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Tasty non-alcoholic East Bay drinks?

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There's a thread on this from 2006, but almost all of those places are closed. I'm wondering about any tasty non-alcoholic drink ideas in the East Bay, doesn't have to be a mocktail, could be a juice or a shake or smoothie or whatever.

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  1. I like the coffee at Local 123. It has no alcohol in it.

    Plum has some interesting "essence" drinks that I haven't tried, but sound really good.

    Old school, I like the smoothies at the SeaBreeze. I don't think there's anything special about them, but I like the roadside atmosphere.

    I am a fan of the salty lassi, but don't remember my east bay favorites.

    I also like Salty Plum Soda, available at Vietnamese places, and remember having a good one at Ao Sen. There are probably better ones (statistically).

    Val's milkshakes have been mentioned. Barney's has decent shakes too. I don't think there's been an east-bay shake thread yet.

    Is this the kind of thing you are looking for? liquid-style food without alcohol is a broad topic. Or are you asking about bars with non-alcoholic options?

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    Local 123
    2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbulkow

      Tried the essence drink at Plum and thought it was disgusting. Way too overpowering perfume quality that lingered long after each sip.

    2. The housemade celery soda at Saul's Deli isn't to everyone's taste, but it's pretty special. I like it.

      The slushy mint lemonade at Holy Land Restaurant is great.

      Anywhere that sells the Navarro Gewurtztraminer grape juice. I believe Champa Garden does?

      For Mexican aguas fresca and licuados - the El Ojo de Agua taco truck.

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      Champa Garden
      2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

      Saul's Deli
      1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

      14 Replies
      1. re: abstractpoet

        Oh yeah, i love the Navarro grape juice. I've ordered it online by the case. I haven't had the mint lemonade at Holy Land, I'll try that.

        1. re: abstractpoet

          Is that mint lemonade like the one at Zaki? Different/better/worse?

          1. re: kc72

            Both are good, but I think the one at Holy Land is slushier, if I recall correctly - I don't know if Zaki's is blended with ice. At Zaki Kabob, I like to order the almond milk.

          2. re: abstractpoet

            Love the lemonade at Holy Land. It's the best.

            1. re: escargot3

              Another great lemonade slushy is Bakesale Betty's lemon ice. The recipe was in the Chron, also.

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              Bakesale Betty
              5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            2. re: abstractpoet

              Navarro doesn't sell their grape juice to retailers.

              What is that stuff in Holy Land's lemonade, anyway? Chia seeds? Basil seeds?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                They used to sell the grape juice in some stores, but I don't think they do anymore. Now you have to order it online.

                1. re: unionpig

                  I've bought the grape juice at Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station, but that is a bit of a drive.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I could have sworn the juice was on the menu at Champa Garden as a by-the-glass option, but maybe that was a couple years ago.

                  I don't know about the seeds in the Holy Land lemonade, but there's definitely a good amount of mint.

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                  Champa Garden
                  2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    Champa Garden might have Navarro juice, they serve Navarro wines. Restaurants can get the juice, so long as they order some wine with it.

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                    Champa Garden
                    2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

                3. re: abstractpoet

                  I wouldn't call Holy Land's lemonade slushy.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Icy, then? It's not a thick lemon ice, like Betty's, but there definitely is ice blended into it.

                    1. re: abstractpoet

                      I think it's just poured over crushed ice.

                  2. re: abstractpoet

                    Navarro Pinot Noir and Navarro Gewurztraminer are available at Bocanova and at Burma Superstar on Telegraph.

                  3. I like the boba smoothies at The Sweet Booth in Oakland Chinatown, in particular the taro root and also the coconut and mango.

                    Boot and Shoe Service has a pretty good tonic made in-house.

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                    Boot and Shoe Service
                    3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

                    The Sweet Booth
                    388 9th St #155, Oakland, CA 94607

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Mr_Happy

                      Definitely want to try the boba smoothies--thanks.

                      1. re: Mr_Happy

                        Does The Sweet Booth use real fruit? Because a lot of these places use flavorings. I like the boba place in the 900 block of Webster because they use real fruit for a lot of their drinks.

