To fill in those of you who barely turned 21 or are new to the Berkeley bar scene, the college city has bars for all sorts of occasions and moods, from a classy night out to loud dance parties. The diversity of Berkeley bar selections guarantees something for everyone out there.
1. A classy night out: La Botella Republic
Ladies, think of dressing in a sexy, understated, all-black outfit — and guys, go in ironed khakis, classic leather shoes and a button down shirt. It’s perfect for a date night or classy night out. A sophisticated night always involves wine, and La Botella Republic is the perfect wine bar at which to relax and sip on Northern Californian wines from just-emerging producers. The dim lighting makes for an intimate and elegant setting, and for those who are slightly hungry, the menu ranges from salads to chocolates.
2. A night of dancing, cheap drinks and music: Kip’s or Pappy’s
If you feel like dressing up and dancing while downing cheaper drinks or even the legendary fish bowls, try Kip’s Bar or Pappy’s Grill. The loud environment can make for a crazy, fun night out with friends, and the cheaper drinks won’t break the bank, either. Try a buttery nipple or pineapple express at Kip’s, and if you’re lucky at Pappy’s, the bartender might know what a baby maker is: That drink is one of the best at Pappy’s.
3. Dinner and drinks: BUILD or Eureka!
If you need a hearty meal but also want some cocktails or craft whiskey and beer, spend your night at BUILD Pizzeria or Eureka. The gourmet pizza ingredients ranging from pine nuts to prosciutto combine well with their cocktails. Voted 2013’s “Best New Bar” by East Bay Express, BUILD serves 16 artisan beers on tap and a dozen Napa Valley wines. I personally love the Moroccan Nights cocktail with vodka, mandarin orange blossom, lime and pomegranate juices and cardamom scented tea syrup. Eureka is famous for its burgers, whiskeys and beer. The Fresno Fig Burger with fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, bacon, tomato, red onion, arugula, spicy porter and mustard is a unique find, and the truffle cheese fries are great with any of their cocktails, such as the mint julep. Eureka also stays open until 1 a.m., so if you feel hungry later in the night, you can stop by Eureka!
4. Thirsty Thursday: Triple Rock Brewery
For a Thirsty Thursday special, head to Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse for the Monkey Head Arboreal Ale, which is a malted amber ale that is served by the liter to share with friends. Triple Rock is America’s oldest original brewpub, so with its prestige and history, it won’t disappoint.
5. Drinking on weekdays: Cafe Durant
If you feel that midweek slouch and need to go out and let loose, head to Cafe Durant. With themed days of the week, such as the famed Taco Tuesday with $1 tacos and $2 Coronas, you will have the quintessential Berkeley experience. The cafe also has a student nacho special on Monday with $5.25 nachos, Wing It Wednesday with 65-cent wings and Beat the Clock on Fridays with pitchers for $5 at 5 p.m., $6 at 6 p.m., $7 at 7 p.m. and $8 at 8 p.m. Alcohol specials every day of the week make it easy to drink.
6. Everything else closed and I don’t want to go to Pappy’s or Kip’s: East Bay Spice Company
Sometimes you want to continue bar hopping or go out past 1 a.m. but don’t necessarily want the loud and crazy Pappy’s and Kip’s atmosphere. Head to East Bay Spice Company next to Cinnaholic for interesting and unique cocktails such as the Lancaster’s Voyage with brandy, rum, pineapple gum syrup, maraschino liqueur and curacao de curacao and the Harlequin Gimlet with two gins, bittermens malort, IPA syrup and lime. Pair the cocktails with some Indian food snacks and enjoy the music while you sip and eat.
Contact Annie Chang at [email protected].