BAR HOP: The Oakland

By Postie Editors

Hidden within a non descriptive blue building on 9 Mile Rd. near Woodward, a small sign displays the name “The Oakland Art Novelty Company.”

Taking inspiration from the alcohol bootlegging group, “The Purple Gang,” owner Sandy Levine has created a living tribute to the 1920s Prohibition era speakeasies through authentic cocktails and decor right in the heart of downtown Ferndale.

Upon entering The Oakland, customers are seated until the chairs are full. From there, a list is kept so that when seats become available, patrons will receive a phone call.

“At most bars, you stand behind people and have to fight for the bartender’s attention,” Levine said. “We want you to be totally comfortable, so we take numbers and call you when a seat opens.”

Cell phone usage in the bar, however, is looked down upon, as Levine wants to create a quiet atmosphere to promote conversation.

“It’s different to come in here and just enjoy people’s company rather than watch TV or listen to a loud band,” said Jackie Foucha, a server at the bar.

The drink menu offers a variety of selections from gin and rum concoctions, to several top-notch beers. A majority of the cocktails come from a collection of old cocktail books.

“Prohibition was on the cusp of the cocktail renaissance and the drinks were elaborate and well thought out,” he said. “You had to squeeze juice and make your own syrups.”

Billy Felisiak, a regular of the bar, was sipping on a cocktail named “On the Night You Were Born,” which contains rye whiskey, absinthe and Pedro Ximenez.

“This is the best drink I’ve ever had in my life,” Felisiak said.

There are no plans to offer food on the menu, as the focus of the bar is on making the best cocktails possible.