Ahh... Au Coquelet, the welcoming Berkeley cafe where you can get a cup of coffee at the crack of dawn and come back after midnight for another cup with an Irish kick, indulge in a fresh fruit torte or any of the spot's homemade desserts. No matter what time of day you opt to sit for a spell in the brick-walled Berkeley institution, there tables are sure to be dotted with people typing at laptops, thumbing through books, or just shooting the breeze.
Like an old-fashioned Eastern European bakery, Crixa Cakes has everything from chocolate-cherry mousse cake to Fatima’s Thighs. Also, all of Crixa's delectable delights are baked from scratch on-site. The cafe boasts an expansive coffee bar, which features various espresso-based beverages in addition to the standard-issue cup of Joe. Surf the 'net while you sip and chomp; they've got free wi-fi as well.
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, soulful beats playing 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 leftist cafe community been so tasty, creative, and mod. Organic, fair-trade coffee served.
But for the regular singer-songwriter performances (scheduled Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 9:30, with an additional Sunday brunch session), the predominant musical backdrop at this South Berkeley/North Oakland cafe is a cool mix of J Dilla, Wu-Tang, and old-school R&B — along with the whir of an espresso machine and the sound of a well-to-do collegiate clientele pecking on their new Apples. Located a couple blocks from Ashby BART, Nomad provides the soy-latte crowd a place to discuss their recent trips to Guatemala or whatever was featured in the most recent issue of Harpers, and take advantage of the joint's free wi-fi. In addition to the espresso menu, Nomad serves sandwiches, vegan beer, and smoothies.
After developing a cookie dough recepie for William Sonoma, the owner of Sweet Adeline worked as a pastry chef for Garibaldis On College before opening this bakery. The restaurant/bakery features tea cakes, ginger sticks, peppermint patties, and chocolate cream pie complement cheese quiches, challah, and more. The establishment has free wi-fi as well as an outdoor seating area.
Tucked away behind the Bank Club is a horseshoe counter with stool seating. Sit down and either Wally or one of his friendly employees will greet you with a bowl of hot, spicy lentil soup. No, you didn't order it, nor did you order the baklava that will arrive with your bill. Tuck in, you're in good hands with this crew. Wally bills the fare as "Mediterranean & More," and that's an understatement.