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.
There's nothing broken at the Broken Rack, which offers twenty tables, a host of high-octane cocktails, and a comfy lounge complete with that vanishing species, the smoking section. There’s also foosball, pinball, and free wi-fi. It may seem a little odd to find a pool hall right next to a food court and the high-rise condos of Emeryville, but the atmosphere is relaxed and adult. Just the game, no scene, no cruising. Tie one on and sink a few.
This spacious, dimly lit Albany tavern has a hunting-lodge-meets-tiki-lounge feel. Just look for the funky red and green neon sign on San Pablo Ave. It has two floors, two full bars, two jukeboxes, two smoking patios, five pool tables, and lots of comfortable seating. Prices are reasonable, and the drinks are strong. Club Mallard has a laid-back vibe and is great for groups. Strike a pose in the photo booth and see why women love the second-floor bathroom.
Foxes is a fifteen-minute walk from South Hayward BART. This club is equipped with pinball, pool, dartboards, video games, and ample parking. Play pool for free (with a two-drink minimum) every Monday and Wednesday. There’s an open mic on Thursdays and R&B and hip-hop with DJ Supa K every Friday.
This Jack London Square club used to be a hot spot for salsa, but these days it attracts a well-heeled, mature African-American crowd. The huge, open-aired, barnlike venue has two sides: one is a sports bar and billiards hall; the other is a nightclub, karaoke, and comedy club. In both cases, be prepared to adhere to the club's dress-code policy of hard-soled shoes and no T-shirts or sportswear for men, and "sexy attire" for ladies. DJs spin hip-hop and R&B on Friday nights, while Saturday night specifically caters to an older clientele.
A small bar with two pool tables and a full bar.
Located on Shattuck Avenue just a few blocks from downtown Berkeley BART station, this venue is a favorite hang-out for college students. Thalasa is decked out with 23 tables, a full bar, and patio seating.