Best of East Bay 2022 | East Bay Magazine | Oakland, Berkeley

Best of East Bay 2022

Fun, Feisty and Full of Flavor

Drake’s Brewing Co. has long been a pioneer in the craft beer industry, and its many fans won’t be surprised to see the local San Leandro brewery named “Best Brewery of the East Bay”—again. Drake’s has been brewing top-quality beer in the East Bay for over 25 years, and its commitment to excellence shows in every batch. Drake’s always offers something tasty, from Best Coast IPA and Flyway Pilsner to innovative seasonal brews like Foraging Racoon and Block Party Hazy. Drake’s Brewery and Barrel House, proudly located in the gritty environs of industrial San Leandro, is a welcoming space where everyone can enjoy a pint or two with friends in the beer garden or the taproom. Beer lovers can choose from as many as 24 beers on tap—including small batches of Belgian beers, IPAs, Pilsners, Stouts, Sour Ales, and Porters, often only available only on tap at the Barrel House. In addition, hungry guests can enjoy tots, burgers and other bites from the Brew! Kitchen. Drake’s loyal fan base is as diverse as its line up of beers. “We stay innovative,” says owner John Martin, “by creating inclusive environments at our taprooms and having fun brewing beer styles that we love to drink.” Drake’s second East Bay location, Drake’s Dealership, a beer garden in Uptown Oakland, was voted “Best Microbrewery Food in the East Bay” by East Bay Express readers.  The Dealership’s menu features wood-fired pizza alongside a full menu from burgers and fries to burrata and salads. Beyond a large rotating selection of Drake’s beers, the Dealership serves ciders, wine and kombuchas, giving you and your friends the option to sample a range of locally produced beverages in one place.  An East Bay Brewery Here to Stay The true test of any company is how well it adapts. Drake’s was founded as Lind Brewing Company in 1989 by Roger Lind, a local brewer who focused on making draft-only English-style Ales. By 2008, when John Martin and Roy Kirkorian bought the company, Lind Brewing had become Drake’s Brewing Co.  Then, and now, Drake’s is best known for its Denogginizer Double IPA and Best Coast IPA, which won the gold at the Great American Beer Fest.  In 2011, Drake’s Barrel House opened in San Leandro, and in 2015 Drake’s Dealership expanded the East Bay brewery to new fans in the Oakland area. In West Sacramento you’ll find its third location, Drake’s: The Barn, which opened in 2018.  A Brewery for Everyone In San Leandro, Brewmaster DeVonne (Devo) Buckingham manages a team of over 30 people brewing, packaging and getting craft beers on tap and in bottle shops.  She and everyone at Drake’s are dedicated to creating an atmosphere in the taprooms and brewhouse where everyone feels welcome, accepted and safe. Drake’s is deeply committed to providing opportunities to anyone who shares its passion for creating and serving unparalleled craft beer. “I was a regular customer at Drake’s and started working events, giving tours and bar backing whenever they needed it,” says Devo. “I was hungry to learn and willing to work. I was offered a part-time job as a production assistant, cleaning drains and scrubbing floors. Soon part time became full time. As my knowledge and abilities grew, I worked my way up to my current position as Brewmaster.” More than an IPA Brewery Devo and her team are proud of Drake’s core beers, which “have evolved as trends and consumer palates have changed.” she says.  And Drake’s has the most fun with its smaller batch seasonal and one-off beers. “These are where we get to play,” says Devo. “We make everything from bright, fresh lagers to crazy hazies, extreme West Coast IPAs and specialty Stouts and Porters. We experiment with new hops, innovative brewing processes and unique yeast.” Experimenting with different yeasts led to Drake’s newest release, Block Party,  a unique tropical IPA. Devo describes fan-favorite beer Foraging Raccoon as a “new-school, West Coast IPA, with no caramel malt, lighter-bodied. It’s totally Drake’s.”  Fans need to follow Drake’s (@DrakesBeer) on social media to find the most limited special releases and collaboration brews, as they sell out fast. In addition to having fun in the brewhouse and beer gardens, First Fridays at Drake’s Barrel House are a great way to enjoy some delicious local beer while giving back to the community. Drake’s partners with different nonprofits each month (like the Boys & Girls Club) and donates a portion of proceeds from growler and crowler sales to these nonprofits. In addition to great beer, guests can enjoy music, food booths and sometimes even a magician.  So whether you enjoy Drake’s beers at the Barrel House and Dealership or in taprooms, restaurants and bottleshops across the East Bay, raise a glass to celebrate the best craft beer in the East Bay, voted by readers of the East Bay Express.  To find out where to get Drake’s beers or to learn details about grabbing a pint at one of its East Bay taprooms, visit https://drinkdrakes.com.

