Pirate BBQ and “Burning Man” on the Beach [Point San Pablo Harbor, CA]

Maverick Kelly’s 52 Day Trips
6 min readSep 12, 2021


Arrghhh. 🏴‍☠️ My family loves a good pirate adventure with yummy food, art and just the right bit of danger.

Our latest adventure takes us to the oasis of Point San Pablo Harbor, a 22- minute drive from Oakland).

I say oasis because you drive (or bike) through some ugly, refinery and “Area 51”-looking buildings on the way (the Chevron refinery (240,000 barrels of oil a day) is headquartered in Richmond).

But sometimes pirates have to go navigate the trash to get to the treasure!

Boaters beware: You could also boat into the harbor (a true pirate!) but boats often get stuck in the mud or find one of the sunken shipwrecks. If you boat, make sure you go at high tide, pay close attention to your chart and know what you’re doing, warns Pirate Captain Tony (also owner — more on him later) at https://www.pspharbor.com/direction. s

Black Star Pirate BBQ

The “anchor” venue(pun intended!) at Point San Pablo Harbor is the Black Star Pirate BBQ (this used to be Nobilis Restaurant).

The entrance to Black Star Pirate BBQ in Point San Pablo, CA .
That’s “Captain” Tony Carraccii who owns Black Star Pirate BBQ with Suzie Vasko.

Captain Tony (pictured above) is just as entertaining as he looks — and patiently answered my 5-year old’s questions (such as “Are all pirates thieves?” (Answer: “No. Some are more like Robinhood.”). Tony was the founding chef of Cha Cha Cha (Cuban-Cajun!) in the Haight (SF) and owner of the nightclub Cat Club (also in SF).

Black Star is eclectic. Check out these pics:

There’s a sunny place to sit…
…but we say inside for more shade (all tables have a view of the harbor)
Get there on the early side / You order your food first (before seating) and the lines often get long. — There was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle April 9, 2021 that created a big buzz.

Black Star Menu

We went on Labor Day 2021 and they had a simple menu of 2 samplers (BBQ and Veggies) and jalapeno corn bread:

We ordered the BBQ sampler (brisket, ribs and pulled pork)
The “Veggie Sampler” (beans, cole slaw, mushrooms, mac and cheese and potatoes)
They have plenty of wine and beer (no cocktails)

But here’s a snapshot of their full menu (as of Sept. 12, 2021) that I took from https://www.blackstarpig.com/menu:

Black Star Live Music

Black Star has live music on a regular basis. Their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/blackstarpiratebbq/) seems the best place to go to see who’s playing. We watched this fun duo play some classic rock/R&B.

Make sure to look around the restaurant inside and out.

We checked out the inside:

Here’s the inside of Black Star — it’s got tons of character.

…because that’s where you the restroom is:

…and there’s tons of fun signs, art and other tchotchkies in the restaurant area. It starts with Captain Tony’s own hands — check out his rings:

Captain Tony the Pirate showed us his rings (I asked)

And make sure to check out the Pirate Booty store behind the restaurant that’s run by Captain Tony’s partner Suzie Vasko:

Captain Tony had told us about a few treasures that our 5-year old could take home:

Giant Burning Man Art & Sculptures

There are a handful of fun sculptures to explore including this giant crocodile:

..and this big bee:

And cats that you can climb on (secret: push the cat’s buttons and it might purrrr!):

The Beach and House Boats

If you walk behind the Black Star Pirate BBQ (towards the house boats), you’ll go by a small beach:

…and you’ll see a house boat community:

…and sea-going vessels as well:

And people are fishing:

Fish cleaning station at Point San Pablo Harbor

Bonus Oasis

If you keep walking past all the houseboats, there’s a nice couple of spots to sit…

…and enjoy the view (thx to local pirate and opera composeKris for pointing out the cool contrails seen in this pic below!). Kris had just finished his opera that day! Here’s the contrail pic:

…and this bonus “Orb” that Captain Tony had told us to check out:

Check out some goats and chickens on your way out:

Would we go again: Absolutely!

Thanks, Captain Tony and Suzie for showing us a fun adventure with just the right amount of danger!



Maverick Kelly’s 52 Day Trips

Hi! I’m Maverick. My mommy, daddy & me are on a mission to take 52 day trips around the San Francisco Bay Area! Thx for joining in the fun!