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Best Punk Bar 

Acme Bar

Berkeley's Acme Bar doesn't immediately stand out as particularly new or novel. In fact, the bar resembles one of those hipper dive bars popular in San Francisco. But the allure of this unassuming lounge on San Pablo Avenue is in its staff and clientele — primarily tattoo-sporting Gen-Xers with a penchant for enticing punk rock out of the establishment's Internet jukebox with more speed than a tweaker at a Ramones concert. The mix of likeable characters, stiff and well-prepared/proportioned drinks, and amiable and attentive bartenders (and proprietress) creates a comfort zone for striking up casual conversation. The extensive drink menu features many upper-shelf whiskies and tequilas for a dollar less than at most other bars. Later in the evening, DJs spin anything from punk to rockabilly to soul, which, instead of being blaring and overbearing, actually adds something electric to the Acme's atmosphere. A word to the wise: Plan your evening accordingly around a visit to Acme bar ... it's easy to lose an extra hour, if not an entire night, luxuriating in its atmosphere of absolute leisure.

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