Soul food is a tradition for the Dorsey family, and their bar and restaurant serves it up seven days a week. The lounge has table service and plenty of seating at the bar. Dorsey’s hosts a spoken-word and comedy open mic on Tuesdays, karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays, DJs on Fridays, and live music on Sunday evenings.
Enjoy tasty Mediterranean-style pizzas and a wide variety of house brews on tap in this Berkeley outpost’s beer garden, where live bands perform on a brick patio throughout the week. For no cover charge you get atmosphere -- heat lamps, foliage, lanterns, a huge brick fire pit -- and entertainment ranging from experimental laptop music to bluegrass and Americana. Inside, the restaurant is two stories, and there are tables large enough to accommodate groups.
Mum and da drink and play darts while the bairns mess about with toys provided by the management — just as they do at pubs in England. Most of the menu is British, for better or worse, with faithful renderings of shepherd's pie, sausage dishes, and fish ’n chips; patrons whose Anglophilia ends at the placemat make merry with burgers, pastas, and salads. The staff's willingness to prepare child-size portions has given this place a reputation as the Chuck E. Cheese of the bar world. Ten taps spout American microbrews and English favorites.
This intimate venue books national and local bands and comedians: Acts like Mos Def, Dave Chappelle, Ra Ra Riot, Kid Sister, and Elephant Man have performed on The New Parish’s small stage since it opened in January 2010. The club has a balcony, exposed brick walls, a back patio, and barbecue served for late-night munchies.
Tucked behind West Berkeley’s slew of design warehouses on Fifth Street, Donkey and Goat is a retail store, tasting room, and full-fledged natural winery all in one. Housed in an old ink factory, the winery puts a strong emphasis on viticulture that’s all-natural, i.e., little to no added sulfur, sugars, yeasts, tannins, or acids. It’s a successful formula, as D&G was named one of five “Winemakers to Watch in 2011” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday from 2-6 p.m.
Rotating DJs spin punk, rock, new wave, indie, and glam at this Alameda club, which also features live metal, rock, cabaret, and occasional hip-hop acts. Rooster's amenities include an outdoor patio, pool tables, a large indoor stage, dance floors, and a full bar with seventeen microbrews on tap. Tavern food is served late. The club is located five minutes from downtown Oakland and the Park Street Bridge.
This cocktail lounge/hipster hangout/sports bar serves a menu of ambitious global cuisine that changes countries every eight weeks. The cocktails are complex and carefully crafted; the setting is an attractive mix of brick, dark wood, objets d'art, and firelight; and the Old Oakland setting can't be beat.
Henry's is an old-school hotel bar that's been remodeled and reinvented. While you can still sit at the bar and enjoy a reasonably stiff drink, you might be better off sitting down for a full meal, as Henry's offers a full-size and well-executed take on classic pub fare.
This long-running urban winery has gained an international reputation for its Zinfandel and Rhône varietal wines; a tasting room allows visitors to try a variety.
The dimly lit dive bar has seventeen beers on tap and scores of specialty drinks. It's a cool place to play pool or one of the bar's multiple video-game machines.
You can find better beer elsewhere, but this Berkeley outpost of the small national brewpub chain wins points for its family-friendly vibe, super-spacious industrial-chic interior, and massive burgers.
Same as it ever was, this Berkeley Irish bar has been around since the days when Ronald Reagan was California governor, and it hasn't changed much — although you can now order a cheeseburger as well as traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage. There are lots of beers on tap, but why not just have a Guinness or a Harp? It's certainly appropriate, and the regulars won't look at you like you're from Mars. Entertainment includes Irish Dance and Ceili Mondays at 9 p.m. (dance instructions start at 7 p.m.); open-mic Tuesdays at 8 p.m.; Berzerkley Poetry Slam on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. with house band Three Blind Mice accompanying; and live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. There's a full bar with twenty drafts, and the kitchen serves food until 10 p.m.
This steakhouse is equipped with a comedy club and bar. Customers can find this joint near the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. There are various comedy acts throughout the year so check the web site's calendar for a full list of shows. The menu for the steakhouse features mainly American cuisine and they have drink specials for events. Every Monday night is open-mic night.
Albany Taproom, Albany’s first beer bar, offers 32 draft beers in addition to a selection of ciders and wine. The bar menu is crafted to complement every type of brew. On Tuesdays, various local artists and musicians perform.