When we wanted to go to a cool restaurant for our recent staff luncheon, we chose the brand new
Lake Chalet, at the edge of Lake Merritt in Oakland.
As an Oakland resident who walks around the lake frequently, I’d been watching this place being built over the last couple of years and was really curious to see how it would turn out. Well, the Chalet is gorgeous! It’s amazing how a building that started out in 1909 as a pumping station and boathouse could have been transformed into such a stunner. Lots of wood and windows plus high ceilings and a 70-foot marble bar overlooking the water create a warm, convivial ambiance.
We dined in the Lake Room upstairs, which extends over the lake and has views on three sides plus a fireplace and it’s own bar. This room, as well as the Gondola Room on the opposite side of the restaurant, is a charming space for a rehearsal dinner, reception or other kind of private party.
I definitely plan to come back to the Chalet for a stint at the main bar, where I can scarf down a pile of sweet potato fries with my beverage of choice and watch the sun set. Oh, and I can’t wait for summer, when the outdoor decks (there’s a bar conveniently located there, too) are sure to become the local hangout of choice. Hey, I might even take a ride on the genuine Venetian gondola that embarks on scenic tours of the lake from the Chalet’s dock. Who needs to go all the way to Venice?