Downtown Oakland’s influx of shiny new watering holes continues apace with the arrival of Old Major’s (135 12th St.), a massive, 6,000-square-foot bar that’s coming to the old Oasis Restaurant and Bar space. Co-owners (and brothers) Daniel and Benjamin Cukierman have gutted the building and have ambitious construction plans, which include the installation of thirty feet of nine-foot-high sliding glass doors and a rooftop deck.
The bar is tentatively slated to open in late November.
We last heard from Daniel Cukierman two years ago when his Berkeley dance club, the Shattuck Down Low, was unceremoniously booted from its downtown Berkeley digs. Fans of the Down Low have long waited for news of where the venue might pop up next, but Cukierman stressed that this will be a completely separate business. There might be an occasional DJ on hand to spin some tunes, but Old Major’s won’t be a club — there won’t be any dance floor. Instead, this will be your standard beer-and-cocktail bar, with about forty brews on tap and a full selection of cocktails. There will be food, too, though Cukierman said he hasn’t yet decided exactly what form that will take.
None of which is to say that the scope of the project isn’t impressive in its own right. Most ambitiously, the brothers plan to erect a new single-story building (in the part of the Oasis space formerly occupied by a stage and dance floor) to house the main bar. The structure will be surrounded by sliding-glass doors and topped with the aforementioned rooftop deck — a 2,000-square-foot area for bar patrons to mingle under the stars.
The name, Old Major’s, is an allusion to the revolution-minded pig from Animal Farm. Cukierman, also a co-owner of the Grand Avenue spot Room 389, said he wanted a name that would go with the rustic farm theme that will inspire the bar’s decor (e.g., lots of reclaimed barn wood). But he also liked that the name was “a little heavy.”
“I want [the bar] to be a place where people can come together, have a few beers, philosophize, and talk about stuff,” Cukierman explained.
As for the much-mourned over Down Low, Cukierman said a rebirth for the dance club is unlikely at this point. As much as he loved running the place, he just turned 40 and has a couple of young kids. “Nightclub life is tough,” he said.