Oakland Cocktail Week Evolves Into Month Long Community Rally & Fundraiser For Oakland Bars

“Keep it Spirited, Keep It Oakland” partners with the Oakland Indie Alliance to reignite community support for Oakland’s bars facing COVID uncertainties and looming closures.

Bars and restaurants across Oakland continue navigating COVID challenges, struggling to stay afloat while fighting off the constant threat of permanent closure. Within this varied landscape, Oakland Cocktail Week (OCW) returns for its third year, expanding to a month-long campaign Sep 10 - Oct 11, 2020. The theme, “Keep it Spirited, Keep it Oakland,” stays true to OCW’s mission of spotlighting the spirits community while adding a sense of urgency in inspiring community support for COVID relief.

A survey of over 500 local small businesses conducted by the Oakland Indie Alliance (OIA) and the Alliance for Community Development in August 2020 showed that 46% of respondents report having only a 0 to 3 month runway to permanent closure. OCW’s fundraising will benefit OIA’s recently launched #KeepItOakland Fund, which is administered in partnership by OIA and Working Solutions with support from Black Cultural Zone, Mandela Partners, and Chinatown Improvement District. The fund will distribute non-dilutive grants of up to $10k to Oakland’s independent small businesses facing hardship. With the goal of preserving the Town’s vibrant culture, grantees will reflect Oakland’s demographics and diverse neighborhoods.

To keep the spotlight on the spirits community, OCW and OIA will allocate a dedicated “Keep It Spirited” fund with priority given to establishments that have not been able to reopen safely. Oakland based bars and restaurants that have less than 100 employees, and owners that reside in the Bay Area are encouraged to apply to the fund starting mid-September.

“Oakland is a city with a legacy of bars surviving Prohibition and the 1918 influenza pandemic, so yet again we’re testing the concept of community strength in Oakland, ” says OCW co-founder Daphne Wu. “Though the projections are bleak, we now have an opportunity to come together and pay it forward for these spaces that create the very fabric of this town.”

As in previous years, OCW will spotlight bars through an online directory, highlighting COVID adapted offerings. Current participating establishments include Ramen Shop, Burma Superstar, Hopscotch, Tribune Tavern, Calavera, Nido, Nido’s Backyard, Homeroom, Aloha Club, Heart & Dagger Saloon, Chop Bar, Home of Chicken & Waffles, Italian Colors Restaurant, and more.

Special events throughout the month seek to drive community donations and sponsor matches. To ensure health and follow safety precautions, all events will take place virtually, kicking off with an online screening of the 2018 documentary Town Spirit and culminating in the annual Town Throwdown cocktail competition.

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