Beer v. Wine in Downtown Berkeley

beer wine
Spoiler alert: beer wins

I like to drink. I like beer and wine equally. I like cocktails less. When I’m dating someone, I tend to be easily steered toward their drink of choice should they be opinionated about such things (pretty much all men). P liked IPAs so now I have favorites (Pliny the Elder and West Coast). N was an alcoholic so he preferred beer with a low ABV. Summertime is session time. J likes wine, which is good because one glass of wine per social event is allowed on the Tiffany Diet.

Downtown lost its only wine bar in March. It’s been replaced by another Berkeley beer place. I’m not sure why we need a Half Moon Bay Brewery taproom but they are moving in. Where else can one drink wine in downtown Berkeley? B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar opened recently but J has already commented, “meh” on their wine list. Something about only drinking organic wines. The wine at Revival is good and sure you could hang out at Chez Panisse drinking wine but could you really? Also, the Gourmet Ghetto is not Downtown Berkeley. Beer wins.

I’m writing this story at The Punchdown in downtown Oakland. My $10 glass of Pipeño Pais (Do I sound like I know what a Pais is?) is reasonably priced but I still feel a bit pinched. I could save at least $3 if I was drinking a beer. I like to think of myself as slightly wealthier than a college student so I won’t count on such a schmancy establishment opening near Cal anytime soon.


Beer v. Wine in Downtown Berkeley

Locals Call It “Bo Bo,” I Call It Amazing!

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Coast Cafe, photo courtesy of my friend T

On Saturday night five friends and I went on an adventure to Bolinas. I did my New York Times research and discovered there is one restaurant and one bar there. There is also a 24 vegetable stand/art gallery on the honor system. We went there to see Ensemble Mik Nawooj, a hip hop orchestra show because I included them in my Bold Italic article and the very nice director Christopher Nichols gave us free tickets. Everything was beautiful including the scenery (water, hills, ooh, aah), the food (Mmm), and the band (Mmm Mmm).

Coast Cafe is super cute and the food is great. We drank local beer and local wine and ate raw, grilled, barbecued, and fried oysters. I still get squirmy about oysters due to a bad experience at Tomales Bay so I had fish and chips. This was my “cheat meal” for the week and I nommed up every bit. Service was good too.

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Smoking hot emcees, photo courtesy of my friend A

The show was a Smiley’s Saloon, which has a full music calendar and a hotel in case you’re too tanked to drive on the windiest darkest road ever back home. Mik Nawooj is fucking fantastic live. My friend M said it was the best show she’s seen this year. We loved every bit of it even with the drunk noisy people trying to drown out the quieter parts. All the songs were great but I especially liked Hope Springs Eternal.

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24 hour vegetable stand, photo courtesy of my friend T

On the way home we stopped at the vegetable stand. My friends picked out spicy smelling greens and what not and dropped some cash into a lock box. Then I proceeded to drive approximately 17 MPH around the bends in my friend D’s shiny new Prius. We crept up on a fox we were so slow and quiet.

Go to Bolinas, go go!

Locals Call It “Bo Bo,” I Call It Amazing!

What To Do In Oakland On Saturday Night

Andria’s runner’s butt will be there, so should you!

On March 20th, My friend Andria is going to run a half marathon at the Oakland Running Festival with kids from Oakland ranging in age from 6-18. Every Saturday rain or shine, she joins other Running for a Better Oakland (RBO) volunteers to run her butt off and encourage kids to develop a more healthy lifestyle. It’s a cause she can get behind (butt joke, haha).

We can all get behind a wine and beer party to benefit Oakland kids! According to their website, “By building confidence, setting goals, providing training and encouragement, RBO will give students the values for achievement and hard work that they can draw on for all areas of their lives.” All you have to do to support the mission is to come to Bay Grape on Saturday, March 12th and sample four different wines and two different beers spanning six different continents.

Join Andria and I on Saturday from 5 -9 pm at 376 Grand Ave near Lake Merritt in Oakland. A modest donation of $20 gets you in on all the Bay Grape and RBO fun. NO running required.

Event Deetz

Running for a Better Oakland

What happens when you drink and run


What To Do In Oakland On Saturday Night

Berkeley’s Comal Has a Lovely Patio But A Weird Vibe

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Shitty iPhone pic of my friend’s mezcal served with pineapple and chicharones

My girl M and I like to have a drink or two after purifying our souls at Yoga to the People. We usually go to La Botella Republic, Spats, or Revival Bar but last night we decided to check out Comal.

It has been open awhile but someone told me that the food wasn’t very good there so I’ve never entered the establishment. Mexican is not my favorite grub anyway. Something cool about Comal is that they have a Meyer sound system, which appeals to my inner sound geek and appeases my fist shaking grandpa side.

