Cooler was not a casually chosen name for this craft beer bar. Core to their philosophy is a commitment to keeping all beers cold — no sweltering back room with staling kegs and cases piled up. Of course this only matters if there is also a commitment to sell high-quality beer. There is.
A great independent craft beer bar has to have well-curated selections. The Cooler specializes in an intelligent mix of beers chosen by the industry veteran owners. This makes it a destination worth seeking out in the old San Leandro downtown, where stagecoaches once dropped off weary travelers.
You’ll find 34 taps including fine craft beers plus kombucha, select wine and nitro coffee. There are also bottles that can be enjoyed on the spot or taken to go. The long bar has nice touches, such as ample outlets for charging your phone. You’ll find TVs for your sports needs, but this is a beer place first. Look for highly informed servers and good beer conversations. (Ask if there are any beers that the Cooler gang recently drove many miles to pick up fresh.)
Minors are not permitted. There is no kitchen. Outside food from nearby places is highly encouraged, and suggestions are given. An updated tap list is on their website.
Extras: San Leandro is becoming a destination beer town. Drake’s Brewing and 21st Amendment are in the opposite direction, not as close to BART as The Cooler is. (They are beyond 1 mile walking distance on the Bay side of BART, so consider a bus, free BART shopping shuttle, cab or car to get on over there.)
1517 East 14th Street • San Leandro • 510-357-3949
Exit the BART station, and turn right along San Leandro Blvd. The first intersection, at the nearby corner of the BART driveway, is with West Juana Avenue. Cross to continue along Juana for 5 flat, easy blocks. Turn right onto East 14th Street, and look for The Cooler on your right.
Official BART San Leandro Station and connecting transit info.