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Were Walnut Creek Bars Dissed — Or Not?

The San Francisco Chronicle taps four Walnut Creek joints in the Chron's top 100 bars of the Bay Area. Grub Street San Francisco blog chides the Chron for ignoring SF bars and caving in to Walnut Creek 'whiners.' Cheers.

Four Walnut Creek bars have made a prestigious list from the San Francisco Chronicle, while a San Francisco blog suggests it's more about whining than prestige.

The Grub Street San Francisco blog makes fun of the media behemoth in the area for bending over backwards for Walnut Creek "whiners" in filling out its list of the top 100 bars in the Bay Area.

In critiquing the Chronicle's list, Grub Street said there were some obvious omissions due to the subjectivity of Chronicle staff "or in order to make room for some outer-Bay Area picks, so as to keep Walnut Creek readers from whining too much." Apparently, Walnut Creek readers hold great sway over the mighty Chronicle.

In any case, here are some quotes from the Chronicle's feature list about four great bars in Walnut Creek:

  • on Giammona Drive in the "Beer Specialist" category: "Oakland Trappist owner Aaron Porter opened this mecca for beer lovers late last year. It's difficult to choose from the nearly 20 draft beers and 300-plus bottles, which are also available for retail sale (the lower price on the bottle is the take-home price). Snacks such as cheese, charcuterie (including two big hunks of Fra'mani salametto picante) and Skipolini's pizza from next door are also available, as are a few wines and nonalcoholic options."
  • the (new) Corners Tavern on Broadway Plaza in the "Food-centric" category: "You could sit four hours and just look at the 40 Dioramas inside the bookshelves that separate the comfortable seating area in the lounge. Or you can sit at the three-sided bar and look at the dining room action. There's lots of action in this newly opened Walnut Creek hotspot owned by the trio from San Francisco's Town Hall. It has an excellent wine list, 15 beers on tap (Drakes IPA; Weihenstephaner Hefeweisen; Young and Wells double chocolate stout) and exceptional cocktails."
  • in the "Spirits Curators" category: "You may want to 'Ahoy' your matey as you enter the nautically-themed bar, which features more than 75 rums from 20 countries and three barrel-aged cocktails. Lead bartender Jay Crabb - who works from a collection of more than 20 bitters - regularly changes more than half the cocktail menu. And while sipping, if you find that ballast is needed, the full menu is available in the bar."
  • in the "Wine Bar" category: "For eight years this has been the place to go in Walnut Creek for great international small plates backed by serious wines. The restaurant features 16 flights, from Pinot Envy ($24.50) to Bailout ($9.99) for those caught in a credit crunch. There's also a full bar. The interior has the feel of a cellar, with a ceiling that looks like a wine barrel. There's also prime seating outdoors."
Martha Ross July 09, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I'm not sure that the Chronicle cares too much about snubbing Walnut Creek readers on nightlife matters, considering it pretty much ignores any restaurants east of the Caldecott when it publishes its annual best restaurants list.
East Bay Burbs July 10, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I agree with Martha. I think it's great that the Chronicle is finally recognizing some of the quality nightlife we have out here, especially with recent additions like OL and Corners. I don't see any reason why the Trappist should be included but OL omitted, especially with its extensive bottle shop, just because it's in Walnut Creek. I get tired of Grubstreet whining about Walnut Creek and painting its citizens as a complaining, over-entitled bunch. I've lived in both SF and Walnut Creek, and not much has changed except my rent. And let's get real: the Chronicle wasn't bending over backwards for Ricky's in San Leandro. That place is an absolute Black Hole HAVEN.
Jay Crabb July 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM
A July 2nd post over on Grub Street says that "the picks in San Anselmo, Palo Alto, and Walnut Creek are beyond our typical scope, and we would tend to be biased toward including the better bars of the inner Bay Area first." The better bars? There are some truly great bars and restaurants on both sides of the bay, and it was nice to see some East Bay love. Of course there were some amazing spots that didn't make it on to their list, but at the end of the day, it's just a list. Congrats to everyone. Let's all have a drink. Cheers!

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