Among the dry cleaners and fast food on Oakland's Grand Avenue comes Ordinaire, a welcoming yet somehow monastic spot whose vibe balances between wine shop and wine bar.
Shelved in threes amid clusters of books, and with the prices written in white on the bottles, most of Ordnaire's stock is biodynamic or otherwise naturally produced California wines, and there are some great finds. In particular, a Montepulciano D'Abruzzo for $18 and Paso Robles' Broadside Cabernet for $22 stand out as serious values that the helpful staff will happily steer you towards.
The name "Ordinaire" doesn't stem from modesty or self-deprecation, but rather refers to "vin ordinaire," the wine that never makes it into a bottle, portioned out instead among the winemaker's friends and maybe the village bistro. Eight such varietals are on tap daily, but you can opt to drink any bottle off the walls for the price plus $10 (corkage fee waived for anything over $35) or pair it with cheeses and charcuterie. It's quiet enough in the mezzanine to read dense poetry in translation whilst you sip.
If your favorite café has been colonized by a start-up that's holding loud daily meetings (or a fourth cup of coffee is simply inadvisable), Ordinaire is a wonderful space to get some work done, and pick up a bottle for dinner while you're at it.
Ordinaire, 3354 Grand Ave., (510) 629-3944.