Best of the East Bay 2022 – Arts & Culture

Friday Nights Off the Grid Oakland Museum of California  The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) has been a staple of the Oakland community since its foundation in 1969. OMCA’s collections span art, natural science and the history of California, making it a unique, ever-growing time capsule of the Golden State.  They also host a great shindig, including every Friday night, when Oakland residents and visitors alike can head over to the garden and amphitheater for a community-oriented good time. Friday Nights at OMCA include dancing; crafting; local food; a bar with beer, wine and spirits; giant lawn games; and the chance to meet someone, or a bunch of someones, new.  As a newbie on the Oakland scene, crushing an old-fashioned glaze from Johnny Doughnuts at a garden picnic table and playing Giant Jenga—infinitely more fun than the table version—before a Caribbean dance party was an amazing way to connect with a new city. Spend Friday nights at OMCA; it’s never a disappointment.  —Jane Vick Readers’ Picks Best Record⁄CD StoreAmoeba Records Best Large Music VenueThe Fox Theater Best Small Music VenueFreight and Salvage Best LGBTQ EventOakland PRIDE Best MuseumOakland Museum of CA Best FestivalBlack Joy Parade Best Outdoor Art EventFirst Fridays Best Film FestivalOakland International Film Festival Best Theater CompanyBerkeley Repertory Theater Best Performing Dance CompanyBandaloop Best Outdoor Music VenueThe Greek Theatre Best Music FestivalMosswood Meltdown Best Theater Troupe⁄PerformanceCentral Works/Escape from the Asylum Best Media Personality: TV, Radio, PrintW. Kamau Bell Best Dance CompanyAxis Dance Company Best Small Theater CompanyShotgun Players Best Ballet SchoolConservatory of Classical Ballet Best Performing Arts CenterCalPerformances Zellerbach Hall Best Cover BandTainted Love Best Jazz/Blues ClubYoshi’s Oakland Best SymphonyOakland Symphony Best Comedy NightComedy Oakland Best Art GallerySHOH Gallery Best Dance StudioHipline Dance & Fitness Studio Best KaraokeThe Melodee Best Comedy ClubAlameda Comedy Club Best Local BandShannon and the Clams Best Small/Quirky MuseumPinball Museum Best Dance InstructorMomo LeBeau Best Latin Music ClubLa Frontera Night Club Best Ballet CompanyOakland Ballet Company Best Dance ClubAshkenaz Berkeley

