Location: 401 2nd Street, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
Report by Jonny O
I have a special fondness for Merchants because its dive bar charm isn’t of the manufactured variety.
The go-go '90s and the housing boom brought a wave of die-stamped, mass-produced nostalgia, faux-vintage t-shirts and “dive-looking” bars, where self-obsessed Emo trust fund kids are served $11 pomegranate-infused ginger Appletinis from bartenders with fancy accents and eating disorders.
But Merchants could care less about its Yelp reviews or Zagat rating, or whether it meets the latest definition of cool. It was a dive when I first went there fifteen years ago and it hasn’t changed much since.
In the backroom are a couple of pool tables, a piano, plenty of atmosphere and some games, including this Addams Family.
Just like the bar, it’s a bit rough, but delivers where it counts. The thing flip might be out, and maybe the magnets too, but the flippers are good and strong. Everything you need for a good game works and it’s only three for a buck.
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