Landmark: Oakland Landmark #3 ; NATIONAL LITERARY LANDMARK; NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon,
Jack London's Rendezvous in Oakland
Oakland, Calif. Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon along the waterfront at Jack London Square is a shack. Some even call it a dive bar. Built out of the wood remnants of an old whaling vessel in 1880, the humble establishment has been in existence since 1883, serving tourists, locals and prominent guests such as Jack London who was merely a young student doing his homework at the same three tables still used in the bar today!
Other prominent guests have included President William Howard Taft,
Robert Louis Stevenson, author
Earle Gardner, Erskine Caldwell, Ambrose
Bierce, and Rex Beach, Joaquin
Miller, Robert Service and Charles E.
While newer boutique hotels, seafood restaurants and high-rise complexes surround this little building, much credit goes to the city of Oakland and those who have lovingly kept it operating as a saloon to this day. To miss this gem on a stay in downtown Oakland is a shame. If you have a half hour to spare, drop by for a beer and sit amongst memorabilia while listening to guests and the bartender chat about the history of the First and Last Chance Saloon. Sure, the floor sinks miserably. Sure the wood hasn't seen a shine in a very long time. But that's the charm of this historic place. It's age and wear are what make it the incredible experience you'll cherish with new friends.
If you seek seclusion, you may want to find another place to go. Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon is for those who embrace Oakland's living past.