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DaSilva Ukulele Co. (2547 8th St., Berkeley, 510-649-1548) can handle all your uke needs — handcrafted instruments, repairs, lessons, and gear.
Down Home Music (10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, 510-525-2129, DownHomeMusic.com) stocks around 24,000 roots and world titles, as well as music-related books, DVDs, LPs, and vintage 78s and 45s.
Groove Yard (5555 Claremont Ave., Oakland, 510-655-8400) has a fairly narrow niche — jazz on vinyl — yet that's precisely why loyal customers coming back.
Guitar Center (10300 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito) offers an unbeatable selection of music gear and instruments — with usually some monster sale price to boot.
Indian Music World (26605 Mission Blvd., Hayward, 510-881-5501) has a wide selection of DVDs, CDs, and cassette tapes in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, and Punjabi.
Leo's Pro Audio (5447 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-653-1000, LeosAudio.com) can hook you up with all kinds of audio gear for recording, mixing, and producing the best live sound.
Mod Lang Records (6328 Fairmount Ave., El Cerrito, 510-486-1880, ModLang.com) is a prototypical "cool" record store, where you can unearth rare European imports, B-sides, the latest and greatest indie album, plus a treasure trove of music memorabilia and magazines.
Powerage Amp & Electronic Repair (510-846-3113, PwrAge.com) is the type of unpretentious, straightforward, professional repair shop that will fix or modify just about anything, new or vintage, at shockingly reasonable prices.
Rasputin Music (2401 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley; 1280 Willow Pass Rd. Concord; 15590 Hesperian Blvd., San Lorenzo, 800-350-8700, RasputinMusic.com) is a CD and record store that also has in-store events featuring local and touring artists.
Starving Musician (2474 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-2648, StarvingMusician.com) specializes in used gear for a clientele that befits its name.
Subway Guitars (1800 Cedar St., Berkeley, 510-841-4106), owned by the eccentric "Fatdog," is a tiny store filled with guitars and basses in all sizes, shapes, and custom-made configurations.
Recreation & Hobbies
510 Skateboarding (2500 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-843-1863) offers a wide variety of skateboard decks and related skateboarding equipment, as well as the knowledgeable staff required to assemble your board, or at least point you in the right direction of a smart purchase.
Alameda Bicycle (1522 Park St., Alameda, 510-522-0070) guarantees free adjustments on bikes purchased there, warranty their two wheelers for life, and offers classes in basic maintenance.
Alameda Yarn Company (2002 Encinal Ave., Alameda, 510-523-9003) slings yarn, knitting needles, personal instruction, and a convivial space.
Article Pract (5010 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-595-PURL) has lots of natural fibers, unusual blends and dyes, books, patterns, and workshops.
Baubles & Beads (1676 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-644-BEAD) is a bead emporium featuring everything from Swarovski crystal to vintage Lucite, wooden to Japanese seed beads; they offer classes in all levels of beading, wirework, and even metalsmithing.
Blick Art Materials (5301 Broadway, Oakland, 510-658-2787; 811 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-486-2600) has been around since 1911 and offers everything you'll need to paint, draw, scrapbook, make prints, practice calligraphy, do projects with the kids on a rainy day, and more.
Destination 1440 (1440 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-526-7529) is a one-stop shop for boarders of all types.
East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (4695 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-547-6470) is a true inspiration point: You'll find sheet music, microscopes, empty mint tins, tiles, dry-erase boards, photos, toys, zippers, and all manner of what-have-you for craft or household projects.
Fish First (1404 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-526-1937) specializes in fly-fishing needs, and its knowledgable staff can offer tips, tricks, and advice.
Hank & Frank Bicycles (6030 College Ave., Oakland, 510-654-2453) is a bike shop with a large stock and a social conscience (you can "adopt an African Bike" through its web site).
Knit-One-One (3360 Adeline St., Berkeley, 510-891-1355) hosts classes — popularly called "knitting spas," owing to the warm, social vibe and delectable goodies provided — in crochet, purling, spinning, sewing, and beyond for beginning to advanced participants.
Mike's Bikes of Berkeley (2161 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-8350) is a big bike retailer: two stories with gear, accessories, and more.
Missing Link Bicycle Collective (1988 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-843-7471) is a responsible business and a hub of the local biker community, sponsoring a few local teams, offering free in-store classes (like fixing flats, building bike wheels, and how not to crash), and providing support to local participants in the recent national Bike to Work Day.
Old West Gun Room (3509 Carlson Blvd., El Cerrito, 510-525-5329) can assist you in all parts of firearm use and care.
REI (1338 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-527-4140) is an East Bay institution that has the supplies you need to cycle, climb, ski, or camp.
Royal Robbins (841 Gilman St., Berkeley, 510-527-1961) stocks extremely comfortable clothes in both natural and synthetic fabrics.
See Jane Run (5817 College Ave., Oakland, 510-428-2681) offers shoes and swimwear to help women get moving.
Title Nine sports store (1840 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-526-1972) specializes in stylish and functional women's sports apparel.
Utrecht Art Supply (1909 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-649-0808) chain carries its own brand of paints, canvas, and brushes alongside national brands of paper, studio furniture, DVDs, and whatever else a serious artist (or art student) could want.
Salons & Body Care
17 Jewels Salon & Spa (4801 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-653-1059, 17JewelsSalonSpa.com) offers more than seventeen reasons to visit, but here are a few: The relaxed decor is chic without being slick, the hair gurus are so friendly you'll want to hug them when you leave, and the middle-of-the-road pricing is beyond reasonable given that they dole out some of the best cuts in town.
Culture Spy - February 23, 2:42 PM
What the Fork - February 23, 2:12 PM
Seven Days - February 21, 3:30 PM
Culture Spy - February 19, 1:45 PM
Seven Days - February 18, 5:00 PM