Since landing in San Francisco, the majority of my time has been spent in my own neighborhood. Understandably, this is where I work and live. North Beach and Chinatown have been kind to me in their beauty, cultural crossroads, shops markets, bars, walkability. This by no means holds me back from venturing outside across the Bay.
I can’t do it all, see it all, but I spend my time wisely where I have it. Naturally, nonetheless, every week I explore beyond these blocks. Recently it’s been a couple trips over the East Bay Bridge to Oakland and Berkeley.
BRAIN LIKE BERKELEY
Through the eyes of a man who has only visited twice, Berkeley is a land of beautiful bookshops and a beautiful college campus.
Main campus buildings showcase a blend of architectural styles. The Doe Memorial Library, looming in classical Greek-inspired design, a prominent structure and houses a vast collection of books and resources. Nearby, the Campanile (Sather Tower) stands tall as an iconic landmark, offering panoramic views of the campus and the Bay Area via observation deck.
The campus is home to several museums, including the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, showcasing an insane collection of art and films. I write these words down and write down in my personal notes to hit these next.
My first visit to Berkeley was for a YEAH YEAH YEAHS show @ Greek Theatre, literal steps off campus. An incredible show and an incredible venue. A stunning open-air theatre, Greek Theatre is exactly what it sounds like. Collums, tiered stone stadium seating, hills above with grass, and with bars and snacks surrounding behind. Everyone with a ticket has a uniquely fantastic view of the show.
On my walk through after a show at the Greek Theatre, I crossed by a forest on the edge of campus. At night, it was ominous and inviting. The forest surrounding UC B not only serves as a natural sanctuary for students and faculty but also provides valuable research opportunities. The university’s Environmental Science, Policy, and Management department and other related programs often conduct studies and conservation efforts within these forested areas.
TELEGRAPH AVE. (OAKLAND by Lloyd)
I’ve only visited once, and took a long walk up Telegraph Ave. to an informal party an Oakland-run blog site was throwing (s/0 BLACKBIRD SPYPLANE, huge fan) in Temescal area. I chatted it up with some locals and told them it was my first time in Oakland to their complete shock. A few friends put me on to some cool spots in the area, and I relay them here.
That night in Oakland I was put on to some very cool and inviting bars and clubs down south Telegraph Avenue towards 14th street. I didn’t have the time to dip into all of them, but I’ll list them all so you can 😉
CryBaby – A popular local bar and venue with frequent shows of all variety, with a huge disco ball and dance floor.
Bar Shiru (above) – Just a total fucking vibe. A joint dedicated to sound, with three turntables and a mural of records that covers the entirety of the largest wall walking in. Not exactly cheap, but for what it is it’s worth a visit alone for the ambience. It admittedly took me awhile to actually find this place because its at the bottom of a commercial building and has next to no sign advertising the place except for its name laminated on a glass door. Definitely intentional.)
(Sidenote: there was a DIVE dive next-door that I totally forgot the name of, and seemingly cannot be found on Google Maps, that looked cool as hell. Low, neon lights, and a buzzy crowd. Pretty sure I remember a giant clown outside of it and a giant arrow pointing to its entrance? Check it out and let me know.)
Thee Stork Club – “Dive bar and music venue located in the Koreatown Northgate (KONO) district of downtown Oakland. A storied watering hole with a nearly 100 year history.” Also won bar of the year in 2022!!! Check it out.