WHY YOU SHOULD BE IN OAKLAND THIS WEEKEND

It might be snowing and chilly but there is no reason to stay holed up this weekend.  Our suggestion, head to Oakland. And before you click away [Penn State alums], hear us out.  It might not be your typical weekend haunt but Oakland has been quietly stepping it up and we think it deserves a fair shake.

Icy Lights: Rather than fighting the cold Oakland is embracing it with a winter block party.  Look for curling courts (?!), DJs, ice carvings, cold (that goes without saying) beers and more set up underneath a new ceiling of string lights that blanket Oakland Ave. The event is free and open to the public.  Find full details here.

The Oaklander Hotel and Spirits & Tales: Oakland’s first boutique-style hotel has opened and she’s a babe. And unlike its market peers, the Oaklander is bringing us NC-beach house vibes with the lobby & restaurant on the top floor.  Head up to the 10th floor for some beautiful views of Oakland and an equally as delightful small plates from chef Jessica Lewis (formerly of The Commoner/Smallman Galley/Merchant Oyster) at their lobby restaurant & lounge Spirits & Tales.  We got a sneak peek earlier this week and think their draft Japanese whiskey cocktail and roasted beet dish are close to perfect.  The property is a much-needed addition to the neighborhood and we foresee a lot of excuses for afternoon meetings that turn into cocktails here.

CHiKN: If you are looking for something to really warm you up then here you have it.  Yes, hot chicken certainly is played out a bit but few in town nail true hot chicken like Bolton’s or Price’s level of Nashville hot.  But here, that is not a problem.  The fast casual spot with a punchy interior serves up blazingly hot chicken served as either as a sammie, tenders, on a salad or with waffles.  As fans of hot chicken we picked the ‘hot’ (second from the top) and damn, it was really f*cking hot.  We are already planning our return trip to torture ourselves with the ‘damn hot.’  We will just make sure the Miller Lites and crinkle fries are close by and ample.

Pie for Breakfast & The Carnegie International

Both are built for Sundays and one is leaving soon (hint: it’s not Pie for Breakfast) so jump on it. Plus who doesn’t love an Aperol spritz or two before a day at the museum? They make the line for a print from ‘Fruit and Other Things’ all the more enjoyable.