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Kingfish Pub & Cafe

OHA has presented a Partners in Preservation Award to the Kingfish Pub and Cafe, one of the few remaining old bars in the East Bay and a mainstay of the Temescal District. Opened as a bait shop in 1922, the building grew as the business expanded. Its ability to roll with the punches may be the key to its longevity, as it has now changed its location without compromising its original character or abondoning its clientele.

In August of 2014, Emil Peinert, with the ownership group Baitshop Dives LLC, contracted with Andrew-Chang Urban Design, Landscape & Architecture for the relocation, rehabilitation, and additions to the historic Kingfish. The bar closed its original Claremont Avenue location on January 2, 2015 and opened its new Telegraph Avenue location on May 15, 2015, just three and a half months later.

The program for the project included the preservation and relocation of the original interior and exterior, building and site infrastructure upgrades that included accessible new restrooms, a new outdoor patio and bar, and a new storage and office accessory structure to accommodate future food service.

The project also included the reuse of exterior finish elements of two other historic buildings on the original site that had been slated for demolition. These elements were employed to create an outdoor bar and patio landscape that significantly preserves the place character of the historic neighborhood environment and provides an appropriate surrounding context for the modestly scaled, relocated historic structure. 3D modeling was employed to facilitate delineation of proposed design alternatives and outcomes.

Even though the Kingfish project has only recently reached completion, there is an arc signifying it as an exemplar of model preservation activity. The new Kingfish location, along the revitalized Telegraph Avenue Corridor, fills in a decade-old void in the neighborhood fabric—a blighted, undersized, infill site between the civic institution of the landmarked Temescal Library on the south and the high-density affordable housing project on the north. The project not only saves an historic Oakland building resource, but also expands its role as a critical neighborhood social and cultural hub. The successful save of this historic resource draws ongoing positive attention to the economic and social benefits of preservation and to the potential of relocating even relatively humble historic vernacular structures.