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 homemade desserts. No matter what time of day you opt to sit for a spell in the brick-walled Berkeley institution, the tables are sure to be dotted with people typing at laptops, thumbing through books, or just shooting the breeze.
Housed in a mellow, spic-and-span space, Cafe Yesterday is Berkeley's most comprehensive cereal bar, though its well-rounded menu also includes salads, sandwiches, house-baked pastries, and fair-trade coffee.
Step inside cozy Cafeina and discover a sweet community atmosphere with a kids’ menu, flowers gracing the concrete counter, and indoor and outdoor tables. The welcoming staff serves a large variety of organic and fair trade coffee, tea, and espresso drinks as well as bulk coffee and tea. Fresh seasonal menu with real food and plenty of veggie options. Must try: bursting blueberry muffin, all-organic chicken salad sandwich, and several homemade soups, including a vegan option.
Ahna Adair co-owns the CommonWealth with her brother Pete Jeffryes and her husband Ross Adair, a Scot who learned to appreciate traditional cooking in his grandmother's kitchen. He prepares it here in the form of English-style breakfasts and pub grub with a California twist: Steel-cut oats, beans and toast, egg-and-chutney sandwiches, and the like augment an impressive selection of beers from the UK, the East Bay, and a few locales in between.
Turns out, the Hotel at Shattuck Plaza has not only a rock-solid restaurant, but a bang-up — if slightly mannered — bar space as well. Drinks are well-made and undeniably thought-out — you'll be hard-pressed to find a cocktail here with fewer than five ingredients — but it's a pleasant place for an after-work or post-theater cocktail. Plus, there's live entertainment on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
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.
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.
The Junket is a European-style cafe in the El Cerrito Plaza shopping center. The cafe mainly specializes in German and British products. They offer many imported cheeses, meats, and gourmet sandwiches. Aside from tea or espressos, customers can try their fill at German beer on-tap along with imported wines.
This hip, airy Temescal hangout serves fresh, often tasty and imaginative soups, salads, sandwiches and breakfast items. Rich, buttery chowder, spiky tamarind chicken salad, a meltingly tender pulled-pork sandwich, and exemplary triple chocolate-chip cookies are among the menu's highlights.
Located a couple blocks from Ashby BART, Nomad provides the soy-latte crowd a place to discuss their recent trips to Guatemala and work on their laptops, thanks to free wi-fi. In addition to the espresso menu, Nomad serves sandwiches, beer, and smoothies.
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.