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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

If you’re preparing to turn 21 or haven’t spent a night out in Oakland yet, you might be unsure of which bars in Oakland are worth your time and money. Here’s a ranking that is both subjective and yet, factual, that will help you plan your next weekend in Oakland!

Hemingway’s cafe

Affectionately known as Hem’s, this bar is top notch. It has the trifecta: shot pitchers, trivia and buffalo chicken dip. The free photo booth machine coupled with the thick smog that fills the air as the bar reaches capacity just cannot be beat.

Mario’s oakland saloon

While this might not be the place to sit down and have a heart to heart, it is exactly the right setting to dance your heart out. Spin the shot wheel and head up to the second floor to break out your best dance moves.


Is it half empty or half full? This place will either be packed tight or have literally zero people inside. If it looks deserted, it’s still pretty fun to bring your group in and start the party! The neon signs make for a great photo opportunity, too!


This bar is super small and the trivia categories are about as niche as they could possible be. That being said, their drink prices can’t be beat and it’s definitely worth adding to your bar crawl itinerary!

Thirsty scholar

It’s so close and yet, so far away. Its weird location and sometimes adult crowd make it a bit more difficult to choose over Hem’s or Mario’s. Juju has been spotted there before though, so if you’re feeling lucky head to Thirsty Scholar for a possible sighting!


This bar definitely draws an older crowd and is not the place to be if you’re in the mood to turn up. If you love playing pool, it’s worth a visit for the tables they have in the back! No one would blame you though for walking right past it and heading across the street to Phat’s!

Hi, I'm Olivia! I'm a senior at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a major in Neuroscience, minors in Spanish, Africana Studies, and Chemistry, and a certificate in Global Health! In my free time you can find me at the gym, listening to a podcast, or hanging out with my friends!