Soak up savories and savory sounds with today’s jazz-drenched Groupon. For $15, you’ll get $30 worth of audible and epicurean delights at Coda, a recently opened multisensory Mission Street supper club. The feared animal uprising never happened and Americans embraced jazz and jazz musicians, often giving them colorful nicknames, such as "Fancy Fingers" and "'Ol Skin Bag." Jazz faced its toughest challenge in 1936, when it was stolen by the French, who attempted to use the improvisational music to power a series of submarines. France and the United States sent their five best warriors into an ancient temple to battle for the future of jazz, but all 10 fighters became friends and moved in together. Thereafter, jazz returned to the United States on its own, where it remains popular today.
The Vibe: The dividing wall inside Sheba Lounge looks like it came from a church, and for good reason—it’s a replica of the one in the Church of St. George, an Ethiopian Orthodox church carved out of rock in Lalibela. The rest of the space surrounds diners in warm, tropical tones.
Who’s Cooking: Owner and chef Netsanet Alemayehu started cooking in her native Harar, Ethiopia when she was just nine years old. Today, Ms. Alemayehu still relies on Ethiopian recipes and techniques. In fact, she has fresh spices, sauces, and other ingredients shipped in from relatives who still live in Harar.
When to Go: When the restaurant hosts live music, which begins at 8 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The setlists range from Afro-Cuban jazz to classical violin.
Press and Praise
Injera: a flatbread made with fermented batter that's central to many Ethiopian dishes. Traditionally, diners break off small pieces and use it to scoop up mouthfuls of food.
Berbere: the signature spice mixture in Ethiopian food; it combines about a dozen spices including clove, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and red chilies.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Browse imported Japanese incenses and essential oils at Kohshi (1737 Post St).
After: Order a hard-to-find beer at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers (1195 Evans Ave)
If You Can’t Make It, Try This The Ethiopian cuisine at Assab Eritrean Restaurant (2845 Geary Blvd)
By the Numbers
A Bar Reborn: In 2013, new owners took over Dogpatch Saloon, and they remodeled from floor to ceiling. They also added decor elements that echo the city’s industrial roots, namely an old Muni track—made by Bethlehem Steel—that now serves as the bar’s rail. They left a couple of the old bar’s elements, including the brass bell used for last call and the familiar stained-glass window that welcomes patrons inside.
While You’re Waiting: Listen to owner and bartender Marc Goldfine. He’s a trained voice actor, and his resonate tones carry throughout the bar and directly into his patrons’ hearts.
While You’re in the Neighborhood: Try the fried chicken at Hard Knox Cafe (2526 3rd Street).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: 83 Proof (83 1st Street), the owners’ other bar.
In 1997, legendary blues musician John Lee Hooker opened the Boom Boom Room—a Fillmore Street blues bar named for one of his hits. From then until his death in 2001, Hooker not only populated the stage with the masters of his art, but regularly played his own shows in the sultry, scarlet colored lounge. Nowadays the music is more varied—the walls reverberate with soul, funk, drum 'n bass, new wave, and electronica—but it remains what Frommer's calls "a fun, dark, small, cramped, and steamy joint where you can hear good live tunes." The travel guide recommends stopping by after seeing a show at the Fillmore, as the club stays open until 2 am.
In 1941, Wilma and Henry Dorsey opened a modest family eatery on the corner of 18th and Market in West Oakland. Over the next four decades, devoted family members transformed the place with a relocation, the addition of a cocktail lounge, and the construction of a beautiful wooden bar. Today, Dorsey family members remain the sole shareholders of a bustling restaurant that celebrates their Texas roots with country-style meals of fried chicken, catfish, gumbo, barbecue ribs, and sweet peach cobbler. A rotating weekly menu makes fresh additions to the slate of hearty, homecooked food with such dishes as chitterlings and smothered steak, while sides of collard greens, yams, and black-eyed peas garnish every dish with Southern panache.
Far more than a mere restaurant, Dorsey's Locker also treats guests to a full bar and lineup of live entertainment. On Sunday nights from 6 p.m until 10 p.m., the restaurant waives a cover charge for live R&B and jazz music. Open mic events each Tuesday show off the hidden talents of friends and neighbors, while Monday, Thursday, and Saturday-night karaoke provides a socially acceptable outlet for singing a love song to a plate of breaded pork chops.
Musically Minded Academy is a non-profit music school and community arts center located in Rockridge, CA.
Our core mission is to provide high quality music education, to host concerts and other arts-related education programs, and to act as a haven for musicians and music lovers in the greater East Bay Area.