Drinking around Berkeley: A Nosh guide


A significant number of new drinking spots in Berkeley have joined established watering holes like Jupiter. Browse our fabulous interactive map below for full details. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

There’s a drinks renaissance happening in the East Bay, particularly in Berkeley.

In fact, West Berkeley now has so many alcohol-driven businesses (think Takara Sake, Trumer Pils, Pyramid Brewery, The Torpedo Room, The Rare Barrel, etc.) that Berkeleyside is on a mission to name the area “The Drinks District.” Doesn’t that roll off your tongue nicely?

If you haven’t been reading Nosh, where we are documenting all these openings, you may not have realized just what is going on in the city’s drinks scene. So Berkeleyside has put together a map to show many of the spots where you can taste beer or wine, go to a bar, or buy the stuff to drink at home. There are 99 establishments on the list, with many more expected to come this year.

DIRECTIONS: Click the markers for more info about each location. Use the drop-down menu below the map to sort by type of establishment. Please note: To show all the icons again after looking at sorted results, you’ll need to refresh the page. The colored labels above the map show location type, but are not interactive. Have additions, corrections or suggestions? Email tips@berkeleyside.com.

Nosh drinking map key.

Please note, for this edition of the map, we didn’t venture south of Berkeley, and we also didn’t include grocery stores or most convenience stores, so as to keep it focused. If there’s a great spot you think we missed, however, please let us know.

See a full-browser version of the map here.

The Mead Kitchen joins local artisan drinks boom [04.02.13]
Nano-brewpub and lounge planned for Alcatraz Ave. [03.21.13]
Sierra Nevada to open beer tasting room on Fourth Street [03.20.13]
City approves sour-beer brewery for ‘beer geeks’ [03.19.13]
Beer garden, burger spot to open in South Berkeley [03.15.13]
Burgers and beer duo debut in Albany on Friday [03.07.13]

Follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook. Email us at nosh@berkeleyside.com.

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  • Disco stu

    Hoi Polloi “company website” is blank.

  • BeckyP

    You missed Elevation 66 Brewery in Albany, a fantastic spot for local beer and food!

  • bgal4

    Knowledgeable city planners understand the significance of regulating alcohol use permits to protect public health/safety. Berkeley, unlike Portland or even Santa Cruz, does not have the required protections for reducing harm, particularly when creating a “drinks district”. see recent examples in Walnut Creek, San Luis Obsipo and Fullerton.

    It is much more difficult to address problems reactivity. The recent assessment used to determine a 24 hr Telegraph Ave zone did not include a map of active/ inactive alcohol sales use permits. It was obvious from the presentation to council that the Telegraph Ave rezoning was a political process, not based in best practices for developing an entertainment zone. Berkeley should adopt a fee based monitoring enforcement program for alcohol sales to balance the privilege of alcohol sales with the cost of responding to problems and community impacts.

  • emraguso

    Elevation 66 is in El Cerrito and we didn’t get that far up. But it’s a great spot, agreed!

  • emraguso

    I don’t think they have one up yet, but will update the map when they do.

  • Devin

    Thanks for this map – its very helpful. Addition: I know its not Berkeley, but since there are other Albany locations, The Albany Taproom on San Pablo (across from the Mallard).

  • emraguso

    We have that one listed — love the Taproom! It seems to be a great addition to Albany. (It’s the orange marker due to its great craft beer selection.)

  • Brad Piff

    awesome work! i’ve been waiting for something like this. finally, it’s available – thanks to you and berkeleyside! don’t look at this map and drive.

  • http://twitter.com/suzanneyada Suzanne Yada

    Best-kept downtown secret: Thalassa, the pool hall and full bar on Shattuck near Durant. There is no visible sign other than a neon cocktail sign, but inside is huge and comfortable.

    Also, some restaurants downtown like Sliver and Giovanni’s have full bars in them. Let me try to jog my memory…

  • http://twitter.com/suzanneyada Suzanne Yada

    Oh yes! The Marsh Theater has a bar and happy hour connected to performances, and Saturn Cafe serves beer and wine in their Space Lounge.

    Funny I know all these spots when I really don’t drink that much… Maybe I should start drinking more. THANKS FOR ENABLING, BERKELEYSIDE!

  • emraguso

    Thanks, Suzanne! I can get these added. Great suggestions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/catarina.negrin Catarina Negrin

    How did Saturn make it and Revival, Comal…. but not Gather, they have a pretty sweet bar and great cocktails.

  • emraguso

    I always forget about that bar because I never venture back there — but that’s a great addition. I’ll get it on there now. Thanks!

  • bgal4

    are you using the ABC website to locate active license types?

  • emraguso

    Yes, we used the ABC site and also Yelp and Facebook. But it was still a bit of a challenge to know which restaurants simply serve alcohol vs. have a special bar / emphasis.

  • theDeer


  • annonymous

    I find this list pretentious and annoying – private wine locations!! Perhaps just not my people or places, as I also see the title “Nosh” as way off key.

  • bgal4

    That’s because there is a trend in which restaurants are morphing into bars. more profits$$

  • Brad

    Praise be! Berkeley needs more simple bars, especially around downtown. The service at Jupiter and Triple Rock is marginal at best, and they’re always just slammed.

    I really miss living near the Albatross.

    And, nice work Berkeleyside.

