Khaki Pants, Hipster Cool

Emeryville isn't just chain stores.

If you’re spending all of your time following an endless maze of
Swedish jigsaw furniture, you need to step out of IKEA and experience
everything else Emeryville has to offer. What was once a mass of
factories, bordellos, and gambling houses has become a commuter town
full of hidden culinary gems and sweeping vistas.

An odd mashup of Pixar employees, tattooed punk twentysomethings
(it’s co-owned by Green Day’s Mike Dirnt), and hipsters who drink up
the $1 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon like irony is going out of style,
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (4801 Hollis St., Emeryville,
510-594-1221, RudysCantFailCafe.com) is the
late-night hotspot for home cooking. Open until 1 a.m., Rudy’s features
the usual diner fare — pancakes, burgers, and heaping piles of
fries — but the real treats are the rotating specials. These
comfort-food favorites such as chicken-fried steak, mac and cheese, and
meat loaf lend credibility to the diner’s name.

Jutting out into the bay, Marina Park (3300 Powell St.,
Emeryville, 510-596-4300, Ci.emeryville.ca.us) provides
panoramic views of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate
Bridge, and the surrounding hills and beaches. A great spot for
picnics, it also offers a few tucked-away barbecue pits on the beach
— just in case you land the big one while fishing off the
piers.

Most people refer to the city across the bay as San Francisco, but
not Brendan Eliason, winemaker for Periscope Cellars (1410 62nd
St., Emeryville, 510-655-7827, PeriscopeCellars.com). When visiting
his tasting room/winery/art gallery, housed in an old WWII submarine
factory, you’ll hear Eliason refer to the City as “the West Bay” while
he pours generous tastings of his boutique red wines. Eliason’s heart,
and his wine, is deeply rooted in Emeryville. Both have received a
professional makeover in an attempt to cover a sordid past that,
thankfully, keeps poking through.

With its rare mix of affordable drinks, an expanse of pool tables,
and a discerning lack of sleazy clientele, the Broken Rack (6005
Shellmound St., #160, Emeryville, 510-652-9808, TheBrokenRack.com) is located in the
last place you’d expect to find a billiard hall — tacked on to
the Emerybay Public Market. There’s nothing fancy here, and that’s the
appeal.

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