Iconic Dive Bar to close next month after 25 years of business
After nearly 25 years of serving up crimson-colored ambiance and affordable libations, Ruby Room, the beloved dive bar on 14th Street, will bid its farewell with a final Last Call on New Year’s Eve. The establishment, a favorite hangout for the East Bay Rats Motorcycle Club (their West Oakland clubhouse closed in 2019), is renowned for its distinct ambiance, smoking and pool rooms, and special event nights with 80- and 90-cent shots.
Instead of dwelling on the closure, the bar’s owners encourage their loyal patrons to commemorate the cherished memories and create new ones before the year’s end.
Alfredo Botello, who founded the Ruby Room in 1999 with his then-business partner Liad Mawikunich, later expanded the ownership to include Trevor Latham (then president of the East Bay Rats) and Tim Tolle. The three partners also own Radio Bar on 13th Street, which will remain open.
Botello acknowledged that the bar has faced additional challenges since the pandemic disrupted Oakland’s nightlife. However, he emphasized that the primary decision to close was driven by a collective sense among the owners that the time was right to move on.
Similar to other businesses in Oakland’s hospitality industry, Ruby Room has contended with street crime, a lack of police response, and evolving customer patterns. Botello, aiming to avoid a somber farewell, eagerly anticipates hearing more stories from patrons who have graced the Ruby Room over the years.