Chris Pastena opened Chop Bar four years ago in the now densely residential loft district next door to Jack London Square. More recently he's become a bit of an empire builder in Oakland, partnering with local businessman Tom Henderson to open Lungomare in February, and now Tribune Tavern, in the base of the historic Tribune Tower building with two more projects possibly in the works as well. Tribune Tavern has its grand opening tonight, with a meat-centric gastropub menu by chef Huw Thornton, who most recently worked at the short-lived Locanda da Eva in Berkeley, and also has some Italian cred from A16 and SPQR.
There are potted meats, dry-aged steaks, a shepherd's pie, a pork trotter and cheek fritter, buttermilk fried chicken, and, if you're dining with a hungry group of carnivores, a $75 sausage platter for four featuring a half dozen spicy pork sausages, trotter gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, and a pitcher of beer.
On the lighter end of things, there's grilled asparagus with Green Goddess dressing; beer steamed mussels; and a salad of fried sunchokes and chicories with almonds and parsley.
The drink menu (see below) features some intriguing concoctions like the Old Etonian (Gates of London gin, Kina Liavion Dior, Creme de Noyaux and kumquat bitters) and the wackier Opposable Thumb (Zaya 12-year rum, Fernet Jelinek, Creme de Banane, Saline, and a farm egg). There are also margaritas and sangria available by the pitcher, as well as a clarified milk rum punch oolong tea, apple, and lemon.
Pastena tells Diablo this week, "I wanted to create a place that has a casual elegance: somewhere you can come and get lunch a few times a week or get a cocktail or beer for happy hour, but you can also get a $150 bottle of cabernet and a nice dry-aged steak."
The design of the space is filled with custom fixtures by Oakland's Jon Sarriugarte and San Francisco-based Jim Misner, and stained glass by Armelle LeRoux, as well as nods in the decor to the building's newspaper history.
See some photos of the interior via our slideshow. The grand opening party kicks off at 5 p.m.
Click to enlarge.
Tribune Tavern - 401 13th Street - 510-452-TRIB (8742) - Hours TBA