Best of the East Bay 2022 – Freight & Salvage

“Since its founding in 1968, the Freight & Salvage has been deeply rooted in that aspect of Berkeley’s culture that embraced freedom, justice, acceptance, collaboration and innovation,” the beloved music venue’s website says. And that goes a long way towards explaining why “the Freight” has not only survived, but thrived for those five decades—and is a “Best of the East Bay” pick again this year. “We believe that music builds community,” says Freight & Salvage Marketing Associate Anica Odell-Smedley. “The Freight is more than just a venue; it’s a meeting place.” A place, she says, where cultures come together through the music that represents them. Its long history means that multiple generations now have connections to the Freight, including Anica’s own family. “I grew up with parents who performed here,” she says, “and I’ve seen how integral it’s been to the Bay Area music scene.” Like all live performance spaces, the Freight has had to pivot and pivot again during the pandemic. Says Artistic Director Peter Williams, “When we initially re-opened in September, sales started slowly, but picked up each month. By December, it felt like we were back to normal—then came Omicron.” But, says Anica, even when live shows weren’t possible, some performances were being live streamed. The Freight took advantage of the time to completely refit its HVAC systems, making the venue as safe as possible. “And members and donors have been incredible,” she says. The re-opening has been “like a ‘welcome home’” for many people. Director of Education and Community Outreach PC Muñoz noted that much of that community support has been built through the Freight’s mission of being a collaborative member of the community. “In addition to being a world-class music venue, the Freight is also a bustling performing arts organization, with an education department that offers an array of programming for adults and youth, says PC. The venue hosts classes, workshops, lectures and jams “featuring everything from Indian vocal percussion, to old-time fiddle tunes, to the history of Chicano music. We also have our own community chorus, the Freight Singers, led by the East Bay’s own Bryan Dyer and Zoe Ellis,” he says. The “Hip-Hop is Folk Music” symposiums for middle schoolers, a collaboration with the Berkeley Unified Visual & Performing Arts Department, aim to illuminate connections between contemporary music and historical folk music movements. “We are doing a July summer session, and we do online ‘Meet the Fiddle’ workshops for kids who would like to experiment with non-classical violin music,” Anica says. The staff looks forward to being able to resume live kids’ programming and open houses, currently on hold for health safety reasons. Both she and Peter enthuse about upcoming shows and series.  “We have some incredible shows coming up,” says Peter. “Leo Kottke on July 22 and 23,  Mamak Khadem on July 27, the Meridian Brothers on August 10, Lemon Bucket Orkestra on August 11, Telmary on August 12, ADG7 on August 13, and our free indoor Freight Fest on August 21.” There are very few dark nights at the Freight, Anica notes, with up to 340 performances a year. She looks forward to the dance floor shows, which offer free dance lessons before the music starts. “People come ready to dance, and they spend all night out on the dance floor,” she says, adding they enjoy music from all over the world, such as the upcoming August 12 show with Telemary & HabanaSana, part of the Raices Latin series curated by John Santos. Over the years, the Freight has expanded the concept of “traditional music,” and embraced the energizing fusions of cultures and musical styles that make modern music makers so stimulating.  Even after 50 years, there are still music-lovers discovering the Freight for the first time. What can they expect to experience? “It’s a beautiful room, and probably one of the finest listening rooms in the area,” said Peter. “My first time here, I was thinking, ‘nightclub,’ but when I got into the room, I saw that it’s a small performing arts center.”“They can expect to enjoy music with people who came to hear it—and are really listening to it,” says Anica.

Best of East Bay 2022 – Beauty, Health & Wellness

Emerald Elegance Simply Green Day Spa Though the title may remind one of a certain punk band from the early 2000s, this is in fact one of the better spas in Alameda County, and I’m a major stickler. Not only is the service fantastic, but the front desk attendant is one of the nicest and funniest men I’ve met.  From massage to gel manicure to an exceptionally thorough Brazilian, there’s not a lot that Simply Green Day Spa doesn’t offer, and none of it dips below great quality.  Their files, buffers and pumice stones are never reused, and are included in the service if the customer wants to keep them. All of their polishes are vegan based. None of their products are animal tested, and they are DBA, toluene, formaldehyde, paraben and phthalate free.  The space feels as clean as it is, without crossing into sterile. A sense of relaxation and fun emanates across the staff and allows for optimal relaxation.  Perhaps the best part of Simply Green Day Spa, however, is their price point. I’m loath to say too much, and invite the claws of inflation, but currently a 90 minute body massage is $119. Not only worth every penny, but significantly less pennies than other spas not doing as great a job.  For any spa needs, look no further than Simply Green Day Spa. It’s as simple as that.  —Jane Vick Readers’ Picks Best Full-Service Beauty SalonRockridge Day Spa Best Hair SalonKeter Salon Best Urgent Care CenterDignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care Best ChiropractorLori-Ann Gertonson, DC – The Gertonson Institute Best Home Health Care ProviderHomewatch Caregivers Best Tele-HealthKaiser Permanente Best PediatricianPaula Brinkley MD – Stanford Children’s Health Best Mental Health ProfessionalNoah Oderberg Best AcupuncturistMarie Bowser Acupuncture Transformational Wellness Best PsychotherapistTina Kopko, LMFT Best TherapistLucia Grauman Best Personal TrainerLive Oak Strength Best OphthalmologistMelanie L. Hom, MD – East Bay Eye Specialists Best Local HospitalKaiser Permanente Best Eye Lash Extensions/Brow EnhancementsPOE Brow + Skin Studio Best Massage ServicesJoanne Cosgrove CMT Best Waxing StudioRadiant Waxing  Best OB/GYNDr. Yvette Gentry MD – East Bay Women’s Health Best Plastic SurgeonDr. Gabriel Patino – Cosmetic Surgical Center of El Cerrito Best DentistLake Merritt Dental Best PharmacyPharmaca Best Assisted Living FacilitySt. Paul’s Towers Best Yoga StudioSquare One Yoga Best Alcohol/Drug RehabParadigm Treatment Center Best Esthetic DentistJill Martenson, DDS – Piedmont Dental by Design Best NutritionistLisa Michelle Miller – Ocean View Nutrition Best Skin CareSpa Nubo Spa Best Day SpaRockridge Day Spa Best Pilates StudioJune Kamerling Pilates Best PsychologistAlisa Nowik Stern Best Nail ServicesCuticles Nail Spa

