New Yelp feature shines fun light on Berkeley hotspots

Looking for bacon in Berkeley? Downtown Berkeley and Telegraph has got you covered.

Looking for “bacon” in Berkeley? Downtown Berkeley and Telegraph have got you covered.

A new Yelp feature called Wordmap is an interesting look into the stereotypes of what certain local neighborhoods have to offer. Wordmap shows heat maps that “[show] density of keywords used in Yelp reviews to reveal fascinating patterns of local discovery”. You can choose from 14 major cities, which each have their own set of keywords. San Francisco’s Wordmap, explored in detail by Inside Scoop SF, has a range of keywords, from “hipster” to “noodles” to “bacon.”

In order to check out Berkeley’s own Wordmap, you can click on the San Francisco Wordmap, and scroll over to the East Bay. The most red areas are the places in which Yelp-users really like to use that keyword in reviews of the area! A look at Berkeley’s Wordmap didn’t reveal anything revolutionary, but it’s certainly fun to look at.

What was the keyword that lit up the most of Berkeley? “Cheap” and “patio” were among the most popular.




A nod to Berkeley’s impressive amount of outdoor seating.




"Hangover" drifts solely around UC Berkeley's campus.

“Hangover” drifts solely over UC Berkeley’s campus, as did “frat”.

Words that (unsurprisingly) barely showed up at all on Berkeley’s Wordmap were “tourist,” “valet,” “romantic,” and “sketchy.” “Yuppie” showed a red cluster hovering over Fourth Street, but nowhere else in the city.

Check out Berkeley’s Wordmap for yourself, or plug in another city to see what keywords stuck to what neighborhoods. Any keywords not on the list that you wish were?

Julia Hannafin is a summer intern at Berkeleyside and a student at Columbia University studying creative writing and American studies. She writes for the music blog The Metropolitan Jolt.

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  • Rachel Anderson

    In the meanwhile I wish Yelp would add “West Berkeley” to their list of Berkeley neighborhoods. They’re missing a lot of restaurants and services by not having that option — and that means Berkeley residents and Berkeley business owners are too.

  • serkes

    Now this made me smile! What would show up if you put in the top dozen keywords from a Berkeleyside word cloud?


  • PragmaticProgressive

    petting zoo!

  • Bill N

    What a hoot!

  • Tizzielish

    Have you made that suggestion to Yelp? They care about their business and if there are restaurants and services to be reviewed in West Berkreley, and someone told them . . . . maybe they would add West Berkeley to their list of Berkeley neighborhoods.

  • gwumpycat
  • Tizzielish

    The article you link to, gwumpycat, is four years old. Yelp has faced some litigation and changed their business practices since 2009, when your article was published. I still think yelp is somewhat predatory but your link, being so old, misrepresents yelp. I am not crazy about yelp but fair is fair.

  • Perry

    Straying a bit off-topic here… but does anybody know the name of the new (just opened?) Peruvian restaurant on Solano Avenue?

  • serkes

    There’s a Chilean Restaurant … Restaurante Cafe Valparaiso … is there a Peruvian one opening too? North side of Solano between Carmel and San Carlos in Albany


  • Sylvio

    This is the same Cafe Valparaiso which has moved to Albany after operating for many years at La Peña Center on Shattuck Ave. in South Berkeley.

  • Alina

    Agreed!!! I think the least they can do correct their extertionist image is to let a user know when a review is filtered.
    They hide my (and many other people’s) reviews and they don’t even bother to let us know when they do that. Not even a ‘thanks but no thanks’ message. Nothing. That’s how much yelp values and respects its members’ efforts. You can check in, post pictures to show that you’re a human, not a robot, but they’ll still hide the review if they feel like it with no warning or recourse to you, the poor sucker taking the time to do it.

  • angemon3690

    I wish gwumpycat would fall into a well.

  • AlanTobey

    To account for what keeps popping up like mushrooms in our fair town, we definitely need keywords for “pizza” and “beer.” And probably the all-purpose “trendy.”

  • serkes

    Or anything “fusion” … inspired by the recipes first developed by Fleischmann & Pons.


  • EBGuy

    You forgot “ice cream”.

  • fran haselsteiner

    Ummm… for me this is all kind of meaningless.

  • Guest

    I agree with Alina. Yelp filters good reviews in order to market a Yelp subscription to local businesses. Then, after the subscription is purchased, the good reviews are not filtered. This is unfair to the business and a disservice to the consumer. In short, Yelp is a dishonest scam.

  • irene

    At least one can still read the filtered reviews, but of course it’s not where most people will look. I have written many reviews for yelp – positive, negative, and in-between – they filtered all my reviews, and it was impossible to find out why. I have given up on yelp. It doesn’t seem it’s a trustworthy resource.

  • Perry

    yes, yes, that’s the one, Ira… (Chilean not Peruvian)… THANK YOU…

  • guest

    Do you review restaurants in West Berkeley?

  • Guest

    I very much agree that Yelp is no longer a trustworthy resource :( Since I know they arbitrarily hide some of my reviews, I cannot trust the overall star rating for
    any business outthere. If a business has high stars I suspect them of
    having given into yelp’s racket and paid for yelp to filter bad reviews.
    If they have low stars, I suspect they did not pay to play and yelp
    filtered their good reviews instead.