Why Port Costa Should Be Your Next Getaway
At the end of a long, winding road along the Carquinez Straight awaits quirky, charming Port Costa, a lesser-known town with stellar food, cocktails and an unforgettable dive bar. With a population of barely 200, the town was once a booming grain port and train ferry stop for Contra Costa County. You exit I80 just before you hit the Carquinez Bridge and keep driving a few short but slow, winding miles east through golden-brown hills until you reach the end of the road and hit active train tracks along the water (pictured above). There's just a handful of businesses — meaning less than 10 — along one road, including the enchanting Theatre of Dreams, a shop full of Victorian-inspired paper goods, shadow puppets, letterpress and the like.
The town is a destination — and a residence — for the biking community. There are motorcycles everywhere, which reach peak mass on Sunday, although Saturday's droves are impressive as well. Locals dish about their vintage bikes and features in motorcycle magazines over a pint at divey-magical Warehouse Café, the ultimate dive bar and restaurant, which is worth a drive in and of itself.
Recently, a handful of residents, with their creative, unusual businesses, are turning this wisp of a town into a destination. We spent a recent weekend here and felt as if we'd been hundreds of miles from the city, though it's merely a 45-minute drive away. The pace is slow and enveloping. Locals of many stripes and ages began talking to us the moment we wandered in. We were even invited to see home antiques collections (the town's other key passion besides biking). On top of that, we enjoyed a meal and cocktails of metropolitan quality, all while staying in a quirky hotel that many claim is haunted. If Savannah met a sprinkling of New Orleans and California's Old West-Gold Country, it might feel a bit like Port Costa. Here are a few of our favorite moments and tastes from this one-of-a-kind treasure of a strip.