Best of East Bay 2022 – Cannabis

You Need a NUG Embracing state’s first Asian-owned equity dispensary  While not suffering from a shortage of cannabis dispensaries, NUG is a trim above the rest, and I highly recommend it. NUG is the first Asian-owned equity dispensary in California, and a supporter of Oakland’s Social Equity Cannabis program, which provides opportunities in the legal cannabis industry to those targeted by the “war on drugs.” NUG is all about normalizing cannabis use, and curates their dispensary impeccably with the finest in California edibles, beverages, flower and more.  Their location on Broadway in Oakland is underground, through a security guard, down a hallway with a lightning-esque neon installation and down a flight of stairs. The music is always good, and the bud tendersare informed and friendly.Their edibles can’t be beat.  Try their rapid impact THC/CBD fruit chews—Kickin’ Mango is my personal favorite. NUG is also where I discovered the Lagunitas Hi-Fi Sessions, a zero-calorie drink infused with hops and cannabis. It’s a delicious alternative to gummies and sets in the high like a slow sunrise.  NUG is a gem, for the community and the cannabis user alike. Stop in.  —Jane Vick Readers’ Picks Best Therapeutic ProductCare by Design Best Pipe ShopAnnapurna Best Cannabis EventEmerald Cup Best Hydroponic Supply StoreBerkeley Indoor Garden Best Cannabis DeliveryEaze Best Cannabis CBD SelectionFarmacy Best Vape ShopBig Al’s Smoke Shop Best Cannabis Menu SelectionFarmacy Best Curbside ServiceHarborside Best Dispensary Discounts (MMJ, Vets, Seniors, etc)7 Stars Holistic Healing Center Best AttorneySelna Partners LLP Best Budtenders7 Stars Holistic Healing Center Best Dispensary7 Stars Holistic Healing Center Best Hydroponic StoreBerkeley Indoor Garden Best Place to Get a Medical Cannabis Recommendation7 Stars Holistic Healing Center Best Cannabis LabelIC Collective Best Cannabis FarmSonoma Hills Farms Best Edible Selection7 Stars Holistic Healing Center Best Cannabis CBD ProductPapa’s and Barkley Best Cannabis Pre-Order Pick Up ServiceHarborside Best Cannabis Body CareSweet Releaf Best New DispensaryRose Mary Jane Best Local Edible BrandKiva Lost Farms Gummies and Chews

