Good beer selection in Oakland and Berkeley [split from "Adagia >Free House (Berkeley)"]
[Note: This discussion was split from the following thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833305 -- The Chowhound Team]
We are heading for Chez Panisse on a Monday and I wanted to try some Berkley bars for a few pre dinner drinks. Is this one to try or are there other good options. I like the sound of the beer choices here as I want to try interesting US brews.
I second Robert's recommendation for Oakland, adding Pacific Coast Brewing. This afternoon, one could have had the following exemplars of the west coast beer scene:
Firestone-Walker: Union Jack, Double Jack
Stone: Black Imperial IPA
Sierra Nevada: Barleywine,Celebration
Green Flash Tripel
That's more westcoast-centric than you'll find at the Trappist and, often, Beer Rev as well.
If you're going to Chez Panisse, how about Cesar for a drink but not the over-priced food? If you want a real great bar experience, go to the Hotsy Totsy Club at 601 San Pablo in Albany. My daughter and her friends recommend it highly. I'd say go after dinner as you won't want to leave. Hangout for interesting locals.
1515 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
re: Robert Lauriston
My daughter will hate forever the "now it's a hipster bar." Maybe it's just a funky dive bar now home to a lot of younger, better-looking locals who get along well with the older non-hipster non-poseur regulars?
OK, then, the Albatross. 1822 San Pablo in Berkeley.
They have a whopping thirteen on tap, including:
• Anchor Steam
• Anderson Valley Boont Amber
• Lost Coast Downtown Brown
• Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
• Harp (Ireland)
• Moonlight Brewing Bombay by Boat IPA
• Boddington (England)
• Bass Ale (England)
• Blackthorn Cider (England)
• Franziskaner Hefeweizen (Germany)
• Murphy's Stout (Ireland)
• Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic)
• Guinness (Ireland)
Among other things, the Hotsy Totsy's new owners added cleverly named cocktails featuring St. Germain and Mezcal, a Web site, free wi-fi, "transgressive cinema," industry appreciation nights, and cocktail workshops.
The Albatross is a great pub but as your list makes clear not a great place for a visitor who's seeking out the best local brews.
The bar scene in Berkeley is limited. Lanesplitter has the best selection of domestic beer on tap. Bobby G's has a decent selection. There are two brewpubs, Jupiter and Triple Rock, mostly serve their own stuff which is fine but not generally the best the state has to offer.
The two best beer bars are near each other in Oakland, Beer Revolution and the Trappist, definitely worth a detour.