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Bars, Clubs & Coffeehouses: Coffeehouses

At Actual Cafe, it's all about sitting down and enjoying the coffeehouse experience. Get a cup of joe (or tea) served in a real china cup, plop down, and just hang for a while. Actual Cafe boasts comfy furniture and communal seating to encourage actual interaction with actual human life-forms. It's "not just another wi-fi shack." Indoor bike parking and a full menu are also available. Weekends are laptop-free.

This cafe is a diverse gathering place. There’s lots of conversation, and, because the wireless is unreliable, it isn’t a haven for laptop users. Besides consistently good coffee, Alem’s' menu includes healthy breakfast and lunch offerings like Shiyan Phool, a dish made with fava beans, onion, and feta cheese that’s served with a slice of bread. It’s in a colorful little building across the street from the DMV. Cash only.

This coffee shop on College Avenue caters to coffee geeks. It serves local roasts by Ritual, Barefoot, Flying Goat, Verve, and De La Paz, and offers pastries as well as other snacks. It’s spitting distance from the Rockridge BART station, and has a screen that tracks the next trains. There’s free wi-fi, and some seating inside and out.

This chocolate lovers' paradise proffers drinks, pastries, and bars such as chocolate dulce de leche pudding and chocolate Thai iced tea.

For great coffee a short walk from the MacArthur BART station, Cafe Dejena fits the bill. Prices are reasonable, there’s free wireless, and the decor is bright and welcoming. The menu is a mix of Eritrean, Italian, and standard American food.

Patrons line up outside the door of Cole Coffee for two reasons: 1) The coffee 2) The social scene. First, the coffee: Pure Arabica, fair trade and organic, roasted fresh every 24 hours, dripped individually into each cup. In the adjoining coffee store, choose from the largest selection of fresh beans in the East Bay. A range of specialty teas will satisfy tea lovers, as well. 2) Sometimes there’s a lack of elbow space inside the cafe and this actually serves to inspire conversation with more extroverted cafe-goers. There’s also a feeling of fellowship among those who have been lucky enough to secure a sidewalk table. Enjoy the scene and savor your coffee with locally made baked goods, fresh sandwiches, or poached eggs. Coffee mecca and social hub, Cole Coffee well earns these appellations. No wi-fi.

A family-oriented coffee shop that serves up plenty of food in addition to beverages, and even has a little children's nook set aside to entertain youngsters.

Across the street from the Rockridge BART station and situated inside Market Hall, Highwire Coffee Roasters (formerly Peaberry's) serves as a regular morning destination for commuters as well as a hangout spot for those with the time to contemplatively sit and sip their caffeine. Don't fret the long lines, the baristas are friendly and quick. In addition to coffee, the shop serves up pastries, fancy chocolates, gelato, and affogato, an Italian dessert of espresso and vanilla gelato.

Large windows and yellow paint on the interior walls make this small neighborhood coffee shop a sunny space to sit and sip coffee.

High ceilings and a Mediterranean menu define this Rockridge cafe. Spasso's offers freshly baked goods and lunch fare, as well as ample outlets and free wi-fi.

Tribu Cafe has a large space devoted to offering pastries, homemade food, coffee, and teas. There is an outdoor patio for customers to enjoy their beverages or food along with free wi-fi. If customers don't wish to sit at the food and espresso bar, there are couches for them to relax upon.

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