Jack London Square : Michelin's recommendations
Stretching along the busy Inner Harbor of the Oakland Estuary southeast of Broadway, this once-gritty dock area has been developed as an attractive, pedestrian-friendly complex. In addition to shops, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, a farmers' market and a yacht harbor, it has become the East Bay's hippest nightlife district. Oakland's Amtrak passenger lines, Oakland Estuary water-taxi service, and ferries from San Francisco converge near the marina.The square was named for writer Jack London, who lived in Oakland as a boy and young man. His adventurous spirit is recalled in the historic Jack London Cabin, a reconstruction from original timbers of the rustic, single-room log cabin that London occupied during the winter of 1897-98 while prospecting for gold in the Yukon Territory. Near the cabin stands one of London's favorite watering holes, Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon (48 Webster St.; 510-839-6761; www.heinoldsfirstandlastchance.com), built in 1883 from the timbers of a whaling ship. Heinold's was also patronized by authors Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller and, for a short time, Robert Louis Stevenson. Still operating as a bar, it was declared a National Literary Monument in 1997. A floor contorted by the 1906 earthquake (and never repaired) holds three small tables and a half-dozen barstools; wonderful historical photos cover the walls.