Joined: Aug 22, 2002
From: San Francisco
|Posted: 2014-07-31 3:07 pm  Permalink|
If I were in your shoes, I think I would do what Loki-Tiki said: Tonga Room early, then Smuggler's Cove by taxi.
Tonga Room opens at 5, but they don't start serving dinner until 6. They have a happy hour buffet going at 5, but it's pretty awful. You'd want to get out of there before the band starts playing, usually 8pm, because the band is terrible AND they'll charge you a steep cover charge to stay after that point.
Fridays at Smuggler's Cove can be very busy, and you should brace yourself for a line. However, the pattern generally seems to be that there's a bit of a push in the early evening for the after-work Friday crowd, and then another later push for the folks going out for a night on the town. 8pm feels like it could be a sweet spot between those two, but I'm not super familiar with the Friday patterns, and you can't count on a lull. Be prepared to wait in line for a bit. But once you're inside, it's lovely (that's the nice part of that line -- it keeps the crowd very manageable inside).
Getting over the Bay Bridge on a Friday can be just absolute hell, to be honest. I don't know when it dies down, but rush hour starts early on Fridays, and it's miserable. I once had plans to go to Emeryville for dinner at 7pm on a Friday... I was in traffic on surface streets just trying to get onto the bridge for 45 minutes. I gave up, called to cancel my reservation, and went home. So if you *do* want to try to do Emeryville, don't plan on cabbing it. I would advise taking BART to the MacArthur station in Oakland, and then a cab/Uber to Trader Vic's (which is darned easy, it's a short ride).
If you're feeling a little Amazing Race-y, you could fit all three into one night. Tonga for a drink right at 5, Emeryville for dinner, then Cove. Cove is walkable from the Civic Center BART station.
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