To Truly Experience the Northern California Ethos, Visit Berkeley

How to feel like a local in this leafy, global, slow food-pioneering college town

Where to Shop

Comic book fans go crazy over Fantastic Comics. In true Berkeley form, it caters to a diverse audience, carrying not only the big-name, Marvel-esque new releases, but also an assortment of graphic novels, collected editions and local comic books. It even has a Ladies Comic Book Club, defying any dated stereotypes that comics are a man’s game. 

Body Time offers an interesting history lesson alongside its skincare products. Opened in 1970, this was the original Body Shop before the owners sold the name to the London skin care company in 1992. Under its new name, Body Time still emphasizes the use of natural ingredients and even encourages customers to customize their own scents.

Located further north in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood, A Priori has the eco-conscious shopper’s needs in mind. Locally sourced knickknacks—vases, wooden bowls and handcrafted jewelry—are just the beginning. The store’s name in Latin literally means “from what came before,” a nod to its commitment to the 3 R’s mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Enjoy tasty dishes at Gather in Berkeley.
Gather, a restaurant that can bring together the Paleo eater and the vegan. (©Lara Hata)

Where to Eat

Get a taste of New Orleans at Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen. This neighborhood staple serves up savory fried chicken, jambalaya, gumbo and shrimp creole. But the restaurant’s spring crawfish boils are when it truly brings out a “let the good times roll” spirit reminiscent of the Big Easy.

The people behind  Gather are committed to bringing organic, sustainably sourced ingredients to the table. With that comes flavorful dishes that appeal to the meat-eater, vegan and every dietary restriction in between. Start off with a small plate of pork cheeks topped with a fried farm egg or a bowl of lentil soup made from mushroom broth. 

East Bay Spice Company combines a trendy atmosphere with traditional Indian fare. Just take a look at the cocktail menu. Indian spices such as garam masala and tamarind add a unique kick to the restaurant’s most popular specialty drinks. 

Grab a seat at the stylish bar at East Bay Spice Company.
Grab a seat at the East Bay Spice Company's bar and order a cocktail with an Indian kick. (©Aaron Kitchin)

Where to Drink

Jupiter checks all the boxes when it comes to a college-town hotspot: pizza, beer and live music. The brewhouse serves up to 12 of its own beers alongside 30 guest taps from local breweries. Head out to the heated beer garden, where locals can enjoy a pint any time of year.

Tupper & Reed takes a page from its circa-1925 predecessor’s book by serving up classic cocktails in the comforts of the historic brick building, which for more than 80 years housed a music store owned by John Tupper and Lawrence Reed. The bar’s extensive cocktail list includes harder-to-find spirits such as absinthe, a perfect ingredient for mixologists to light on fire and entertain patrons right at the bar. 

Revival Bar & Kitchen, also known for using sustainably sourced ingredients, makes this especially apparent on its bar menu, which emphasizes smaller craft distillers and organic wineries. Take a seat at the expansive bar during happy hour and enjoy a drink alongside an order of St. Louis ribs or blistered padron peppers from the Bar Bites menu. 

Enjoy a local beer from Jupiter.
Jupiter serves up to 12 of its own beers alongside 30 guest taps from local breweries. (©Lance Yamamoto)