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a quiet cafe in Albany for a mtg

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I have a business mtg Thurs at 1:30pm -- and am looking for a place to have coffee with someone who will be coming off the freeway exit: either Gilman or Albany. Can someone recommend a place that has easy parking, and quick service, and we can have a business conversation. Thanks for any recommendations!

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  1. Gilman Grill at Fourth and Gilman.

    1. I use to meet at Spenger's, one exit south, at University off the freeway. Validated fast in and out parking, quiet but it's a meal, not coffee. Spenger's for a business lunch is one of the best tricks I know. In the same area, 4th St is Cafe M...parking can be a hassle. On Solano Ave near San Pablo there's that tea place, very quiet, can't remember the name.

      1. Leila's on San Pablo, south of Gilman. Good coffee, some baked goods. It's a little "Berkeley", so not super business-like in and of itself.

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        Cafe Leila
        1724 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

        1 Reply
        1. re: meemster

          Thanks for the excellent suggestions! I'm so grateful.

        2. Gilman Grill is old school and pretty run down. Spenger's is too far south. 4th St is never trivial to park at.

          I would suggest Pyramid Brewery. Parking is super, super easy, it's right on Gilman and thus easy to find, they're open after lunch, they have a huge parking lot, and they're huge so you can ask for a quiet table. It's kind of generic but slightly upscale. "Sports Bar" might not be what you're trying to project, but it should be fine.

          Then we get to lower solano ave. Cafe St Honore, Royal Grounds, Royal Cafe. All typical cafes.

          Then there's cafes on solano. Jimmy Bean's is probably fine at that hour, a real "cafe", and meal ticket is probably pretty relaxed. Meal Ticket is a little more boho, JB's more mainstream.

          If you want to go even more business, you might have to go to the hotel at the marina - it is just off the freeway, but it's down at University instead of gilman.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow

            Actually the paid parking lot directly across from Spenger Is validated with a meal. I've never seen it even 10% full on a weekday afternoon. Since it's literally minutes off 80 and the University exit and you can bank on the parking lot, it's super easy and fast. I found out quite by accident looking for a spot on a Friday afternoon. Grilled trout or fish tacos -- around $10 bucks and you can actually have a detailed conversation.

            1. re: ML8000

              I didn't disagree with you, only said it was out of the OP's stated range.

              Escargot3, where are/did you end up going?

              1. re: bbulkow

                Unfortunately, it got cancelled last minute... To be rescheduled next week.
                However, thanks to you creative people, I was going to propose either Spenger's (which I haven't set foot into in mucho years, but loved the idea) or Meal Ticket.
                I got a chuckle from the recommendation of Pyramid Brewery -- great idea!
                Thanks everyone! You're terrific.

                1. re: escargot3

                  Does Pyramid even have coffee?

                  Some other places in that general area I've actually had business meetings are T-Rex (upstairs there's a nice little sortof couch-and-coffee-table area), Cafe Fanny (good coffee and a view of the wine store parking lot), Espresso Roma on Hopkins at Monterrey (good coffee, terrible everything else, and a nice place to sit outside on a pleasant day). And somewhat further afield, the Pub on Solano at Santa Fe (at 1:30, the loud drunkards generally haven't gotten out of hand yet, and they do have an espresso machine).