BERKELEY’s BEST ●Attractions
TELEGRAPH AVENUE Runs 4 blks. betw. Bancroft Way & Dwight Way, just south of campus. Fondly referred to as “the Ave” or “Tele” by locals, this famous, or perhaps infamous, avenue is probably best known for its role as a gathering spot and point of confrontation during the 1960s Free Speech Movement. It has now slipped into a more peaceful state, but still appears stalled in the ‘60s. On weekdays rushing students crowd the sidewalks, and on weekends shoppers crowd its many small shops and restaurants. A stroll here passes a street bazaar of crafts stalls selling souvenirs such as colorful tie-dyed t-shirts and peace symbol jewelry. Thoroughly modern chain stores are also well represented. An informative and free “Telegraph Avenue Walking Tour” app is available.
Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair December. Free. This is the place to purchase groovy tie-dyed clothing, handmade crafts, and ‘most everything counter-culture.
2300-2349 BLOCK of Telegraph Avenue, going south, beginning at Bancroft Way, ending at Durant Avenue:
Musical Offering Cafe-Bistro 2430 Bancroft Way/Telegraph Ave. This casual coffeehouse/cafe has a sophisticated atmosphere with classical music playing in the background and original art on the walls (art is for sale). The Town Quartet--the resident string quartet--often performs live on Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. in a splendid setting right by the entrance windows. A small brunch menu includes a baguette with melted brie and honey, while lunch brings on sandwiches like a BLT with avocado on multigrain bread; hot chicken on focaccia with melted Provolone, tomato, and garlic aioli; and melted Brie on an Acme baguette topped with arugula & honey. Drinks include a strawberry agua fresca, herbal iced tea, lattes and more. Their classical music CD shop operates in the back, with the aim to “have the best selection of Early Music on the planet.”
Next door, University Press Books sells new and used scholarly books. It also has a nice children’s section.
Sheng Kee Bakery 2307 Telegraph Ave. Take-out pastries, both sweet and savory.
Abe's Pizza 2340 Telegraph Ave. Though this is no longer Blondie’s Pizza, Abe’s promises the “same pizza, same staff, new name.” People stand in line here for the quick, cheap pizza sold by the generous slice. The crust is good--not too thin, not too thick. Many people walk away with their pizza, but I like to sit by the huge open window that provides both fresh air and a front seat view of Telegraph Avenue. In addition to my favorite pepperoni topping, you can get white pizza with pesto sauce and lots of veggies on top, chipotle pizza with sausage instead of chorizo, and plenty more. New on the menu with Abe’s is crepes, garlic fries, and chicken wings.
2350-2399 BLOCK of Telegraph Avenue, going south, beginning at Durant Avenue, ending at Channing Way:
Games of Berkeley 2510 Durant/Telegraph Ave. Filled with games of all kinds, this humongous space has a particularly large selection of jigsaw puzzles. You’ll also find magic tricks, card games, miniatures, chess sets, and plenty of items for children, including books. And then there are random items such as yo-yos and monster finger puppets. It provides a great browse. I plan to bring my grandkids and children in here next time they visit and have them pick out what they want for Christmas.
Revolution Books 2444 Durant Ave./Telegraph Ave. According to this shop’s website, people come here “from all over the world to find the books and the deep engagement with each other about why the world is the way it is and the possibility of a radically different way the world could be.” And indeed, a large selection of radical political reading matter is stocked in this Very Berkeley shop.
Top Dog #1: 2534 Durant Ave./Telegraph Ave. All kinds of hot dogs.
Super Duper Burgers 2355 Telegraph Ave. This large corner space has a big open dining room with large windows and an assortment of seating options. As with its other locations, this Super Duper serve burgers made from humanely raised beef, veggie burgers, and chicken sandwiches, as well as french fries, salads, and both organic shakes and soft serve made with Straus ice cream. Along with soda, lemonade and iced tea, there’s beer and wine on tap. See if you can find this time capsule plaque on the floor.
Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar 2367 Telegraph Ave. Sports bar.
Daiso Japan 2369 Telegraph Ave. You’ll find everything from false eyelashes to toilet seat warmers at this Japanese-style dollar store (everything costs $1.50). More information.
Cupcakin’ Bake Shop 2391 Telegraph Ave./Channing. This artisan bakery specializes in cupcakes and cakes, and the sweet mini cupcakes are particularly popular. Cakes are made from scratch with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and are exceptionally moist.
CREAM 2399 Telegraph Ave. Pick your cookies and ice cream flavors to make a sandwich.
Berkeley Thai House 2511 Channing Way/Telegraph Ave.
2400-2449 BLOCK of Telegraph Avenue, going south, beginning at Channing Way, ending at Haste Street:
1951 Coffee 2410 Channing Way/Dana St., 1 blk. from Telegraph Ave. Coffeehouse.
Annapurna 2416 Telegraph Ave. This psychedelic “head shop” is left over from the turbulent 1960s. Now it carries a hefty selection of vaporizers and other smoking merchandise.
Mezzo 2442 Telegraph Ave. It’s back! Bargain salads and sandwiches.
2450-2499 BLOCK of Telegraph Avenue, going south, beginning at Haste Street, ending at Dwight Way:
People's Park 2556 Haste St./Telegraph Ave.; bounded by Telegraph Ave., Haste St., Hillegass Ave., & Dwight Way. This 2.8-acre plot was the rallying place for some of the anti-war and free speech protests in the turbulent '60s and '70s. And though it features a large lawn, community gardens, a basketball court, and a play area for children, you should not plan to use any of these facilities until you’ve had a careful look. More information.
Amoeba Music 2455 Telegraph Ave. Originally a Lucky grocery store, this spot became the famous Forum coffeehouse and then the One World Family Commune before it evolved into the first Amoeba record store. More information.
“The People’s History of Telegraph Avenue” mural On the side of the Amoeba store. Depicts People’s Park, Mario Savio giving a speech, the killing of James Rector, a Black Panthers scene, and more.
Sliver Pizzeria 2468 Telegraph Ave. L-D daily. All- vegetarian pizza.
Moe’s Books 2476 Telegraph Ave. Measuring 4 stories high and with more than 200,000 titles, this is said to be the biggest used bookstore west of the Hudson. New books are shelved together with used books, and it has a must-browse rare books room. Original owner Moe Moskowitz is gone now, but his daughter Doris continues the tradition and thinks it is “the best bookstore in the world.”
Romeo’s Coffee 2499 Telegraph Ave., (415) 740-2317. The former Shakespeare & Co. bookstore space has been transformed into a sleek contemporary coffeehouse. Coffee here is sourced from Verve and Temple coffee roasters and is given a caffeine rating on a scale from 00 to 03, ranging from decaffeinated roasts to highly caffeinated varieties--think “Straight to Heaven,” “Love Potion Number 9,” “Cupid’s Arrow.” One section handles pour-over coffee, and another espresso drinks.