all while drinking the best brews in California. The current landscape is not conducive to this environment… I am not gone for good, though, I’ll wait to come back when bars can be bars again.” She aims to bring Beer Rev back in 2022. We wish Beer Revolution a happy return in the future.

Bernal Cutlery closes on 40th Street

Bernal Cutlery’s Oakland knife shop on 40th Street, seen here in 2018, has closed for good. Photo: Sarah Han

Bernal Cutlery has closed its Oakland knife shop at 308 40th St. As with Beer Rev, the store has been temporarily closed since March with intentions to return. But on Sept. 7, the business announced on Instagram that it will be leaving the space for good: “We have struggled to find a way to open the Oakland store during Covid in a way that would be safe for our employees and customers and not drain us financially but with all the pieces that would need to come together, we have not been able to.”

The Oakland store opened in 2018, and was the second location for Josh Donald’s San Francisco knife shop, which sold an amazing collection of new and vintage, mostly Japanese and European, cooking knives along with other covetable kitchen tools, and which offered Japanese whetstone and wet grinding sharpening services for both home cooks and restaurant professionals.

There is some good news — before the pandemic, Donald and crew had already been talking about opening a bigger store in Oakland, and they hope to actualize that plan once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, Bernal Cutlery’s online shop is still selling wares, and its San Francisco shop is taking drop-offs for sharpening services. During this time of transition, Bernal Cutlery is giving free return shipping to East Bay customers on all sharpening orders through the end of 2020.

Farewell to Rosamunde’s last remaining East Bay location

Another San Francisco-based business has called it quits in Oakland. Rosamunde Sausage Grill announced Tuesday that it has closed its outpost at Swan’s Market, its last remaining East Bay location. In 2017, Rosamunde closed its Temescal restaurant, and perhaps even sadder, two years later, the sausage-and-beer eatery shuttered its original 20-year-old Lower Haight restaurant. At this time, the Mission Street Rosamunde and its sister restaurant Willkommen, both in San Francisco, are still open.

According to a message Rosamunde staff posted on Facebook, sustaining the business in Oakland was too difficult while its regular customer base has been sheltering in place. “Unfortunately, this location has fallen victim to the dramatic decrease in business that followed the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread office closures downtown as people sheltered in place and worked from home. While too many restaurants and bars have already closed, we are fortunate that our Mission Street location and our sister restaurant have not been as adversely affected.”

Kosher wines for Rosh Hashanah

With Rosh Hashanah starting Friday night, we wanted to remind you that Covenant Wines, Berkeley’s kosher winery is open and offering bottles via curbside pickup at its tasting room.

Covenant offers a number of varietals at a range of price points, including a bubbly Blanc de Blancs ($38) — perfect for toasting the new year — and its lush, full-bodied and splurge-worthy Solomon Lot 70 ($150), featuring Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown on Leslie Rudd’s estate in Napa Valley. There are also affordable selections amongst its Red C, Mensch, The Tribe, Landsman, and Winemaker Blends collections. Locals can order online and select “pickup and alternate options” to arrange in-person pickup.

For those interested in learning more about the role wine plays in Jewish culture, RSVP for tonight’s free Zoom conversation at 7 p.m., presented by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and co-sponsored by Covenant and Chochmat HaLev. Maggid Jhos Singer will discuss the history of liquor and wine throughout history, especially its place in Jewish rituals. RSVP to get the Zoom log-in information (and find a 15% off discount code for Covenant wines for the month of September on Chocomat HaLev’s website).

And just for the record, while Covenant’s wines are a perfect fit for a Rosh Hashanah celebration, they can be enjoyed at any time, by anyone. Covenant Wines, 1102 Sixth St. (between Red Oak and Harrison streets), Berkeley 

Berkeley Restaurant Week To-Go is on

Berkeley Restaurant Week To-Go launched yesterday, featuring more than 60 participating restaurants, cafes, dessert spots and wineries offering special menus of takeout and outdoor dining eats priced between $15-$25 per person. The line-up includes longtime venues like Musical Offering Cafe, Julia’s Restaurant, Jupiter and Homemade Cafe; newer spots like Cali Alley, Southside Station, Garden Variety and Blue Ox Wine; and tried and true favorites like Ippuku, Riva Cucina, Doc’s Refresher, Lemat and Royal Rangoon (I linked to each restaurant’s BRWToGo special; but there are many, many others to check out on the website). You have until Sept. 30 to eat your way through the choices.

