Living local, urban design, sustainability, landscape architecture, and places in the East Bay. Design that works where it is.


150103 JLS-Plank Sign-web
150103 JLS-Plank Arcade-webJack London Square once had a Barnes & Noble bookstore for an anchor. As of October, the new tenant is Plank. Plank features fun. A cacophony of noisy, frolicking, frivolous fun.

150103 JLS-Plank Fire Pit-webJan and I were walking along the Bay Trail* at Jack London Square when we saw the new venue and decided to have a look and a beer, perhaps even a snack. We were excited when we first heard about Plank: a bar and restaurant with bowling, bocce, billiards, and an arcade.

On the inside, pins were crashing and lights were flashing. It was roaring; it was raucous; it was 3 in the afternoon. Plank is the place to go if you want your kids to have a good time while you have a cocktail…at 3 in the afternoon.

We decided to go outdoors to the beer garden. It really is a great place for bocce: it’s well designed and the menu has a bunch of local beers on tap. We sat down at the bar. The outdoor heaters were keeping the place cozy and we were pretty excited about our beer selections.

That’s when we noticed we were having some trouble getting the bartenders to make eye contact with us. We sat and waited, and watched a group of twenty-somethings saunter up next to us and immediately receive one of the bartenders’ attention. They asked for shots of rye and there was rye. Another bartender became involved in a very friendly, lengthy, conversation. Not with us, but still. Eventually, we gave up and left.

150103-Beer Garden SignPlank will probably be an outstanding anchor for Jack London Square. It’s lively and attractive. It’s a place to enjoy with your kids or your friends. It’s not competing with Amazon. Maybe the staff was changing shifts or many had called in sick on Sunday and the service will be better at a different time or on a different day. We’ve heard the food is excellent for a bowling alley. We’ll give it another chance. Maybe we’ll  bring the kids along and their twenty-something good looks might earn us a beer.

On Sunday, we were glad we still had the Bay Trail to look forward to. It was lovely.

Have you tried Plank? Do you think women of a certain age are invisible? What about that Bay Trail?

* The Bay Trail is a path conceived to eventually circle San Francisco Bay. It is also one of my favorite ideas (it wasn’t MY idea – the idea is just a favorite of mine).

2 comments on “Plank

  1. parklygirl
    February 11, 2015

    It’s not just you. Davy and I have been there twice and the service is terrible. Wonderful idea though. I hope they read the Yelp reviews that say the same thing and learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • taglinedesign
      February 11, 2015

      My sentiments exactly: Great idea – now get your sh*t together.


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This entry was posted on January 6, 2015 by in Local Travel, Oakland and tagged , , , , , , , .
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