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This Uptown bar is inviting but not desperate; trendy without trying too hard; relaxed but not lazy — a rec room with the metaphorical volume turned up to eleven (the actual volume, by the way, is nicely not too loud — except on weekends). The cocktail list, which was masterminded by Caroline Pagel of Sea Salt, manages to be both decently priced ($6 during happy hour, which runs 4-6 p.m. weekdays, or $8 regularly), and, by and large, unfussy and delicious (try the garden gimlet.) Big bonus: bocce ball!

The Mixing Bowl

This hip, airy Temescal hangout serves fresh, often tasty and imaginative soups, salads, sandwiches and breakfast items. Rich, buttery chowder, spiky tamarind chicken salad, a meltingly tender pulled-pork sandwich, and exemplary triple chocolate-chip cookies are among the menu's highlights.

Offering live music every Thursday and Saturday night, this Oakland Hills restaurant and bar is more than just a hangout spot for diehard sports fans. In addition to typical bar fare such as buffalo wings and chicken quesadillas, Monaghans also serves seafood paella and pork milanesa. Specials on food and drinks happen on Taco Tuesdays, Wicked Wing Wednesdays, and Thirsty Thirst-days.

This fancy cafe and classical music store, located across the street from UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza, is one of the few venues in downtown Berkeley where you can eat scones and sip lattes while listening to live chamber music or cabaret.

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