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New to Berkeley area - places to eat/hangout for a single?

chowchow Sep 22, 2006 03:31 PM


I'm single and I just moved to the Berkeley area. Any recs on where to eat or hangout for a single? food and or drinks

I eat all kinds of food. Price range: cheap to less than $20/pp.



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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: chowchow Sep 22, 2006 04:42 PM

    Cafe Rouge.


    1. Morton the Mousse RE: chowchow Sep 22, 2006 04:57 PM



      1. l
        Leadbelly RE: chowchow Sep 22, 2006 07:42 PM

        What is your age range?

        You may find Cafe Rouge a bit beyond your price range, and the age range (in my experience) skews toward middle-aged. The food is very good though, and they have a $1 oyster special on Wednesdays--that might be a good time to go.

        I second the rec for Cesar--great food, good drinks, a pretty mixed crowd.

        Some other spots:
        Luka's Taproom in Oakland--has a great beer selection, good food, and it stays open a bit later. Plus they have dj's almost every night, so it has more of a club feel and attracts a younger crowd. Its at 21st and Grand.

        Lanesplitter Pizza on San Pablo in Berkeley--the pizza is mediocre (ask them to cook it a bit longer for a cripser crust), but it is a nice neighborhood hangout, good beers on tap, and the bartenders are friendly. There is another location on Telegraph in Oakland, but I find the atmosphere there lacking in comparison to the Berkeley location. Note that they also have a location on San Pablo in Albany, but that is takeout only.

        Kitty's Bar in Emeryville, on Hollis near 67th, is a fun bar with great mixed drinks. It gets a little crowded after work hours, but they have good djs and a fun crowd. The bartenders can get surly when they are under seige. I think they also have a limited food menu.

        Club Mallard in Albany is a nice bar and gets a good mix of people. Now that UC is back in session, though, it will probably get more crowded--last time I was there, the pool tables were overrun with the backwards-ballcap, Greek-letter-wearing crew.

        Thats all I can pull together right now--I'll try to think of more for you. The Beast can be a little hard on a single--SF has a livelier and denser scene, but there is fun to be had over here.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Leadbelly
          Robert Lauriston RE: Leadbelly Sep 22, 2006 08:11 PM

          The lunch menu and bar snacks at Cafe Rouge are not expensive.

          The pizza at Lanesplitter seems more reliably good than it used to be. They usually cook it crisp.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            coolbean98 RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 22, 2006 09:16 PM

            I'm a big fan of Lanesplitters (mostly for the beer selection). To avoid the soggy pizzas you can also just not order fresh tomatoes (I opt for sundried). Good place for conversation with the locals.

            Also, re: Emeryville below, Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe has okay homestyle food plus beer on tap and counter eating.

            1. re: coolbean98
              Robert Lauriston RE: coolbean98 Sep 22, 2006 09:20 PM

              I've never had a pizza at Lanesplitter with fresh tomatoes.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                coolbean98 RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 22, 2006 09:26 PM

                Don't. The crust falls apart. They have them on the Garbage Pie. Same goes for spinach, which is on the Garbage Pie, the Splitter, and the Herbivore.

                I would say the same for the chorizo but in that case I think it's worth it.

                1. re: coolbean98
                  Robert Lauriston RE: coolbean98 Sep 22, 2006 09:34 PM

                  We usually order pepperoni and mushroom or the Carnivore. Maybe that helps with the crispy crust.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              Leadbelly RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 22, 2006 10:31 PM

              Right. At Cafe Rouge she could have one plate and one drink. That would fit within her $20. Doesn't sound like much of a night out to me.

              1. re: Leadbelly
                Robert Lauriston RE: Leadbelly Sep 23, 2006 12:11 AM

                For $11 she could have the best hamburger and fries in town.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  Kitchen Imp RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 23, 2006 04:32 AM

                  For some of us, $11 for a hamburger, whatever the quality, is expensive. Budgets, like food preferences, are relative.

                  1. re: Kitchen Imp
                    psb RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 23, 2006 07:05 AM

                    Robert was reading between the lines and though she was
                    looking for a meat market :-)

                    It seems like you are looking for more of a hangout
                    with food [as opposed to just a cafe].

                    Two thoughts:
                    --there are upscale and downscale places.
                    --there are "townie" places and sort of university-
                    dominated places.

                    Upscale: cesar ... cocktails and tapas.

                    Lanesplitter, Albatross ... more of a hangout place:
                    Pizza & beer, darts ... other people hanging out.
                    Not walking distance from university, if that is an
                    issue, but walking distance from each other ... can
                    invest $10 to "research both".

                    The Pub on Solano is an interesting hangout space, but
                    not a food place.

                    There are some weaker options like the cafe at college
                    and ashby ... but not realy a place where people are
                    likely to start chatting with you. Again a $5 investment
                    to evaluate yourself.

                    Triple Rock and Jupiter are university-dominated places.

                    Raleigh's, Henry's, Blakes, Kips are mostly an undergrad crowd.

                    Spats is an abomination.

                    But do yourself a favor and take BART to 16th and
                    mission and go to Zeitgeist while the weather is still

          2. c
            chowchow RE: chowchow Sep 22, 2006 08:16 PM

            thanks for the tips so far...

            I'm 28, female.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowchow
              Robert Lauriston RE: chowchow Sep 23, 2006 05:59 PM

              Outside of the student-dominated places near campus, Berkeley tends to have an older crowd. Oakland places such as Pizzaiolo, Luka's, Dopo, and Lanesplitter all draw a younger and livelier crowd.

            2. r
              rdabke RE: chowchow Sep 22, 2006 08:18 PM

              Bay Street in Emeryville has tons of movies, shops , restaurants & eye-sights! Especially good are skewers at Asqew Grill & the french friend onion rings ar Buck horn grill.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rdabke
                Robert Lauriston RE: rdabke Sep 22, 2006 08:37 PM

                Eeeew. Bay Street is nothing but chains. It's like a little island of Walnut Creek. Except in Walnut Creek the parking would be free.

                Speaking of Emeryville, Bucci's is a friendly place with a nice bar.


                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  family dog RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 24, 2006 02:00 AM

                  There are likely more "chains" within the Berkeley city limits than there are in all of Walnut Creek -- count 'em. The problem with Walnut Creek is the fact that there really isn't enough resident ethnic diversity to support a wide range of authentic, home-style cuisines. That's left to its less-affluent neighbors like Pleasant Hill, Concord, and Martinez. Nonetheless, my impression is that there are very few restaurants in Walnut Creek that can even begin to approach the pretentiousness of all too many Berkeley "fine dining" establishments. Forget "Meyer" lemons -- ever tried a "Lisbon"? Pick somewhere else to pick on.

              2. l
                lmnopm RE: chowchow Sep 23, 2006 03:39 AM

                For a decent lunch by yourself, I recommend Meal Ticket on San Pablo just above Gilman - most plates under $10 and good portions, very tasty. Haven't had a "miss" there yet.

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