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Best Cafe 

Actual Cafe

While it's certainly nothing new for a cafe to serve as a makeshift community gathering space on top of serving up the usual coffee and pastry fare, it's fair to say that when it comes to being a community-oriented caffeine dispensary, Actual Cafe takes the cake. Owner Sal Bednarz keeps the cafe consistently abuzz with a hefty offering of interesting events, including live music, lectures, and the ever-popular Thursday-evening Bicycle Bingo games (which raise funds for local nonprofits). Plus, each month a local artist is invited to display his or her work on its walls. The above would be laudable on its own, but there's more: Aside from the usual selection of scones, coffee drinks, and cold turkey sandwiches found on the menu of many cafes, Actual also serves wine, a solid selection of local beers, and absolutely tasty treats like house-made granola and flaky empanadas stuffed with savory fillings like chard and pine nuts. On almost any night, patrons can grab a drink, take a seat, and bask in a showcase of decidedly East Bay culture.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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