Aisle 5 Oakland, a welcome spot for the neighborhood on Grand Avenue, right next to Walden Pond Books, is now open for business. A visit Saturday afternoon showed the potential for the space to be a popular community spot, with over half of the tables filled with young families. The bar and high top tables were also populated by friends and couples relaxing and enjoying the live music. A talented duo played folk rock favorites, with harmonica, guitar and a hand drum, that patrons young and old enjoyed.
The space is not overly noisy, despite the high ceilings and metal materials making up much of the bar and furnishings. The name “Aisle 5” comes from the historical background of the building, which was a Jenny Wren grocery store back in the 1920’s. White subway tiles on the walls echo that history. The concrete floors are original and the wooden flooring, that was pulled up in the remodel, was repurposed as wainscoting for one wall, a skirt for the bar – as well as exterior trim below the front windows.
The space has several large flat screen TVs along both lengths of the restaurant. On Saturday, they were running a college basketball game and two screens over the bar displayed the lengthy beer list. The beer selection is quite nice and mostly local brews. While we have several bars in the area, we don’t have a pub like this one, so it is a nice, compatible addition to the neighborhood. Given the TVs, it also has the potential for being a great place to catch a game. Let’s hope the A’s and the Warriors have great seasons!
The kids and I enjoyed a wood-fired mac and cheese, a delicious salmon sandwich, and a basket of chicken fingers and fries. The chicken was very juicy–an improvement over most establishments’ version. I didn’t try the wood fired pizzas yet, though they looked delicious. I will look forward to coming back and trying the ribs also. I envision a lovely warm Saturday in Spring, sitting by the open window at Aisle 5, enjoying a local beer, listening to a local jazz trio, and perhaps dipping into a new find from neighbor Walden Pond Books. We can’t ask for more than that for our neighborhood.
Mon-Fri: 4pm – 10pm
Sat and Sun: 11am – 12am