Being a broke college student is always hard, but it’s especially bad when you’re trying to woo the person of your dreams. How are you supposed to showcase your generosity by picking up the tab on a date when you can barely afford ramen? We at the Clog decided to do a little research and figure out some of the best places and prices for dates in Berkeley, whether it’s the first date or the 500th.
Coffee shop dates are a tried and tested method, but don’t just go with any old coffee shop. You’ve probably heard of Philz, as it’s a pretty popular stop. It’s so well-liked because it’s a great atmosphere with equally great coffee. Impress your date with some of the fanciest coffee around by making the (slight) trek down Shattuck Avenue. At Philz, you get to pick from a number of roasts that have very distinct, clear flavors and undertones, and then you specify how much cream and sugar you want. They brew it for you then and there, and you get to refine it to your taste — both you and your date will love it. The Philz on Shattuck Avenue has a pretty large back room too, so it’s perfect for sitting and sipping your delicious drink or for a study date. If you’re sick of busy Downtown Berkeley, you can check out the one on College Avenue in Rockridge.
Cost count: $3-$5 per coffee = $6-$10
Toss Noodle Bar
It’s not Asian Ghetto takeout, but it’s not quite a fancy sit-down meal either. In other words, it’s perfect for a nice date on a college budget. Toss is an Asian fusion noodle bar in Downtown Berkeley, where you can design your own bowl by selecting your favorite noodle type, sauce and meat or tofu. If you order to eat there, you can sit down at one of the small tables and enjoy water or a beverage of your choice (we recommend the Thai tea) from a mason jar. While one bowl of noodles might not seem like enough for a full meal, don’t worry. It’s huge, pretty filling and absolutely delicious.
Cost count: Dish ($8-$10) + optional drinks ($3-$5) = $16-$25
Pack a picnic and hop on the 51B to the Berkeley Marina for a romantic (and free) date. It’s a great, peaceful break from city life and will leave you both feeling more energized than before. You can stroll along the waterfront paths or lay down a blanket and watch the waves. It’s especially beautiful if you go around sunset on a nice day, as you get to see the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge. Bonus points for the great view of San Francisco.
Cost count: Free with AC transit pass (or $2 per person without pass) = $0-$4
Victory Point Cafe
Victory Point on Shattuck Avenue boasts amazing hot apple cider, artisan pretzels and more than 800 board games. This board game cafe costs $5 per person to get in, and you can stay as long as you like. You’re not obligated to buy a coffee or a snack, but the option is available. This is a great way to spend an afternoon: It’s all too easy to spend five hours playing board games here. It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s definitely worth it. We recommend this date spot wholeheartedly, as we’ve had some pretty great dates there.
Cost count: $5 per person + optional drinks ($3-$5) = $10-$20
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
For the more artistic or cultured among us, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse is a music venue in the “art district” of Downtown Berkeley that offers a wide variety of music acts and events. Despite what the name might imply, it’s not actually a coffee house. Many of the shows won’t fit in the typical college budget, but some acts can be priced as low as $7-$9 in advance tickets. The open mics, songwriting competitions and other showcases are $5-$7 in advance and are a wonderful experience. Check out the calendar to see what events might interest you. Impress your date with your support of local musicians by bringing them to one of these events.
Cost count: $5-$10 per ticket, depending on the event = $10-$20
Contact Taylor Follett at [email protected].