Love & Sex

Happy Hour: Squeeze It to Me

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Welcome to Cafe Van Kleef — one of my all-time favorite Oakland spots, and a generally fantastic place to grab a drink, see real live music (we’re talking old-school blues and horn sections that fill the stage), or just settle into a Queen Anne couch and while the hours away. Van Kleef opened a few years back, but it’s only gotten more crowded — and interesting — since then. The crowd is super eclectic, but it seems that everyone comes for the same thing: a vibrant, free-for-all atmosphere, and a killer menu of cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juice.

And by fresh-squeezed, I mean bartender at the metal juicer crank, rolling up her sleeves to make grapefruit juice for my Greyhound only after I order it. Needless to say, these are drinks so delicious that I’ve spent many a night ordering far too many.

As a date spot, Van Kleef is perfect for an after-dinner stop. Or, kick back on a sofa for two and spend the whole night there — just run out for a street food break when one of the neighborhood carts trolls past. But if you want to channel Van Kleef’s irresistible cocktails into an intimate evening at home, look no further than getting yourself a handy manual juicer.

These gadgets are fairly cheap and practically unbreakable (trust me, I’ve had mine for years and I break everything in my kitchen), and they truly are the secret to a perfect Greyhound, or Whiskey Sour, or Pomegranate Martini, or whatever boozey treat it is that your date desires.

So pick one up, practice your best juicer muscle squeeze, and impress the pants off your lady when it comes times for a nightcap… or three.

[$26, Amazon]