I never thought I’d say that. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a city snob. My friends all know that I don’t like to travel across the bridge. Specifically, the Bay Bridge. And when we talk about getting together for drinks, it’s pretty much understood we mean drinks in San Francisco—despite the fact most of them live in the East Bay and work from home. So imagine the shock to my system when I started dating a guy from Berkeley. Needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately. A year and a half later, I’m still struggling to embrace life away from the city—even on a part-time basis, but I do have a few go-to favorites now. And I’m even open to meeting for drinks there, now and then. Here are two places I feel most at home.
I’ve been to Comal a few times, and I love the vibe out on the back patio. It makes me feel like I’m in The Mission: it’s lively and trendy, with an endless supply of chips and salsa on hand. And with the big fire pit and heat lamps out back, it’s really comfortable to just hang outside among the bamboo covered walls with a margarita. Or three.
On the other hand, if it’s not an appropriate hour for a cocktail, I like to walk down to Local 123 for a coffee. Technically it’s in Albany, but it’s right at the Berkeley border—and feels like something I’d find in the city: a little funky, a little trendy. Local 123 sits on the lot of Flowerland Nursery and serves coffee from an old Airstream trailer, among all the pretty flowers for sale (there’s also a great gift shop inside). You can pull up a brightly colored garden chair and plant yourself down (pun intended) for a cappuccino, but I tend to wander around the garden taking pictures.