Supposedly, there's a story behind every crazy knickknack decorating the walls of Cafe Van Kleef: Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves. The head of a water buffalo killed by Gary Cooper. Whether these stories are myth or truth just adds to the mystique of this small, eclectic bar in Uptown, Oakland. Make Van Kleef the main event of your night out, and let their strong signature drink — a Greyhound with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice — turn things hazy. It can be a little overwhelming on packed and lively weekend nights, but the combination of close proximity to strangers, quirky decor, dangerously heady drinks, and live indie, jazz, blues, and funk music is what makes it so fun. Squeeze your way into the dimly lit locale on a buzzing Friday night, and chances are you'll leave flushed, happy, and with a few more friends than you came with.
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