Since Berkeley is a vibrant college town, it is no surprise that bars set their standards high to attract the thousands of students to their premises. Although there are numerous bars in Berkeley, only a few can proudly be named student favorites. Check out The Culture Trip’s picks for the 10 best bars in Berkeley.
A lively sports bar with several TVs and a large projection screen, plus burgers, BBQ food, and sandwiches, Pappy’s is often filled with college students. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night the restaurant transforms into Berkeley’s premier center for nightlife, with multiple house DJs, bottle service, a VIP room, two floors of fully-stocked bars, and exclusive drink specials.
With its extensive list of draft beer and pub grub, and the fact that it is situated in a funky spot with rustic wood tables and a patio, Moxy definitely contributes to Berkeley’s big beer renaissance. Housed in the former Casa Vino space, the bar features 14 drafts with an emphasis on local producers like Almanac, Anderson Valley, Drake’s, and Thirsty Bear, all available in 16 or 20 ounce pours.
Known for combining modern design and Mexican cuisine along with serving cocktails in a vibrant outdoor area, Comal is a unique bar. The back page of its cocktail menu lists its selection of mescal and Tequila; there are 78, served in one-ounce pours. The ten draft beers include Sudwerk Hefeweizen, Eel River Organic Amber, and Green Flash Double Stout. In addition, there are seven Mexican beers by the bottle and one nonalcoholic selection.
A two-story venue and beer garden that serves wood-fired pizzas plus handcrafted beers and ales, Jupiter creates serious buzz in Berkeley. It pours 12 house brews, as well as 20 other regional craft beers. Its antique church lights illuminate the atmosphere, the bar itself is topped with copper, and the beer taps glow from the front of a huge old-style wooden ice box. If you’re looking for an eye-opening bar experience with family or friends, why not stop by this popular beerhouse?
A full bar with entertainment in a funky space, Sliver is another huge college student favorite. The restaurant offers a full bar with fanciful cocktails and locally brewed beer on tap that fits well into a college student’s budget. Workers use fresh, local juices and house crafted syrups and serve handpicked, rotating draft beers that pair perfectly with a slice of fresh, hot pizza. If you want to stay up to date with the latest cocktail creations, follow Sliver on Twitter and Instagram. Or even better, swing by for a visit.
A buzzy joint with courtyard seating and pool tables serving creative American cuisine and craft beers, Freehouse has a mission to satisfy college students to the best of its ability. Owner Daryl Ross has stated that he would like Freehouse to be a food and drink place where graduate students can hang out and drink and where undergraduates can have good food and nonalcoholic drinks. Looks like Freehouse is achieving its goal.
A popular college student hangout offering drinks and casual grub with a happy hour, karaoke nights, and DJs, Kip’s lives up to the prestige of being named one of the best bars in the East Bay. Head upstairs from 4-7pm every day to take advantage of the happy hour; there are 26 beers on tap. To top it all off, late night entertainment starts at 10pm with Tuesday Trivia Night, Wednesday & Sunday Karaoke, plus DJ Vibes every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
With its cocktail bar and lounge with craft drinks, seating options, and vintage-chic décor, Tupper & Reed is another recently opened bar in Berkeley which aims to make its mark and serve the public well. Drinks feature fresh-squeezed juices, and homemade tinctures and bitters and are loosely categorized into classics, twists on classics, and modern interpretations. There are also 60 drinks on the menu in the reservation-only upstairs bar, and the downstairs bar features a more limited selection of about a dozen.
Triple Rock is one bar where both students and professors go for beers brewed on-site and excellent bar food. Due to its close proximity to UC Berkeley, you may notice a college student influence, particularly on high octane ‘Monkeyhead’ Thursdays. Triple Rock lays claim to being one of America’s first brewpubs; this place is full of history. Also, it usually has about ten of its own award-winning beers on tap, casual pub food, and, of course, the classic pastime: shuffleboard.
If you want to enjoy yourself at a bar which offers beer along with fun and games in an overall chill atmosphere, then Albatross is the bar for you! Berkeley’s oldest pub, it has an outstanding beer selection. The beers have plenty of frothy flavor, and each brew that graces your palate has survived a thorough taste test by the Bird’s owners and bartenders. Grab your group of friends and head on over to Albatross!