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7 Best Hangouts in Berkeley, CA

You don't have to be a college student to enjoy these places

By Kevin Litwin on August 19, 2015

People hang out at Jupiter Bar in Berkeley, CA
Berkeley / Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski under a CC 4.0 license.


Liberal politics have long been a famous part of life in Berkeley, Calif. You’ll also find that the city has a liberal amount of hangouts and restaurants. Being one of the best college towns, Berkeley’s social scene is dominated by the younger set, but you don’t have to be a 20-something to enjoy these places. Here are seven of the best places to hang out in Berkeley:

Bleecker Bistro

One of Berkeley’s favorite breakfast and brunch places is Bleecker Bistro, a popular spot with University of California, Berkeley students as well as businesspeople. Known for their organic coffees, teas and smoothies, the restaurant also serves comfort menu items like chocolate pancakes, Monte Cristo sandwiches and avocado salads.

Shattuck Cinemas

One block from UC Berkeley is Shattuck Cinemas, which shows many indie and non-Hollywood films. The art deco theater features recliner seats, love seats and beanbag chair seating, and concessions include vegan cookies and Mighty Leaf tea. Adjacent to Shattuck Cinemas is a stylish bar and restaurant called Lot 68 Lounge.


Known to locals as “The Jup,” this popular beerhouse offers 11 handcrafted beers, wood-fired pizzas and live music. Meals are prepared at the end of a downstairs bar in full view of customers, with menu items like baked focaccia-bread sandwiches and Mercury margarita pizzas. Jupiter is known as a great place to relax and chill.

Free Speech Movement Cafe

Apple Inc. tech guru Steve Wozniak is still an occasional visitor to Free Speech Movement Cafe, located at the entrance to Moffitt Library on the UC Berkeley campus. A favorite study spot and open until 2 a.m., FSM Cafe has indoor and terrace seating and menu items like flavored coffees, French pastries and organic sandwiches.

Berkeley Marina

At the westernmost part of the city is Berkeley Marina, an eye-pleasing hangout overlooking San Francisco Bay. The attraction features many restaurants along with several walking and bicycle paths that offer access across Berkeley I-80 Bridge, while the easternmost portion of the marina is part of Eastshore State Park.

Albatross Pub

This oldest pub in Berkeley is popular with UC Berkeley students, providing a laid-back atmosphere, 14 microbrew choices, live music, billiards, darts and trivia nights. Along with Albatross Pub, other top hangouts for the local college crowd include Fat Slice Pizza, Sweetheart Cafe and Top Dog.

University of California Football Games

Join more than 63,000 fans who attend Pacific-12 Conference football games in the fall to root for the University of California Bears at Memorial Stadium. The Berkeley stadium opened in 1923 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has earned a reputation as one of the most scenic venues in college football.

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