An Item for Every Whimsy 

You don't need to cross the bridge to find what you're looking for, whether it's an antique lamp, designer shoe, or thrift-store bargain.

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Rosenblum Cellars (2900 Main St., Ste. 1100, Alameda, 510-865-7007) gained an international reputation for their Zinfandel and Rhône varietal wines.

Solano Cellars (1580 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-525-9463) serves light meals to accompany its vino, with a tasting bar in the back.

St. George Spirits/Hangar One Vodka (2601 Monarch St., Alameda, 510-769-1601, StGeorgeSpirits.com) offers tours every weekend and has an onsite retail store. But the real draw is the tasting room, which offers well-priced flights of traditional and flavored absinthe, eau de vie, tequila, and vodka.

Sweet Adeline Bake Shop (3350 Adeline St., Berkeley,510-985-7381) features tea cakes, ginger sticks, peppermint patties, and chocolate cream pie complement cheese quiches, challah, and more.

Teacake Bake Shop (5615 Bay St., Emeryville, 510-655-0865) makes the handsomest cupcakes and cookie sandwiches around out of high-class ingredients like imported Belgian Chocolate and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.

Ver Brugge (6321 College Ave., Oakland, 510-658-6854) features meat, poultry, and fish sold by white-aproned butchers who offer traditional skill and solid suggestions for how to prepare their fare.

The Wine Mine (5427 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-547-9463) specializes in under-$15 bottles and offers $1 Saturday tastings.

Furniture & Home Furnishings

Art Deco Collection (3227 14th Ave., Oakland, 415-255-1902, by appointment only), an SF retail outlet with an Oakland warehouse, is full of furniture, art, and collectibles carefully selected by consummate dealer Richard Fishman, who has a penchant for Euro finds, particularly French and Belgian ceramic cloisonné pottery, French lighting, and all things cocktail.

Bed Bath and Beyond (multiple locations) builds its brand on selection, medium to high prices, and the "beyond" section of items you never knew you couldn't live without.

Berkeley Horticulture (1310 McGee Ave., Berkeley, 510-526-4704) is a family-owned top retail nursery with horticulture advice, garden info, plants, and accessories.

Berkeley Lighting Company (1623 San Pablo Ave., 510-524-1782, Berkeley) is where savvy shoppers expect to find those just-right lighting options for in and outside the house.

Berkeley Mills (2830 Seventh St., Berkeley, 510-549-2854), established in 1988 by woodworkers, is the one and only stop for ultra-chic, high-end, quality-crafted custom furniture.

Clausen House Thrift Shop (4834 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-653-6812) is literally packed with new and used electronics, clothing, furniture, and household goods, all at very affordable prices, and helps developmentally disabled adults in Oakland live independently.

Cost Plus World Market (multiple locations), an import junkie's safe house, features furniture, bedding, housewares, knickknacks, alcohol, and specialty food items.

Crate & Barrel Berkeley Outlet (1785 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-528-5500) carries merch that might be from a season or two ago; otherwise, it's the same great stuff.

CVS/pharmacy (5100 Broadway, Oakland, 510-654-1556) has it all, but the real treat is the well-stocked, outstanding garden center from whence many a North Oaklander has started a garden.

Design Within Reach (1770 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-524-1994) pulls together classic furniture, lights, flooring, and domestic accessories made by the likes of Herman Miller, Artek, and Objekto — the companies who hold the licenses for the original designs.

East Bay Nursery (2332 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-845-6490) is a family-run gardener's dream founded in 1926, where the folks behind the watering cans, rakes, and hoes are helpful and knowledgeable about the nursery's fine Japanese maples, specimen trees, perennials, natives, shrubs, roses, conifers, water plants, pottery, and seasonal shop.

The Ecology Center Store (2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-548-3402) carries a wide range of nontoxic cleaning products, paints, and household supplies.

Ecohome Improvement (2619 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-644-3500) offers eco-friendly supplies on every front, ranging from flooring and paint to tiles and countertops, though these supplies usually cost a bundle.

EQ3 (5603 Bay St., Emeryville, 510-601-0400), displayed in a well-flowing Emeryville showroom, features fresh and spartan square-ish sofas, love seats, sectionals, platform beds, cosmic coffee tables, and perfunctory desks.

Fenton MacLaren Home Furnishings (5533 College Ave., Oakland, 510-658-1414; 1325 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-526-5377) today stocks restored furniture, but over the decades has added new Mission- and Shaker-style lines and unfinished furniture to the mix, maintaining a commitment to quality and fair prices.

The Futon Shop (5745 Christie Ave., Emeryville, 510-595-6797) is a chainster with an SF factory where mattresses are hand made.

IKEA (4400 Shellmound St., Emeryville, 510-420-4532) is a mazelike gargantuan store full of vivid color, innovative thinking, good value, and cleverness.

Lola Home (2950 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-981-8345) offers memorable items for home, especially in the realm of fabric arts such as felt pillows.

Magic Gardens Landscaping (729 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, 510-644-2351) provides all the diversion a dreamer could want.

Maison d'Etre (5640 College Ave., Oakland, 510-658-2801), an upscale home-decor emporium of intriguing plates, plus pillows, cute candles, clever cards, luxurious linens, and then some, invites lingering and seeks to celebrate the home and the people and pets that live there.

Ohmega Salvage (2407 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-204-0767), a 31-year-old architectural salvage yard, features two huge lots full of home accessories and a century's worth of design.

Pillow Park Plaza (1419 Park, Alameda, 510-521-6227) sells high-quality, comfortable products, and offers the kind of personal service that every independent retailer should provide but which is absent in your average gigantic superstore.

Rockridge Furniture & Design (5601 College Ave., Oakland, 510-652-7115) is full of antiques and reproductions for Craftsman bungalow owners who insist on period furnishings for their vintage homes, or for adding the finishing touch to any room.

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