This was one of my favorite spots in Oakland (which observant readers know yer humble host strongly prefers to San Francisco). By the time my friends and I discovered it as part of our Friday night dinner in the East Bay diversions, it had ceased to be a Payless and was a Longs Drugs. The store was massive–more a discount department store than a drug store–and it provided lots of Friday night entertainment with its odd assortment of merchandise and inexplicably large garden center, toy department, and cheap food zone. Sometimes we’d drive over and eat at the Emil Villa’s barbecue joint in the parking lot and once in a while we’d take BART to Rockridge and walk over.
Despite an early 1990s remodel, it still felt like the late 1960s inside. I liked that. I always managed to get by for a visit on subsequent trips to the Bay Area but I knew its days were numbered when CVS took over. Even the building will be gone in a few months. Pity.