Oakland-based restaurateur Chris Pastena, known for his involvement with Chop Bar and Lungomare, plans to launch Calavera this summer.
The Mexican restaurant will be located in a restored Julia Morgan building within Oakland’s uptown mixed-use facility The Hive.
Pastena partnered with restaurateurs Michael Iglesias and Jessica Sackler, as well as architecture and interior design firm Arcsine, to bring the 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar concept to life.
The name Calavera, or “skull,” is a nod to both traditional Mexican art and the restaurateurs’ thoughtful celebration of Mexico’s rich culinary landscape. The design concept features raw materials and unexpected geometric forms that take a contemporary stance on old world style.
Arcsine embraced the building’s existing brick walls and concrete floors to evoke a sense of authenticity and updated the space with refined, Oaxacan-themed elements such as reclaimed asher oak wood tables, handcrafted light fixtures, and curated artwork.
The eclectic material palette extends to the bar, a focal point that will soon house the most extensive selection of tequila and mezcals in the Bay area with a series of custom geometric boxes as shelving.
Capitalizing on the 18-foot ceiling, Arcsine will replicate a motif from the Labna Mayan ruins across the back of the bar, accenting the massive weathered wood bar back and patterned leather bar top paired with colorful wood tiles on the bar face.
Additional seating will also be available beyond oversized glass doors leading to the outdoor dining patio illuminated by strung lights for a refreshing alfresco experience.