And usually, when we write of old-school shop local experiences, we delight in the proprietor’s relentless fight to remain in the past. In so doing, these local merchants give us something special — the chance to shop as shopping was meant to be — before this pastime was taken over and ruined by Corporate America. Sure, we’ve written several features and celebrated those decades-old indies in Oakland. And we long for more old-fashioned retailers to fill up our neighborhoods all over the town.
However, when we think of “old-school” and “Liquor Stores,” admittedly, we don’t generally wax nostalgically. The ones we remember were actually a little on the seedy side and sold big brand but bottom-of-the-barrel booze. The clerks were standoffish but always hovering over their inventory — surely to guard against theft. They kept conversations brief by limiting pleasantries to grunts. Indeed, we always had low expectations.
And, to confess, we had some preconceived notions about Buckingham Wine & Spirits. Because it has some of the old-time liquor store lineage as described above. You’ll notice the lighting is classic 70s fluorescent. The fixtures are low tech. And it has utilitarian displays packed into its tight corner store space. Nothing fancy.
Buckingham’s New School Ways
But, then there are the crucial differences. First, it’s run by Jessie and her two daughters, Mira and Ami. And it’s obvious that they love their customers and their shop. And Even though they seem comfortably cool with its heritage, we think they must have also dreamed to be different. It’s divergent path leads adult beverage enthusiasts to a surprisingly large, eclectic, and well-curated selection of intriguing alcoholic beverages.
There’s a definite focus on local, hand-crafted, limited batch, unusual, and specialty. It’s obvious they’re always on the joyful hunt for new stuff. But they’ve got the old stalwarts too. Beer? It’s got lots of hip and quirky small and emerging brands. Looking for Wine? Yes, and it’s not from the usual conglomerates you’ve come to expect to see at corner liquor stores. And they have the spirits that are sure to raise yours when you find just what you wanted or discover something new and tantalizing.
Yes, Buckingham Wine & Spirits has intoxicating new-school options.
More About Buckingham Wine & Spirits
What they offer: They’ve got an intoxicating selection of quirky and emerging brands plus the old stalwarts of liquor, beer and wine. They’ve also got other corner store goodies like ice cream, soda, and smokes.
Address: 3293 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Neighborhood: Grand Lake District, Lakeshore Avenue