I celebrated the beginning of the holiday season with a trip to downtown Oakland for a drink with a very good friend. We were heading to the bar Make Westing, but it was closed for a private party. The bouncer there was very friendly and apologetic, and he recommended that we try a different bar just one block away. Cafe Van Kleef has lots of character. Decorated with quirky antique and collectibles attached to just about every inch of wall space, it’s quite an interesting place to visit. But with smoking permitted in the alcove right outside the open front door, it was not exactly what I’m looking for in a quiet spot for early evening drinks. Still, make no mistake; Cafe Van Kleef is one of the most popular spots in downtown Oakland and, according to my friend, their greyhound, made with fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice, is indeed the best in the city. If you don’t mind a little second hand smoke and you love vodka and grapefruit juice (which they squeeze at the bar), then check it out!
Today’s drawing is a composite of the people of African descent I encountered in my way from Make Westing to Cafe Van Kleef. Since Van Kleef has an antique kind of vibe, I made a frame for this picture that recalls the Belle Époque aesthetic.