It’s pretty darn pretty inside and out. The patio is half covered and half uncovered. The covered part has a bar and wooden booths. The uncovered bit is more rustic. It has a fire pit with log seating and some bamboo (does bamboo block sound?). There are also some picnic tables and heat lamps. I was not cold.

When we got there we were the only two people sitting by the fire. We learned quickly why that was. You’re not allowed to order food and eat it back there!? We didn’t want their purported mediocre food anyway. The other thing you need to know about drinking on Comal’s patio is that they automatically add a 20% gratuity to your tab!? I usually tip $1 for each drink I order (is that cheap?) and all the guy did was pour two glasses of wine.

I didn’t like the vibe back there. My friend and I were hairy eyeballed because we’d just come from yoga and looked stank. “So what?,” I say. We were sitting on a log and I’m pretty sure it was fake. The bartenders and the clientele were not friendly. We usually end up meeting new people when we go out for drinks. I tried to catch the eye of the Ryan Gosling lookalike but I’m pretty sure he was on a date.

I left tipsy thinking, “meh.” I decided to plan one of my nerd parties there anyway. It’s a huge space with just a few “drinkers only” enjoying it. It’s time to rowdy Comal up.

A much better review of Comal

What the heck is a Chicharron?

Embrace your inner sound geek


Berkeley’s Comal Has a Lovely Patio But A Weird Vibe

La Botella Republic is a Decent Place to be Evaluated for Future Romantic Potential

FullSizeRender (25)I go on a lot of first dates, often at La Botella Republic in Downtown Berkeley because it’s a block away from my apartment. It’s a wine bar but they have some beers and eatz too.

I don’t date on weekends. Weekends are for me time and friend time and weekend dates seem too serious. Therefore, I’ve never been to La Botella Republic on a Friday or Saturday night when they serve cooked food and get more customers (I think).

On weekdays they have meat and cheese plates. I tried one and most of it made me nauseous (I’m wimpy about stinky cheese and gamy meats). They have really fancy Wüsthof like cheese knives.

On a typical Tuesday night for example, it’s very quiet. One guy I met there for a date actually wanted to leave because it was too quiet. The quieter the better is my preference for bars and restaurants most of the time. I loved the Peter Lawrence Kane review in the SF Weekly of the Oakland restaurant Parlour (across the street from one of my favorite bars Drexl). He wrote, “I’m going to go full grandpa-shakes-fist-at-cloud on this one: Parlour was so fucking loud I almost couldn’t believe it was possible. I’m that grandpa. I like the table in the back because it’s cozy sitting next to a date and they don’t have a couch.

I went on a Bumble date there recently that lasted 57 minutes. He came from San Francisco and took one look at me for 3,420 seconds and then BARTed on out of there. We seemed to have a pretty good conversation about start ups, music, travel, and monster truck rallies but I’m pretty sue he thought I was an uggo. But dude, I even wore a pencil skirt with pumps! Oh well, it was a fine date. He showed up. He showed up on time. He didn’t openly ogle any non uggos (there was nobody else there). He bought me a nice glass of Tempranillo. Nothing about him bothered me more than the fact that La Botella Republic seems to never have the wines the board says they do.

La Botella Republic is a Decent Place to be Evaluated for Future Romantic Potential

Double Dating

On my most cynical of days, Internet dating feels like working on an assembly line. I pick one up, inspect him, put him down, and then another guy rolls along. Punch the clock. Repeat.

If you improve efficiency on the assembly line, will you get a better product? If you’re going out on dates with multiple people at once, why not schedule two dates in one night?

I’ll admit that once I scheduled two afternoon dates back-to-back at beer gardens a few blocks from each other. After politely excusing myself, the first guy berated me for not wanting to spend the whole afternoon with him since he’d come all the way from San Francisco.

iConsu on reddit offers the following, “There really isn’t any advice that is specific to back-to-back dates. Just have fun and try to make sure you leave time to make it to both of them. When I have back-to-back dates and am looking to close, I will usually space my dates 5-6 hours apart. This leaves time for the date, sex, and a shower before the next one.” Gross. Obviously, don’t schedule the dates in the same place and don’t tell them you’re doing it.

I’m thinking of some potential cons. I remember everything. I got good grades in (Bumblefuck) high school by memorizing the entire chapter of a textbook. If you don’t remember things, you’d probably screw up back-to-back dates. You might end up liking one guy more than you normally would just because your date with him was so much better than the one you had two hours before. You have to be careful mixing your alcohol if you go to a wine bar and drink wine with one and then drink whiskey at a saloon with the other. Finally, this double dating shall likely lead to increased cynicism and faster burn out.

On the other hand, why is speed dating OK?  I wouldn’t care if I found out that someone had scheduled another date before or after me. If you’re dating expectations are just to meet and talk with someone new, why not double up? I can’t decide.

Double Dating