Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Mar 6, 2012 03:18 AM

Good beer selection in Oakland and Berkeley [split from "Adagia >Free House (Berkeley)"]

[Note: This discussion was split from the following thread: -- 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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      Bar César
      1515 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

      5 Replies
      1. re: rccola

        I love Cesar but it's a tapas bar, good for wine and spirits but not much of a beer selection. Hotsy Totsy used to be a funky dive bar, now it's a hipster bar.

        1. 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
          (Fulton, CA)

          • Boddington (England)

          • Bass Ale (England)

          • Blackthorn Cider (England)

          • Franziskaner Hefeweizen (Germany)

          • Murphy's Stout (Ireland)

          • Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic)

          • Guinness (Ireland)

          1. re: rccola

            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.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              To young for you? Sorry. Some of the old guys were dying off.

              1. re: rccola

                Converting a funky dive bar into a hipster bar is an improvement in my book, but the request was for interesting US beers.

      2. Phil, you might want to tour the local breweries for a rolling taste test? Like Bison Brewery for chocolate beer and Trumer Pils? Both located near 4th street in Berkeley.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rccola

          Bison doesn't do tours. Trumer does, but they make only one beer. It's sort of the least local of local breweries since they import everything but the water from Austria.

        2. PhilD-

          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
          Deschutes HopHenge

          That's more westcoast-centric than you'll find at the Trappist and, often, Beer Rev as well.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Pius Avocado III

            Thank you all so much some really great suggestions. Looks like my late afternoon Mexican crawl In Oakland on Sunday will now involve much beer as well. Are the bars in the same area as the Mexican places and assume BART gets close?

            1. re: PhilD

              Phil, assuming your Mexican crawl will take place in Fruitvale, the Trappist, Pacific Coast, and Beer Revolution are all 2 BART stops away in downtown Oakland- happily, between the Fruitvale and your ultimate destination in Berkeley.


              1. re: PhilD

                Tamarindo is in the same block with Trappist and sometimes a guy comes through Beer Revolution selling pretty good tamales.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Thanks guys - this seems to be a match made in heaven.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    There are a couple of other Mexican places near Trappist, Cosecha (kind of upscale / organic / sustainable / artisanal) and Mexicali Rose (old-school Mexican-American with booths).


                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      La Borinquena is on the same block as Mexicali Rose for pork tamales traditionally made with lard and old-school Mexican-American as well.


                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Tamarindo and Cosecha are closed on Sundays.

              2. Barclay's on College Ave in Oakland has lots of local beer taps and is much closer to CP than Trappist and Beer Revolution.



                1 Reply
                1. re: Mission

                  Barclay's is good but to me the selection's not as interesting as Beer Revolution or Trappist.

                  PhilD was talking about starting in Fruitvale so downtown Oakland's not out of the way.