Via Magazine: Experience Alameda's Thriving North End, November 7, 2017


t's funny how infrequently some San Franciscans (like myself) make their way over to the East Bay. It's unfortunate, too, because of gems like Spirits Alley. Along northern Alameda's Monarch Street, the city's former Naval Air Station, now called Alameda Point, has transformed into a hub of distilleries, wine-tasting rooms, and other welcoming venues. The Spirits Alley moniker serves a dual purpose: both evoking the ghosts of the area’s WWII past and celebrating its penchant for boozy beverages.

A quick 20-minute ferry ride from Gate E at San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace, Alameda has an entirely different feel from the bustle of the city—especially on a Saturday morning, when you're leaving behind the crowded farmers market to arrive at a quiet stretch of waterfront parking.

Once at the Alameda terminal, Spirits Alley is a flat and easy five-minute bike ride past a baseball field and small skate park. While it's easy to bring your own bike on the ferry or rent one in the city, Alameda also just launched a six-month pilot bike-share program in October. Bikes are situated around town, and they're easy to find using the LimeBike app; bikes cost $1 per half hour, with discounts for students.