Best of East Bay 2022 – Everyday

Shop Local How Oaklandish gives back Purchasing items from Oaklandish—Oakland’s 20-year-old apparel brand and social experiment in culture-keeping, community-building and promotion of civic pride—will help you give back in ways that are layered, multiple and—in the current moment—vital.  The brand features signature tees, hoodies and snapbacks printed with a spreading-crown-and-roots oak tree, as well as their already-sold-out branded dominoes and doormats.  Buying right now from any local business, large or small, helps keep neighbors employed and sends sales taxes into our towns’ coffers, which are unusually depleted due to pandemic-related expenses. Simply shopping locally, even from the most conglomerate stores, is a form of giving back this holiday season.  Buying from small independent businesses takes your “giving back” a step further: It helps sustain special places that contribute to our region’s unique character.  While the Oaklandish “empire” now consists of four stores—two Oaklandish shops, in downtown Oakland and the Dimond district, and sister emporiums Bosk (offering streetwear at Bay Street in Emeryville) and Oakland Supply Co. (showcasing American-made goods on the waterfront at Jack London Square)—it is still very much a small, independent business that prominently features the work of Bay Area artists.  Sales of a huge number of Oaklandish products directly financially benefit key Oakland nonprofits: Alameda County Food Bank, Children’s Fairyland, the Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland Feather River Camp, the Oakland Museum of California, the Oakland Zoo and others. Oaklandish also offers free design services and marketing support to smaller grassroots organizations that are, in Oaklandish CEO Angela Tsay’s words, “doing the work of uplifting Oakland.” Giving gifts from Oaklandish supports an ecosystem of local institutions that serve our community. Kymberly Miller, executive director of longtime Oaklandish collaborator Children’s Fairyland, sums up Oaklandish’s appeal the following way. “Oaklandish is Oakland in high relief,” she says. “Angela is deep in the weeds of what’s going on here. She sees all the things and people and artists and trends that are truly of this place. What Oaklandish creates is authentic. People embrace that.” —Darcy Brown-Martin Readers’ Picks Best Optical StoreFocal Point Best Local Bank—ConsumerMechanics Bank Best Piercing StudioIndustrial Berkeley Best Art Supply StoreBlick Art Materials Best Games StoreGames of Berkeley Best Attorney-CivilAndrew McClelland – Lunski & Stimpert, LLP Best Shoe StoreRabat Best Auto DetailingUptown Body and Fender Best Credit UnionPatelco Best Attorney – Family LawAriel Winger – Winger Mediation & Family Law Best Auto RepairArt’s Automotive Best Real Estate AgencyRed Oak Realty Best Mortgage BrokerJason Wizelman of Draper and Kramer Mortgage Best Golf CourseLake Chabot Golf Course Best Resale StoreUrban Ore Best Vintage Clothing StoreMars Mercantile Best Attorney—BusinessBrian Ripley Best Costume/Festival Apparel ShopBerkeley Hat Company Best Furniture ShopKCC Modern Living Best Resale Furniture ShopUhuru Furniture and Collectibles Best Shoe RepairIke’s Shoe Repair Best Natural Foods StoreEl Cerrito Natural Grocery Best Gift ShopUrban Indigo Best Movie TheaterGrand Lake Theatre Best Jewelry StoreShibumi Best Jewelry RepairGrand Jewelry Repair Best Career/Life CoachLouise Goeckel Best Tire ShopOrozco Tires Best Print ShopMinuteman Press Oakland Best Bookstore – NewWalden Pond Bookstore Best Smoke Shop (Includes E-Cig/Vape/Glass)Annapurna Best Martial Arts StudioHan Martial Arts Best Thrift ShopOut of the Closet Best MortuaryChapel of the Chimes Best Insurance AgentRuth Stroup – Farmers Insurance Best Car Wash/Detailing Shoreline Car Wash Best Clothing Store – Men’sStandard & Strange Best Musical Instruments ShopStarving Musician Best CasinoGraton Casino & Resort Best Charitable EventPints for Paws – Berkeley Humane Best Antique ShopMixed Pickles Antiques Best Comics StoreDr. Comics and Mr. Games Best Locally Made Retail ProductOaklandish Best Grocery StoreBerkeley Bowl Best Bike ShopTip Top Bike Shop Best Bookstore – UsedWalden Pond Bookstore Best Fabric StoreStonemountain & Daughter Fabrics Best Nonprofit OrganizationBerkeley Humane Best CSA (community-supported agriculture)Phat Beets Best Plant NurseryBerkeley Horticultural Nursery Best Clothing AlterationsTailor it! Gabriel Escobar Best Shopping DistrictFourth Street Berkeley Best Photographic ServicesLooking Glass Photo & Camera Best BarberTemescal Alley Barbershop Best Holistic Herbal ShopAlembique Apocatherapy Best Attorney – Real EstateShrem Law Best AccountantDeborah Fisher – Fisher & Company LLP Best Real Estate AgentDeclan Spring – Red Oak Realty Best Hearing AidPractice Center for Better Hearing Best Flower ShopJ Miller Flowers and Gifts Best Local Bank—BusinessBridge Bank Best Senior Living FacilityLake Park Retirement Community Best Clothing Store – Women’sErica Tanov Best Local FestivalBlack Joy Parade Best Culinary StoreOakland Spice Shop Best Tattoo StudioSacred Rose Tattoo Best Co-Working Office SpaceTemescal Works Best Auto DealerAlbany Subaru Best Independent Hardware StoreCole Hardware Best Moving & StorageJay’s Small Moves Best Financial AdvisorDHR Investment Counsel Best Cooking SchoolKitchen on Fire

