Bakeries are, as a general rule, happy places, and this Uptown Oakland spot has been one of the happiest in the East Bay since it opened this winter. Sweet Bar’s charms are many: a bright, expansive space that’s shaped, coincidentally, like a giant slice of pie; songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Thriller” (a nod to owner Mani Niall’s claim to fame as Michael Jackson’s former personal chef) blasting from the speakers; and a diverse crowd (no more than 10-percent hipster). The assorted cakes and pastries are predictably great — especially the polenta upside-down cakes (topped with seasonal fruit) and the vegan-friendly “fauxnuts.” Meanwhile, diners looking for a more substantive meal will appreciation the selection of killer soups and sandwiches (the porchetta-like slow-roasted pork is especially satisfying). And, while bakeries tend to be a danger zone for diabetics and the gluten-intolerant, Sweet Bar has a number of treats in its regular rotation that are gluten-free or made with sugar alternatives.
.Best New Bakery