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Yoshi's Oakland

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Dining Reservations

Student Discounts

Dinner:
Monday-Wednesday
5:30pm to 9:00pm

Thursday-Saturday
5:30pm to 10:00pm

Sunday
5:00PM to 9:00PM
*Open 2 hours before the show

Happy Hour:
Mon-Sat
4:30-6pm



Yoshi's Oakland
510 Embarcadero West
Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510.238.9200


press reviews

Yoshi's gets ready for its San Francisco opening
by Jesse Hamlin
SF Chronicle

Yoshi's gets ready for its San Francisco opening

Jesse Hamlin, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A decade after building its handsome home in Oakland's Jack London Square, Yoshi's is getting ready to open a bigger branch of its renowned jazz club in San Francisco, on a revitalized stretch of Fillmore Street just south of Geary Boulevard in the city's nascent Fillmore Jazz Preservation District.

The 28,000-square-foot, $10 mil-lion venue - which will feature a 420-seat nightclub and a 370-seat Japanese restaurant and lounge - opens Nov. 28 with a one-time performance by the great drummer Roy Haynes and the Yoshi's Birds of a Feather Super Band. It features such sterling Haynes alumni as vibraphonist Gary Burton, saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Ravi Coltrane, and trumpeter Nicholas Payton.

The two-story club occupies a ground-floor chunk of the new Fillmore Heritage Center at 1330 Fillmore, a $75 million redevelopment project that includes a 12-story condominium tower, a contemporary soul food restaurant and a 6,000-square-foot Jazz Heritage Center that's also supposed to be ready by the end of November. Yoshi's will seat about 90 more patrons than the Oakland operation (the footprint is actually smaller, but there's a mezzanine that will seat 100). It joins a strip of smaller restaurants and clubs that are bringing nightlife back to a neighborhood where it once flourished.

"The neighborhood is changing rapidly, for the better. I think it's on its way up," said Kaz Kajimura, who founded Yoshi's with his ex-wife, Yoshi Akiba, about 30 years ago on Oakland's Claremont Avenue and built it into one of the world's most respected jazz clubs.

Kajimura is betting millions of dollars of his and other people's money - the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency is giving Yoshi's and Fillmore Heritage Center developer Michael Johnson a long-term $4.4 million loan - that there are enough jazz fans out there to support two major clubs, one on either side of the bay.

"We have a very big loyal audience in the East Bay, and those people would rather stay in the East Bay," said Kajimura, standing in the lobby of the big new venue, where crews are working to finish the job in time for the opening. "We aren't getting a lot of people from San Francisco, because they don't like to come over the bridge. There's a huge untapped market here, including tourists and convention people."

Designed by the architectural firm of Morimoto, Matano and Kang, which did the East Bay Yoshi's as well, the new spot is similar to its elegant Oakland sister. It has curving walls and soffits, big sculptural Japanese lanterns, and a mix of dark and blond woods. As in Oakland, the nightclub is a fan-shaped amphitheater with a curved stage and no poles to block sight lines. Acoustician Charles Salter advised on sound matters.

Yoshi's Artistic Director Peter Williams plans to book many of the same artists into both clubs but feature them with different groups. After the San Francisco opening, Haynes' group, minus guests Burton and Coltrane, will play at Yoshi's Oakland for five nights; Taj Mahal, whose Phanthom Blues Band plays San Francisco that week, will be at Yoshi's Oakland the following week with his trio. Similarly, pianist Chick Corea's acoustic Freedom Band, with flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Eddie Gomez and percussionist Airto Moreira, plays in San Francisco from Dec. 4-9, but when he goes over to Jack London Square the week after, he'll perform with his wired-up Electrik Band.

"I love the idea of having somebody play each room with a different band," Williams said, amid the whir of power tools. "That's the best possible way we can use both clubs to their fullest. The first six months will be an experiment. We'll see what works and what doesn't."

Guitarist Charlie Hunter and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who will also play Yoshi's Oakland, will appear at the new club in the coming year, as will guitarists Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell with their trios and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval's Mambo Mania Big Band. The predominately African American neighborhood, where black clubs welcomed racially mixed audiences during the Fillmore's heyday in the 1940s and '50s, has become a multicultural mix. Karaoke clubs and sushi bars share the street with chicken joints and Ethiopian restaurants.

"One of the things that really excites me is that we may be instrumental in getting a really nice ethnic resolution in this area," said Kajimura, who thinks people will see that Japantown is no longer confined to the north side of Geary. "There have been some pushes and pulls between the Japanese and African American communities. We can be a factor in pulling these communities together. That makes this project all the richer."

 

Yoshi's: San Francisco grand opening. 8 p.m. Nov. 28. Tickets: $100. On sale Oct. 29. Public tour with live music. Noon. Dec. 1. Free. 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco. Call (510) 238-9200 or go to yoshis.com.


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