Best of East Bay 2022 – Food & Drink

What’s Up, Doc? Rick & Ann’s Restaurant in Berkeley I’ve been ordering “Doc’s Delight” at Rick & Ann’s Restaurant for the better part of two decades. You get a perfectly crisp and tender waffle, two chicken apple sausages and two eggs any style. My style is poached hard. Sometimes I order a buttered bagel too to smash against the bright yellow yolks. Well, every single time. Because I’ve never met a carbohydrate I didn’t like. I don’t know who Doc is or why waffles delighted him, but he is my culinary soulmate. Rick and Ann—the owners’ actual names—opened their eponymous restaurant in 1989. They are part of what I like to think of as a triumvirate of the best places to brunch in the East Bay. The other members include the recently rechristened Oceanview Diner and La Note, which specializes in Frenchified fare.   Over the years, I’ve recommended all three of their exceptional brunches to everyone I know, bringing visiting members of my family and out of town guests. Rick & Ann’s, in particular, does not make a bad dish. From eggsto waffles to hashes and pancakes,I’ve never not finished everything on my plate. Like every other Bay Area weekend breakfast or brunch spot, the queue to get in can be long and daunting (sometimes it’s a solid 20 minutes, sometimes it’s 45+). Rick & Ann’s though is ideally and idyllically located across from—what’s known colloquially—as the Claremont Hotel. In addition to several outdoor benches, there’s a Peet’s Coffee next door. And if you’re feeling peckish, Fournée Bakery is right on the corner. Some might say that snacking on a pain au chocolat or a currant scone before waffles and pancakes is terribly overindulgent. Some would be sad and sorry to have missed out on all of the above. Rick & Ann’s Restaurant, 2922 Domingo Ave, Berkeley. 510.649.8538. rickandanns.com —Jeffrey Edalatpour Readers’ Picks Best BakeryMarket Hall Bakery Best Dining ValuePomella Best CiderFar West Best Hot DogTop Dog Best Beer SelectionThe Good Hop Best BrunchShakewell Bar & Kitchen Best Wine Listminimo Best Italian RestaurantBelotti Ristorante E Bottega Best Small RestaurantBelotti Ristorante E Bottega Best Butcher ShopMarin Sun Farms Best TaqueriaTaqueria Sinaloa Best BurgerLovely’s Best Local WineryRiggers Loft Wine Company- R&B Cellars Best Middle EasternPomella Best BreakfastSequoia Diner Best MicrobrewEast Brother Beer Company Best DistillerySt. George Spirits Best Wine ClubBay Grape Best American RestaurantWood Tavern Best ThaiDaughter Thai Montclair Best Server/RestaurantSaucy Restaurant Best Farmers MarketGrand Lake – Oakland Best Irish PubSlainte Best Ethnic MarketKoreana Plaza Best Dive BarHotsy Totsy Club Best Hotel Restaurant BarLimewood Bar & Restaurant – Claremont Hotel Best Restaurant with a ViewLake Chalet Best Vegan MenuLion Dance Cafe Best MargaritaNido’s Backyard Best Latin AmericanCholita Linda Best MediterraneanZaytoon Best Wine Tasting RoomBroc Cellars Best MexicanNido’s Backyard Best Cheese ShopMarket Hall Cheese Counter Best Southern FoodSouley Vegan Best DessertsLa Farine Best Cajun RestaurantAngeline’s Louisiana Kitchen Best SeafoodHapuku Fish Shop Best New RestaurantBombera Best Happy HourSomar Bar & Lounge Best BBQHorn BBQ Best FilipinoFOB Kitchen Best Fried ChickenAburaya Best Microbrewery FoodDrake’s Dealership Best Sandwich ShopModigliani Cafe Best GreekIkaros Best Micro DistilleryWright & Brown Distilling Co. Best Craft CocktailsNorth Light Best RestaurantMägo Best BeerLabel Faction Best Cuban/CaribbeanKingston 11 Best Wine ShopPaul Marcus Wines Best IndianAjanta Best SaladsMarket Hall Foods Best Japanese/SushiKirala Best Family RestaurantZachary’s Best ChineseShan Dong Best Outdoor DiningNido’s Backyard Best PizzaZachary’s Chicago Pizza Best DonutsColonial Donuts Best Pearl TeasYifang Taiwan Fruit Tea Best KoreanBowl’d BBQ Best Locally Made Food ProductLucky Dog Hot Sauce Best Cafe/CoffeehouseHighwire Coffee Best German RestaurantBrotzeit Lokal Best CocktailsNido’s Backyard Best PokeHashtag Poke Best Tea Shop⁄CafeAsha Teahouse Best Take-OutComal Next Door Best Hot SauceLucky Dog Hot Sauce Best Kava BarMelo Melo Kava Bar Best BartenderZach Edwards — North Light Best Craft Beer SelectionThe Good Hop Bar & Bottleshop Best ChefNelson German – alaMar Kitchen & Bar Best PhoMonster Pho Best Sports BarOakland Athletic Club Best Bagel ShopBoichik Bagels Best Craft Canned BeerFaction Best Lunch ValueOakland Grill Best Frozen Yogurt/Ice CreamCurbside Creamery Best Local CoffeeRoaster Red Bay Coffee Best VegetarianMillennium Best New Bar/ClubPalmetto Best BurritoRico Rico Best Wine LabelDashe Cellars Best HawaiianiLava Hawaiian BBQ Best BarSomar Best CatererMarket Hall Caterers Best Independent CoffeehouseTimeless Best Fried Chicken SandwichBakesale Betty Best Food TruckLa Santa Torta Best RamenRamen Shop Best British PubCommonwealth Cafe Best Craft BrewerDrake’s Best Business LunchLake Chalet Best Gluten-Free Menu OptionMariposa Best VietnameseCo Nam Best Dining after 10pmCopperspoon Best DinerRudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe Best PatioLake Chalet Best Wine & Food ExperienceChez Panisse Best LGBTQ BarThe White Horse