Blake’s Grillery is back in action

Cheese fried tacos from Blake's Grillery, a taco pop-up that helps three East Bay bars stay open for outdoor seating. Photo: Blake's Grillery
Cheese fried tacos from Blake’s Grillery, a taco pop-up that helps three East Bay bars stay open for outdoor seating. Photo: Blake’s Grillery

Chris Parks tells Nosh that Blake’s Grillery is a “COVID-19 success story.” Had it not been for the pandemic, Parks and his business partner Mario Camargo might not have joined forces again to start the taco pop-up. As reported by SFGate, Parks left Oakland in 2019, after his marriage ended and his North Oakland neighborhood wine bar, Bar 41, closed. He was hunkering down in Southern California when Camargo, the former head chef at Bar 41, convinced him to come back to the Bay Area. But when the pandemic started and Camargo lost his restaurant gig, it was Parks who came up with a plan for the two friends to thrive.

In June, outdoor dining was greenlit for businesses that served meals, which put bars without kitchens in a bind. Parks realized he and Camargo could help those bars reopen by providing the bonafide meals required by the guidelines. Resurrecting Blake’s Grillery, Camargo’s Southern-style taco concept that had been on the back burner for several years, the friends approached East Bay bars about teaming up so they could be COVID-compliant. Now, Blake’s Grillery splits its time at The Avenue in Temescal (on Wednesday and Saturday), Heart and Dagger Saloon in Lakeshore (Monday and Thursday) and Runway Spirits in Alameda (Friday), where it serves up street tacos with chicken tinga, BBQ carnitas and vegan spicy potatoes, along with specialty tacos, like beef cheeks quesabirria and cheese fried tacos.

The unhealthy air quality from lingering wildfire smoke did put a brief pause on Blake’s Grillery. “We have been operating during this fire season except for the last couple days,” Parks told Nosh in an email on Tuesday, “We finally needed to give our lungs a break.” But now that the air seems to be improving, Parks expects to be back at The Avenue tonight. “We fully plan to operate as normal, smoke be damned!” Follow Blake’s Grillery on Instagram for latest updates on their appearances at The Avenue, 4822 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; Heart and Dagger Saloon, 504 Lake Park Ave., Oakland; Runway Spirits, 2505 Monarch St., Alameda

Sobre Mesa reopens for takeout and delivery

Chef Nelson German’s Afro-Latino cocktail lounge announced it will reopen today for takeout and delivery. You may recall that Sobre Mesa celebrated its grand opening in early March, about two weeks before COVID-19 shut it down. Up until now, Sobre Mesa was offering some of its menu items, including cocktails and small bites, at Nelson’s Uptown restaurant, alaMar Kitchen and Bar. Something worth noting about Sobre Mesa’s return — it’s open for breakfast (starting at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m., Saturday and Sunday), serving coffee, brunch cocktails and pastries like the Sobre Doissant with coconut lime cream ($5) and a croissant stuffed with Jamon serrano, Oaxaca cheese and basil ($4.50). Sobre Mesa, 1618 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland

Chef Joseph Paire is now at Limewood

The Claremont Hotel’s Limewood Bar and Restaurant reopened in August with a new executive chef at the helm. Chef Joseph Paire had joined the kitchen just as the coronavirus crisis hit, but with Limewood closed since March, local diners haven’t had a chance to try his food until last month.

Paire’s name may sound familiar if you’ve spent time in the South or back East. He has more than 20 years of fine-dining experience, most recently as the executive chef at The Southern Gentlemen in Atlanta, but also at Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant and Mulebone in D.C. In 2016, Paire appeared on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Food Network cooking competition show, “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and that same year, Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema credited Paire with “cooking notches better than his resume suggests.”

At Limewood, Paire has reset and refreshed the menu with a California-D.C.-southern spin, sending out dishes like a bay scallop succotash and avocado toast with Dungeness crab and fermented chili. Diners can give Paire’s brunch and dinner menus a try on Limewood’s outdoor deck (that view!) or under a canopy in the “Limewood Bungalow.” Note that reservations are required. Limewood Bar and Restaurant, Claremont Club and Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley

Rebecca R. Ammons

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