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Low Bar readies for grand opening in former Hawker Fare space near downtown Oakland

Photo: Albertino M./Hoodline
By Jay Barmann - Published on February 02, 2021.

Low Bar (2300 Webster Street, Oakland), a new bar and restaurant from a pair of industry vets that was announced early last year and subsequently delayed by the pandemic, is getting ready for an imminent grand opening.

The plywood has come down from the windows at the corner location at 23rd and Webster, smack between Lake Merritt and the Uptown district, and co-owners Matt Meyer and Daniel Paez have already hinted on Instagram that the opening is coming "sooon." And while no definite date has been announced, the website has a menu posted and it appears menu testing has already begun — with the ever-trending quesabirria tacos being one of the first dishes to be tested.

Meyer and Paez described the project to Eater last June as an "assuming," Chicano-owned bar with food, and as "a dive bar that grew up a little bit. Just a little bit, though." And the business' webpage continues on the "low bar" theme, saying, "Whether it be a night out with friends, an alcohol-fueled happy hour with coworkers, dinner alone on your birthday, or just a nightcap, Low Bar is there to make sure you leave happier (or less sober and hungry) than when you arrived."

Apart from the aforementioned quesabirria tacos, the sample menu includes some intriguing items like chicken liver taquitos, lamb chicharrones, and house made corn nuts. Meyer, whose parents are from Tijuana and who grew up in San Diego, told Eater earlier that some inspiration came from the taquerias of his youth. "It’s not uncommon to find a cheeseburger and a hot dog at a taqueria," he said. "And sometimes, when you’re a young, scrappy kid skateboarding all day, you get both."

With that in mind, there's a burger on Low Bar's menu topped with American cheese, salsa verde, fried onions, and pickles.

On the drinks side, there's a menu divided between house signatures and classics — as is the current custom — and in the former category are some interesting sounding concoctions like the Chamomile High Club (roasted strawberry chamomile tequila, montenegro, lemon, bitters), and the Wild Muir (St. George Terroir gin, green chartreuse, basil, lime, and "trail scents").

Meyer, a longtime sous chef at Hopscotch in Oakland's Uptown, said that he and Paez (a bartender) had been plotting a partnership for a while. They had secured the Hawker Fare space — empty since chef James Syhabout relocated his operation across the Bay to the Mission District several years ago — and were planning to open by summer, until COVID messed everything up. They did a burrito and tamal pop-up called Chancho's (which was selling burritos and tamales during limited hours at the Heart & Dagger Saloon and the Cat House Bar last year) in the meantime, but now it looks to be full steam ahead on Low Bar, at last.

Stay tuned as we learn more opening details. 

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