Five Things to Do in Alameda By Yourself

21Feb12

Often, part of the charm and part of the necessity of having one night to yourself is that you are, indeed by yourself. Doing fun things solo can be daunting even to the most outgoing person. Since moving to Alameda, I’ve found a few favorites where I can have fun or a nice meal without feeling self conscious. It’s made my one night out all the more alluring.

1. The Pacific Pinball Museum

I admit that I loved pinball when pinball wasn’t cool (well, was pinball ever not cool?). When Lucky JuJu opened years ago and expanded to the Pacific Pinball Museum, I felt like a heaven on earth was created for me and only me! Tuesday is a great night to play at the PPM. It’s definitely not crowded. Of course, now that I’m switching to Thursdays, that may change. Even so, it’s such a great place to be solo. I love being able to try just about everything they have to offer. For one cover of $15, you can get into the zone and forget all your troubles. With the decade appropriate music, I might add.

The curators of the PPM are down-to-earth and friendly, without nary a second glance at a middle-aged mom out to play pinball by herself. I keep bugging them about an annual membership program. I’d probably go more than I do now. Let’s hope the rumor of them moving to San Francisco is NOT TRUE!

              Faith from Kamakura always treats me like royalty!

2. Kamakura

Overall, sushi is one of the most solo-friendly dining experiences no matter where you are. Mainly, because of the bar and the way sushi chefs will interact with those at the bar. I particularly love Kamakura for its amazing sushi selection, friendly chefs, a great bar with an excellent premium sake selection–including a three-flight option, and a flat screen for those nights when sushi, sake, and sports are the perfect combo. I was told that you should share a hit of sake with the chefs, but I must say, I’ve been a little shy about doing that. No worries though. I’ve been there enough by myself, not only do I get special treatment from the chefs, but Miz Faith herself will come and say hello, offer me extras, and always make me feel special. At the end, everyone gets a sweet orange dessert and plum wine as well as a fancy goodbye send off from the staff.

3. American Oak/formerly Barceluna

Barceluna on a Tuesday night was the best. Now, with my schedule changing and the restaurant becoming American Oak, I’m sort of at a loss. Still, love the location and the layout of the place. I’m sure the bar will still be as friendly as ever, and as a bourbon lover, I am feeling pretty good about this. My full review to come. I’m hoping the same friendly bartenders are there. Before the official name change, the bourbon samplings were excellent, so I can’t wait to go back.

4. Burger Meister

Okay, I know this is a chain and not the top option for a lot of people, but sometimes I don’t have the budget for anything else or there will be something going on at the other joints completely ousting me from my solo dining comfort zone known as the bar. The Burger Meister is a great place to be alone. A nice bar area with tvs, decent food, and in spite of this place being a chain, I always get friendly non-pushy service. Love the food and the decent wine by the glass. And, it’s next to the movie theater, so that’s a big plus.

5. Alameda Wine Co.

I have never felt so welcomed in a bar ever. The people on staff don’t know me from Adam, but you’d never know it. They are welcoming and friendly. The space is nice and comfy with decent munchies and GREAT wine. Because they have a good selection of wines by the glass, I can try out a couple without getting into too much trouble. Proximity to the theater is a plus.

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