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What Is the Deal with Temple Bar in Berkeley?

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I've seen Temple Bar in Berkeley (on University near San Pablo) written up in old publications as some sort of old bar that serves Hawaiian food. Has anyone ever eaten here? I'm curious about whether or not it serves food and if it's any good.

I have to even wonder if the place is even still in operation since from my car it looks a little dead.

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  1. I went to the Temple bar several years ago.

    Great Polynesian food (small menu)
    Super personal service from owner, Who also made the large Bombay Martini's.

    The place also had a super nice old carved wood bar.
    Is the place still open?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mission

      I live a few blocks away and have always assumed it was just a rowdy bar--there is always a crowd outside on Saturday night and often some police lingering too.

    2. s
      Shepherd B. Goode

      Used to eat & drink there often. Still pass by almost daily, sometimes on a hazy Saturday afternoon when a Manhattan would be right on time. No such luck. Place seems now to be only rarely used, for private parties. Up to Santa Fe for that cocktail.

      1. z
        Zach Georgopoulos

        I don't know about the business of the Berkeley location, but the beautiful old back-bar was brought over from it's original location on Tilden Lane in San Francisco a few years ago. Some idiot bought the Temple Bar location, gutted it, outfitted it with a bunch of melamine fixtures and renamed it "Today's". It lasted about a month until Giordi's took over, then Rumpus, and now nothing. It's one of those sad San Francisco restaurant tales, like Ernie's and Amelio's. The Temple Bar was one of the great downtown watering-hole/steakhouses, and there really aren't any of those left now.

        1. I went there a little over a year ago with some other ex-Hawaii residents looking for a taste of home. We were all disappointed. It's a small, dark restaurant/bar that has a dirty Tonga Room-like look to it. Their "buffet" had about three dishes (all terrible), plus rice, and was not worth the price (around $10-$12, I think). It's an okay place to meet up with friends, but if you're looking for Hawaiian food and atmosphere, go elsewhere.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jayjay808

            I don't know if you're talking about the same place so many people enjoy both for the great Hawaiian food, exotic cocktails and Hawaiian music. The place has the feeling of being in Hawaii. Also if you'd like to see what all the various tiki gods look like, the hand-carved deities are standing all around the dining room.

          2. So is the Temple Bar definitely closed or still open?

            2 Replies
              1. re: Amy B.

                I was there on St. Patrick's Day so I can attest that they're still in business. Good cheap friendly bar (two of the bartenders were mother and daughter). I was drinking IPA on draft so can't speak to the cocktails, but it didn't look like they're as serious about them as Forbidden Island.

                Seems like sometimes they run on island time and skip their announced hours. If there's a band scheduled to play it's probably a safe bet that they'll be open.