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.
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 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.”
San Francisco Soup Company 2512 Bancroft Way/Telegraph Ave.
Sheng Kee Bakery 2307 Telegraph Ave.
Blondie's Pizza 2340 Telegraph Ave. 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.
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.
Kip’s Bar Upstairs at 2439 Durant Ave./Telegraph Ave. CLOSED
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.
Smart Alec’s Intelligent Food 2355 Telegraph Ave. CLOSED
Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar 2367 Telegraph Ave.
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.
CREAM 2399 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley Thai House 2511 Channing Way/Telegraph Ave.
2400-2449 BLOCK of Telegraph Avenue, going south, beginning at Channing Way, ending at Haste Street:
The Melt Berkeley 2400 Telegraph Ave.
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!
2450-2499 BLOCK of Telegraph Avenue, going south, beginning at Haste Street, ending at Dwight Way:
Amoeba Music 2455 Telegraph Ave. More information.
The Med (iterraneum Caffe) 2475 Telegraph Ave. CLOSED.
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. Original owner Moe Moskowitz is gone now, but his daughter Doris continues the tradition and thinks it is “the best bookstore in the world.”
People's Park 2556 Haste St./Telegraph Ave.; bounded by Telegraph Ave., Haste St., Hillegass Ave., & Dwight Way. This 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 good look. More information.
Joshu-ya Brasserie 2441 Dwight Way/Telegraph Ave. CLOSED
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.