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                        Sweet Booth
                        388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Sweet Booth uses real fruit, real taro, etc. It's the best I've found in the East Bay, though I don't know if I've tried the place on Webster you're referring to.

                          I watched the owner make my taro boba drink the other day, and I noticed that he blended the taro (and plenty of it) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of all things! But it was good. The main thing is that their boba and pearls are soft and fresh-tasting, not hard like a lot of places.

                          -----
                          Sweet Booth
                          388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            The place on the outside of the Pacific Renaissance Plaza?

                            1. re: kc72

                              Yes. I can't seem to find the name of it.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                When was the last time you were there? A Google street view shows Ming Yuen Island Cafe and a crosscheck on another site shows it's closed.

                                1. re: kc72

                                  I thought I saw the sign for it last time I was in Chinatown a couple of weeks ago.

                        2. Just had the Ginger Beer at Gather last week and it is definitely the best Ginger Beer I've ever had anywhere. Not for the ginger novice though. It's quite ginger spicy though very refreshing. It's made in-house.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nicedragonboy

                            I've enjoyed that Gather ginger beer, too. On the more hot/less sweet side. IIRC, they have a house-made citrus soda, as well.

                          2. Cesar Latino on Piedmont Ave has several non-alchoholic drink options on their menu, including a house-made lemon mint soda. http://www.barcesar.com/latino/wine-s...

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                            Bar César
                            4039 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                            1. I really enjoy the housemade tonic/bitters at Pizzaiolo. A great non-alcoholic option.

                              -----
                              Pizzaiolo
                              5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Scott M

                                +1 on that Pizzaiolo tonic!

                                -----
                                Pizzaiolo
                                5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                              2. I don't know if I would use the word "tasty," but I thought this would be a good place to mention that I just found out that Crixa Cakes has started selling something called the "Crixa Cola," which the owner described as being similar to a Mexican Coke, made with real cane sugar, both the syrup and the carbonation done in-house. $1.80 for a small 8oz glass - not sure how much the large costs.

                                The neat thing is that you can watch them making it to order, with whatever that gadget is called that creates the carbonation. Anyway, truth be told, while I would have liked to report that the drink was amazing, the best thing I can say about it is that it was "interesting": barely sweet at all, with some citrus notes and a faint licorice-y aftertaste. It was OK but tasted nothing like Coke at all, Mexican or otherwise, bringing to mind that episode of "This American Life" where they tried to recreate Coke's "secret formula" based on a recipe they'd found in some newspaper clipping from the 1970s (with mixed results).

                                That said, I hadn't realized that Crixa has been making its own sodas for a while now - it's just the Cola that's new. Has anyone tried their ginger ale or their fruit-based sodas?

                                -----
                                Crixa Cakes
                                2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                  Does it look anything like this?
                                  http://www.roadfood.com/photos/4036.jpg

                                  1. re: wolfe

                                    Ha. No, but that would have been cool. More of just a big canister of sorts.

                                2. Luka's Taproom has a very nice, fairly savory Cucumber-Thyme Spritzer. It's one of their signature cocktails minus the vodka, and is cucumber juice, thyme syrup, lime, and soda water. It's pretty heavy on the thyme, which would probably be too much for some, but I felt the drink really piqued the appetite and also actually worked pretty well with oysters.

                                  ETA, the cocktail is Spring Fling, and adds Hangar Once cucumber vodka. And around $7.

                                  -----
                                  Luka's Taproom
                                  2221 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    Bocanova has some inventive options as well.

                                    -----
                                    Bocanova
                                    55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607

                                    1. re: jade408

                                      Hey, I was just at Bocanova and I liked it a lot. But the only drink I saw was a raspberry-lemonade thing. What did I miss?

                                      -----
                                      Bocanova
                                      55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607

                                  2. Addis Ethiopian Restaurant has a great toasted flax seed drink.
                                    Chop Bar's Aqua Fresca's are always good - interesting combinations.
                                    Taylor's Tonics are a bottled soda that I tried at Eat Real and liked a lot.