  • Mic Jordan

    What is really needed is access to free food snacks during happy hours like first class cities (SF) offer. We are way behind the rest of the area when you have to pay through the nose for oyster crackers and cheezits and salty bufalo wings.

  • emraguso

    Thank you!

  • emraguso

    We tried to be inclusive of all kinds of spots. Are there spots you think we missed?

  • http://www.facebook.com/florez.irene Irene Florez

    Great list & visual breakdown

  • Mark

    What’s the new establishment being readied at 2134 Oxford Street (next to Sunny Side Cafe)? It sure looks like it’s going to be a bar, and a nice one at that… but there’s no sign in the window.

  • Jeff Johnson

    You missed the bar at the Shattuck Cinemas.

  • Jeff Johnson

    I’ve been wondering about this place also. It looks like a “pure” bar, i.e., not attached to a restaurant.

  • http://www.berkeleyside.com/ lknobel

    Good point. We should clearly do a survey of the best free bar snacks.

  • emraguso

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Jeff Johnson

    We have a new entry! Just opened yesterday at 2134 Oxford Street (next to Sunny Side Cafe). I think they called it East Bay Spice. It looks like just a bar, but apparently they serve some kind of Indian food. It was already packed last night.

  • onesmallhand

    i think you might be misinterpreting what “private” means. these places all have web presences, but may not do business with a brick and mortar store. so the fact their address is private doesn’t mean it is an exclusive club, but rather that you don’t need their physical address in order to interact with them.

  • emraguso

    Thanks, on vacation but I’ll be back next week and can add both.

  • guest

    Because what Berkeley businesses need is: more fees.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Sounds like a tough research project. :-)

  • bgal4

    Yeah, why charge business for the externalities when it is so much easier to pass those costs to taxpayers and homeowners. Not to mention the high cost of ridding the bad actors without the benefit of common operating standards and a monitoring enforcement program.

  • Chris J

    Maybe. Don’t be such a humbug!

  • Chris J

    Actually, you might have something there. Just heard on NPR how the average Russian has a less chance of reaching his 60th birthday or so because of rampant alcoholic overconsumption. I guess bgal4 has a decent point–just resistant to charging Berk businesses more and more through constant additional fees, regulation, etc.

  • David D.

    I wouldn’t call Thalassa a secret. It gets unbelievably crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, especially now that there are no standalone full bars left in downtown.

  • David D.

    What “major problems” in Walnut Creek or SLO?

  • bgal4


    Article discusses Walnut Creek adopting a deemed approved ordinance with enforceable operating standards. If you go back through the past 8 years or so of news story ( or google around for policy docs) pertaining to problems associated with policing the downtown entertainment zone, the news reports detail the process in which the city council was forced to reevaluate and retroactively adopt a set of regulations.


    recent presentation at Alcohol Policy 16 by local prevention expert Fried Wittman about SLO. There is an accompanying research paper loaded with citations.

  • TK

    You’ve got to be kidding me. If the city of Berkeley has erred when it comes to alcohol, it’s that they have stupidly made it far too difficult to obtain a liquor license. People going to bars is a great way to stimulate the local economy. Most college tons have a much more active bar scene, and the lack of night life is a common complaint in Berkeley.

  • bgal4

    Liquor license are bought and sold, regulated by ABC. Cities use land use laws to regulate business operation and zoning issues.

    Go ahead explain why Blakes and the Down Low two college scenes closed recently.

  • David D.

    I want to like and use this, but most of the “bars” seem to be restaurants or venues. Very misleading! Also, the “craft beer” category seems completely arbitrary.

    And then we have places like Beta Lounge, which specializes in beer, wine, and sake (although hard liquor was very recently added) and gets listed in the “craft beer” category instead of wine, sake, or the more accurate “bar” category.

    I suggest organizing this by bar, wine bar, restaurant, brewery, and bottle shop if you want this guide to be usable. Cheers!

  • emraguso

    Thanks for the suggestions — I think incorporating some of this would be a good idea next time I do an update. There *are* places that do specialize in craft beer, and I think it’s beneficial to call them out if that’s their focus. Anyway, it’s a work in progress and I definitely want to create a “restaurants” category at the very least. (My thinking was that it’s the actual bar part of the restaurant I was hoping to highlight, so having a drink there seems to me to be essentially the same as going to a bar for a drink.) Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Taree Lyn

    They forgot to place Elevation 66 near the corner of San Pablo/Central next to the Cerrito . They make 6 beers there and have lots of “guest” beers and good food.
    Th-Su also lunch. etc. I like it.

  • emraguso

    Elevation 66 is a great spot but this is only Berkeley and Albany so far. Hoping to expand it at some point.

  • emraguso

    I was finally able to add in a restaurants category — though it perhaps should be noted that we’re focused on restaurants that have bars / cocktails as a key feature — not those that simply serve alcohol. I’m not ready to scrap the “craft beer” category because I do think there are places that really seem to focus on that, but perhaps Beta wasn’t one of them. Thank you for the input.

  • beanboy

    What about Trappist Provisions and Barclay’s and Ben N’ Nick’s?

    You have things for El Cerrito but not right over the border in Oakland??

  • emraguso

    Thanks for the feedback! We’d love to add Oakland spots to our map but haven’t had the capacity to do so yet. We’re hoping to do that eventually but there are so many that it’s going to take some time. We actually don’t have anything in El Cerrito, though we did include Albany and Kensington because there weren’t too many in those cities.