Because of historic Prohibition-based title covenants, for years no alcohol could be served within a mile of Cal's campus. That's one of the main reasons Berkeley's bar scene has always been so pathetic. Even today, Alice Waters' Chez Panisse won't serve hard alcohol -- which was a golden opportunity for several former Chez Panissers to open Bar César next door. While there's no connection to the widely acclaimed restaurant, here in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto they take their bar food very seriously and nothing is cheap. César's menu changes daily and includes tapas from $3 to $10, bocadillos averaging around $6 per, and desserts around $5 per. Two of you will not leave César for less than $50 but the noisy, stylishly crowded bar scene is the place to see and be seen in the East Bay. The choicest seats open on to the street.
Readers' Pick: Cato's Ale House