You can tell a bar has its priorities straight when the drink menu is held in a leather-bound book, while food is relegated to a single paper. And while, yeah, the simple Indian street food that's served is worth ordering on its own, it's more worth pairing with any of the cocktails on the menu, all inspired by the spice trade. The fun, engaging Nikki, who’s meticulously working her way through each spirit to learn its intricacies and possibilities, can whip you up a day drinking-friendly daiquiri or the kind of Scotch-heavy drink that’ll put hair on your chest. Signature cocktail: Rob Roy (at least right now). It's basically a Manhattan with Scotch, which creates a smooth, smoky, uber-masculine cocktail your grandfather would no doubt approve of. Where she drinks when she’s not working: “Anywhere that’s dark and not crowded. Hotsy Totsy is great -- a total dive with a huge liquor selection. Right now I’m on a Scotch kick. My favorite is the Caol Ila 12 year.” What she loves about Oakland: “I love how passionate people are about food and drink. There’s so much opportunity here, but it’s not exclusive. There’s a ton of creativity, enthusiasm, and community. And I love the nerdy aspect of it."