Produce and Punks 

Don't speed by the gems on and off San Pablo Avenue.

Laid out in Spanish colonial times, San Pablo Avenue is one of the East Bay's oldest and most-traveled roads, with dozens of neighborhoods along its twenty-mile stretch.

If you're in the market for what once were called marital aids, then Good Vibrations (2504 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-8987, is your source for silicone protuberances, lubricants of every viscosity, and a sex-positive staff who will tactfully explain how to enjoy them (shy types can peruse the extensive bookshelf). Gift packs with names like "G Marks the Spot" and "Our First Bondage Kit" offer something special for every occasion.

With names like Charlotte Ronson, Earnest Sewn, and Corey Lynn Calter on the racks — and reasonable numbers on the price tags — Magnet (2509 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-848-1966, is easily Berkeley's smartest boutique. Owner Camille Mason also keeps an eye out for local and on-the-rise designers, plus jewelry from unique collections like Hazel Cox and Bonedust.

Foodies, vegans, and pretty much everyone else in town treks to the mother ship, Berkeley Bowl West (922 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, 510-898-9555,, for organic produce, grass-fed meats, bulk and deli foods, coffee, and — will wonders never cease? — ample parking. If there's a crowd, and there probably will be, remain calm; food this high-quality, at these prices, is well worth the wait.

Over the past 25 years, 924 Gilman Street Project (924 Gilman St., Berkeley, 510-525-9926, has hosted bands from the catchy (NOFX, the Mr. T Experience, Green Day) to the insane (the Dwarves, the Feederz). Still going strong as an incubator for young bands and youthful energy, the volunteer-run, all-ages, no-alcohol, no-drugs, no-violence venue is a safe place to kick out the jams on Friday and Saturday nights. Affordable, too, with door prices just $5 to $10. That rocks.


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