Review: Woods Bar and Brewery

Hi again. Two posts in one day? Woah. Who even am I?

I just wanted to pop in and do a quick review of the bar I stopped at prior to the concert on Friday.

The Place: Woods Bar and Brewery in Oakland. One of three Bay Area locations serving Woods Beer Co. Beers. The place was somewhat cozy (it had a cute little outdoor fire place) but that coziness felt a little forced. It kind of had that fake, hipster-ish vibe to it that comes with many of the Bay Area bars.

The Drinks: Okay so this is how they describe themselves- “We brew small batches of fresh, exciting, and experimental beers, often in collaboration with our friends in the Bay Area’s vibrant food and drink world. Our inspiration comes from far and wide, but our beers are deeply rooted here. Our approach is unconventional but our work is accessible and friendly: Adventurous brews for curious drinkers” And they are NOT lying about that. I am a huge beer lover, IPAs especially, the hoppier the better for me. These beers were not like any beers I have ever had before. Very unique ingredients (think Yerba Mate, lavender, and eucalyptus) and very interesting flavors. Not bad, but not what I typically go for. They also have wines available for you juice drinkers out there.

The Food: The only thing they serve are empanadas. SO GOOD.  I had a chicken one and one with Swiss chard and feta. YUM. Do yourself a favor and get one, or two, or ten.

Solo Rating: Not a bad place to go alone. The empanadas come out very quickly, so if you’re nervous/feeling weird about eating out alone (which you shouldn’t!), you won’t have to be there for long. There were a good number of people, but I had no trouble finding a seat at the bar. Guests and bartenders were very friendly and I ended up making plans to meet up again with some people I met there.

Overall Rating: 3/5. I’m happy I tried it, but I can’t see myself ever going back. I would recommend Woods Bar and Brewery if you’re looking to break up your usual beer routine. Or if you’re someone who doesn’t like most beers, you might just find a new, unique favorite!


Going to a Concert Alone

Hiiiii. Happy Tuesday! So I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post that I went to a concert last Friday. So, well, here is the story about said concert.

Okay let me start at the beginning.

Last Wednesday I was driving to work, listening to KFOG, per usual, and they played a live version of some random song by an artist I had never heard of before. I loved the sound of the song and they said it was by Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, who were playing at the Fox Theater in Oakland that weekend with Jackie Greene. I knew I didn’t have anything going on that night, so I seriously considered buying tickets. Then they announced that they were going to give away tickets to the first five callers. So I called, and the phone rang and rang and rang.. and then I won!

Welp, I was one of those 5 callers! And I won two tickets to Nicki Bluhm and Jackie Greene!

I had never heard of either artist, but was still super excited to go. (I have never won a radio contest before, so I was feeling pretty cool).

I then realized that I don’t have a ton of friends yet. And the ones I do have, I knew already had previous family commitments or were out of town for Thanksgiving. But was actually thrilled. I have always secretly wanted to go to a concert alone, and this was the perfect opportunity, and I’m so happy I did.

If you have never been to the Fox Theater in Oakland, you need to go there. Like yesterday. What an incredible place to see a show. The theater itself is insanely beautiful, and it’s a relatively small and intimate setting. The whole front part of the floor is standing room only, so you can get right up next to the stage. (Van Morrison is playing there in January, and Vance Joy/Elle King in February, if you need excuses to make the BART ride over).

Jackie Greene was so so good, but Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers were absolutely incredible. I had listened to some of their music before the show, but nothing compares to Nicki singing live. Do yourself a favor and watch some videos of their live performances (here or here, or if you’re really bored, here’s a video of a full concert).

And yes, I survived my first solo concert experience, and it was actually pretty amazing. I arrived when I wanted and left when I wanted. It’s significantly easier to fight crowds and to meander your way up to the stage when it’s just one person. And I found myself having a really easy time connecting to the music. Being a chronic people-pleaser, I’m often worried about the person I’m with (are they having a good time? Do they need another drink? Should we move closer? Blah blah blah) and this obsession with making sure everyone else is having a good time, definitely limits my ability to just enjoy the moment.

So that’s what I did. I just enjoyed the moment and the music and I will definitely be doing it again.