This North Berkeley pub is popular, particularly among students, for its wide selection of board games like Scrabble and Connect Four, not to mention darts, pool, and the Sunday-night trivia quiz. Order a brew from the thirteen on tap or sample its serious selection of Scotch. Even man’s best friend is welcome. On alternating Wednesdays and Saturdays, this laid-back British-style bar hosts bluegrass, world music, or jazz bands.
At the sidewalk tables outside, attractive hipsters enjoy a late brunch — grilled panini, poached eggs and toast, or the waffle of the day with fruit. Inside, animated with the buzz of excellent espresso drinks, still more attractive hipsters converse as soulful beats play in the background. At the counter, laminated tributes to subversive visionaries from Mother Jones to Bob Marley kindle activist sparks. Owners Andrea Ali, Keba Konte, and Rachel Konte are artists who select thought-provoking work to showcase on the walls. Never has the leftist cafe community been so tasty, creative, and mod. Organic, fair-trade coffee served.
Sometimes the privacy of your own car is the best coffee shop. Lucia Drive-Thru understands. Located on Shattuck Avenue at 52nd Street near the entrance to I-580, Lucia has been giving people on the fly a quality coffee boost for ten years now. Efficient staffers are cheery, but not too cheery, and if you’re a regular, they will remember what you mean by “the usual.” Lucia uses Mr. Espresso, fair trade and organic coffee, to make a wide range of espresso and coffee drinks. Smoothies are also served. If you also need a quick oil change, a drive-through oil change shares the lot.
This friendly little Mediterranean haunt is a favorite of Cal-campus north-siders. Grab a sandwich with a side of pasta and salad along with your espresso (or glass of wine) and take a seat on the bustling sidewalk for some people-watching, or squeeze into a table inside and get some reading done.
The standard bearer for the West Coast's original coffee revolution, Peet's on Vine is where Alfred Peet first brewed and served the artisinal blends he'd canvassed the world in pursuit of in the late Sixties. Now every corner coffee shop boasts the blend and roast of their beans, but it's thanks to Peet's that anyone gives a damn. This is still a reliable place to get an excellent, strong cup of coffee and a fresh pastry to boot.
This East Bay iteration carries on the Mission District original's trademark practice of treating tea and coffee as a cocktail (there's even a "mojito iced coffee"). You may find yourself having to answer an array of questions about your tastes while the barista makes each cup to order. On top of a wide array of coffee and tea variations (including Turkish coffee), Philz offers pastries, plenty of seating, and free wi-fi.