Exploring In Albany, California

Exploring In Albany, California
Albany exudes a certain sixties flair that’s impossible to resist. Neon signage and flat-faced houses pressed up on Albany Hill Park are good indicators of the unique character of the city. Take a trip to the East Bay and check out these charming locales.

Solano Cellars

Solano Cellars offers wine and cheese tastings as well as winemaking classes and a vast wine selection. The shop specializes in unique wines, both local and worldly, and prides itself on supporting emerging wineries as well as classic ones. The staff are knowledgeable and the atmosphere casual.

Address and telephone number: Solano Cellars, 1580 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707, +1 510-525-9463


Solano Cellars © Lauren Harsma/Flickr

Club Mallard

If you’re more the beer-and-billiards type, Club Mallard is for you. Lodge-like and cozy, Mallard eschews the bumping-bassed, sticky-floored nature of the dance club and instead takes its moniker from a more upstanding sort of establishment, which sets the tone at relaxed and dignified.

Address and telephone number: Club Mallard, 752 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706, +1 510-524-8450


Club Mallard © Lauren Harsma/Flickr

Bone Room

Dimly-lit and filled with fossils, you may feel that you’ve stepped into the world of Indiana Jones on entering Bone Room. The walls are hung with shadowboxed moths and butterflies, pinned in mid-flight; taxidermy creatures stand guard over jars of pale animal bones; fully-constructed skeletons goad you on towards books and build-your-own kits. Founded by herpetologist and natural history buff Ron Cauble, the Bone Room has been a haven for natural history nerds for nearly two decades.

Address and telephone number: The Bone Room, 1573 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94707, +1 510-526-5252


Bone Room 1 © Lauren Harsma/Flickr


Bone Room 2 © Lauren Harsma/Flickr

The Junket

Whether you’re craving a pot of PG Tips or a bottle of Berliner Weisse, The Junket in El Cerrito Plaza is your spot. Selling groceries from the UK and Germany, it is also a cafe and a deli and a grocery. For Europhiles and adventurers, it’s a great place to get hard-to-find treats or to try something new and daring.

Address and telephone number: The Junket, 235 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito, CA 94530, +1 510-524-4622


The Junket © Lauren Harsma/Flickr

Flowerland Nursery

Retro-diner-style signage directs you into Flowerland’s bursting-bright nursery, where you’ll find yourself wandering through a veritable jungle of flowers, succulents, seeds, and gifts. The place is a miniaturized botanical garden.

Address and telephone number: Flowerland Nursery, 1330 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706, +1 510-526-3550


Flowerland © Lauren Harsma/Flickr

Schmidt’s Pub

Pub, American, Pub Grub, Coffee, Beer, Wine
Schmidt’s Pub 2
Schmidt’s Pub 2 | © Lauren Harsma/Flickr
The sign outside proclaims, simply, “PUB,” but Schmidt’s Tobacco & Trading Company offers much more than pints and pitchers. The front patio is your uncle’s back porch, scattered with plastic lawn chairs and Christmas lights and a pair of picnic tables. The interior is reminiscent of a village pub in Yorkshire – a fireplace, battered board games, gents reading newspapers. Over a glass case displaying dozens of pipes, you’ll be handed your Guinness or Old Speckled Hen. On your way to your seat, take a look at the impressive display of tobacco on offer.
Schmidt’s Pub 1 © Lauren Harsma/Flickr
Schmidt’s Pub 2 © Lauren Harsma/Flickr
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Albany Bowl

Reminisce about birthday parties past by slipping on a pair of ever-stylish shoes and bowling a game or two at Albany Bowl. With daily deals on lanes and shoe rentals, scads of arcade games and air hockey tables, this bowling alley will strike all of your childhood checkboxes.

Address and telephone number: Albany Bowl, 540 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706, +1 510-526-8818


Albnay Bowl © Lauren Harsma/Flickr

Albany Aquarium

An aquarium supply store that could double as a miniature museum, Albany Aquarium on San Pablo is a wonder. With a wall of glowing tanks filled with all manner of anemone, crustaceans and cephalopods, you’ll feel emerged in an underwater grotto from the start. In addition to a vast variety of water creatures, the shop offers a lush assembly of plants with which to furnish your favorite fish tank.

Address and telephone number: Albany Aquarium, 818 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706, +1 510-525-1166


Albany Aquarium © Lauren Harsma/Flickr