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Berkeley Eats before & after UT/Cal game

I'm traveling from Nashville to SF on Labor Day weekend with 5 friends (all in our early to mid 30's) to attend the UT vs Cal game. The game starts at 5:30 p.m., so we are thinking about coming over to Berkeley early to grab some lunch and drink a bit before the game.

I’m obsessed with food and hate going to sports bars and eating the typical bar food, but I may have to compromise somewhat for the men in our group. They will want some place that is lively and has tvs showing other games. We'll be taking the BART from the City so anything on the walk to campus would work best.

Are there any places that have good/interesting food choices AND football on tv? If not, then just provide me with my best eating options (forget the tvs) within our walking route to/from the BART to the game.
After the game, should we stay in the area and hit some bars too? (keep in mind our age- don't really want to go to college bars....) None of us have ever been to Berkeley, and we have no idea what the atmosphere is like before/after games. Any tips on bars, etc would be great.
Thanks in advance for any insight you have!

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  1. I know nothing about football (isn't it over?) or sports bars, but I'll try to help and maybe others will join in. There aren't many places with TVs in downtown Berkeley, but you might try Looney's BBQ. It's pretty close to the campus and has a big TV (Don't get the crabcakes.)

    1. If you want TV's, your options are somewhat limited to bar food but I would recommend Raleighs on Telegraph. They've got a great back patio and solid hamburgers, etc. Much better than average bar food.

      If you don't need TV's your options are wide open. There are so many great unique restaurants on your walk from BART up to campus, I don't know where to begin. Jupiter is usually great on gamne days. Back patio, tons of great beers, wood oven pizza's, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PulledPork

        Raleigh's also usually has an excellent selection of beers, It's where I first encountered Anchor's Old Foghorn on tap -- at a mere $2.75 per pint at that! I'm sure it's more expensive now. But Raleigh's always had good brews. Also it's right next to the campus, and the food is...acceptable.

      2. Well, I am a Cal season ticket holder, so my views may be influenced by that...first, bear in mind that revenge will be ours! I think you could have fun stopping and eating on the way up the hill to the stadium from BART, but don't know how much fun it would be to hang around afterward. There will be a LOT of people (something you are familiar with from your home games), and Vol fans will be in the distinct minority. Either you will be really happy and we won't want to see you or vice versa! I would head back into the City after the game and eat and drink after the game there. Which BART station are you using in SF? There will be a bunch of places on the SF end of the line and you won't be mobbed by college-age kids! (Go Bears!)

        2 Replies
        1. re: dinnerout

          I will be there as well (GO BEARS!!) and I'll probably eat at Vik's, as I do before every Cal game I attend. (When we had a recent chowdown there and I mentioned to the group that it was a great place for pre-game eats they all looked at me like I was from another planet...what..can't chowhounds be football fans too???). Of course, it has no TVs and serves no booze (and is not within walking distance, either...but you could get close on a bus from the BART station...), but the food is interesting, definitely. Fool that I am, I actually volunteered to take one of my best friends (who is a HUGE Vol fan and is flying in from Tennessee for the game) so at least you won't be the only one in orange. However, you and your friends (and my friend) WILL be a LOT quieter than you were in Knoxville last year...especially after you see what our team is really capable of!

          As for places on the walk up or down from BART, if you detour a bit north on Shattuck there is always Cesar (sp?) a nice place for drinks and snacks before heading home (and not a college hangout....all the bars closer to campus will definitely be mobbed...) or even Chez Panisse cafe if you can snag reservations. I haven't lived in Berkeley for years, so I'm not too much help other than these suggestions, sorry. Remember that the walk TO the stadium from BART is about a mile uphill, so plan accordingly....or take the shuttle.....

          1. re: dinnerout

            I am also a Cal season ticket holder and I agree with dinnerout. Due to the TV-driven scheduling of the game at 5:30, it will be after 9:00 p. m., probably pushing 10:00 p. m., by the time you get back down to the Downtown Berkeley BART station. I'd advise heading back to SF at that time of the evening. Before the game, there are lots of options in Berkeley. One is the Triple Rock Brew Pub on Shattuck at Hearst, a block north of University. Typical brewpub grub, but not bad, good beer, and several TVs. The crowd is varied in age. It's a pretty good hike from there to the Stadium, but you can always get the free bus up the hill from Shattuck and Center, near the BART station.

          2. Before a game it's always a top dog and a brat for me...even if I'm feeling queasy. Doesn't feel right otherwise (okay sometimes I'll have a burrito or a sandwich from Ratto's or Genova).

            As for TVs, decent food and a bar...it's not a combo done well in the Bay Area and sort of a re-occurring topic here. Seems you either get bar and TV or bar and food...but the holy trinity doesn't happen anywhere I know.

            Raleigh's is a good pick...if you're 24 y.o. or under...very much a college hangout. Looney's is inconsistent and if you're from the south the bbq will disappoint for sure. Jupiter's is good but no TVs. The only place with good and plenty of TVs near campus is Kip's...a complete dive (sticky floors and cheap food).

            1 Reply
            1. re: ML8000

              I was going to suggest TopDog as well.....that's often a favorite post game stop for me.

              I used to live next door to Kips.......It was a dive then too. But there was plenty of beer......

            2. Sushi Ko on Berkeley Square has a big TV, but I am not sure whether they play the games or not. It is usually showing a movie when I go there, but I tend to avoid that area when there is some big sporty-ball hoo-ha going on...

              1 Reply
              1. re: uninvitedsaint

                I have mixed feelings about Sushi Ko. They have a great menu for non-cooked things, and their sushi is on the upper end of Berkeley standards.

                However, their service is just plain aweful when it gets crowded. As I imagine it would be - you could be stuck there for hours, missing your precious moments of fandom. Search (almost anywhere) else.