On February 25 at 5:30 PM, a group of NCTA members, all aficionados of our monthly Happy Hours, met in Oakland at the Pacific Coast Brewing Co. The pub is in an elegant 1876 building where several museum pieces are on display. It’s conveniently located downtown, a block from the 12th Street Bart Station in an area that has been renewed and now hosts cafes, restaurants, and interesting shops, from the well-known Ratto’s European Deli to an exotic African products boutique.

After a hard day of work we enjoyed a drink while relaxing and chatting with colleagues who share the same interests. You can’t talk with just anyone you meet about the difference between cognates and “false friends,” their important role in learning languages, and how excruciating it is to see them badly translated. But at our Happy Hours you have an attentive audience ready to start an intelligent discussion on these sorts of topics. Bob Killingsworth, Sylvia Korwek, and Sharlee Merner Bradley were the key participants in this interesting debate.

I particularly enjoyed exchanging book titles such as Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky and trying to remember the name of that Nobel-laureate Portuguese writer … Salgado? Salvado? We all had his name on the tips of our tongues and Sharlee satisfied our curiosity on the spot by consulting Wikipedia directly on her iPhone. We all exulted when she pronounced the name of the well-known author of several masterpieces: José Saramago!

If you wish to organize a Happy Hour where you live, just drop me a message at