Heinold’s is dark and cluttered, the way a good bar should be. Walk inside and you notice how nothing is at the correct angle — the 1906 San Francisco earthquake sunk the pilings Heinold’s is built on, leaving the bar top sloping in a way that threatens to spill any drink you set on it.
Heinold’s opened in 1883, but dates back even earlier. The building was built out of the remains of a whaling ship sometime in the 1800s, and served as a bunkhouse for dock workers before being converted to a bar by J.M. Heinold. But besides its age, the bar is also notable for being a favorite spot of American author Jack London. The sailors and ship captains who drank there served as the inspiration for many of his stories, earning the bar the nickname “Jack London’s Rendezvous.“
As the East Bay has changed, so has Heinold’s. Today you’re more likely to find tourists drinking there than dock workers or sailors. But there’s still an element of age and authenticity to the bar that can be hard to find elsewhere. It’s a nice place to stop for a beer on the way to your next destination.