Best of the East Bay 2022 – Family

Green Scene Ecology Center’s Youth Environmental Academy A local green movement has probably flourished in the East Bay since the area’s inception, but from 1969 onward many of the initiatives to make the world a better, greener place have come from Berkeley’s Ecology Center.  A nonprofit organization focused on improving the health and mitigating the ill effects of environmental impacts upon urban residents, the center’s many services include everything from organizing local local farmers’ markets and residential curbside recycling programs to  classes, workshops, a seed library and a store for sustainable living, among many other offerings. As the Ecology Center’s event coordinator, Cynthia Murdough, told the East Bay Express last May, though global issues like climate change can overwhelm, there are many everyday things everyone can do “to inspire and build a sustainable, healthy and just future for the East Bay, California and beyond.” One of those everyday things is actively educating the next generation to be environmentally-friendly through the Ecology Center’s Youth Environmental Academy (YEA).  The academy is a green-themed leadership development program for young people ages 15 to 24 and provides structured, paid internships for youth to “earn and learn” while developing a deep knowledge base that includes “Health, Food Systems, Food Justice and Sustainable Agriculture,” “Alternative Energy,” “Climate Change, “Water Conservation” and “Waste Management and Recycling.”   YEA participants “earn and learn” all of the above within a variety of opportunities, progressing through positions of greater increasing responsibility and leadership. In short, Youth Scholars become Youth Interns who become Youth Program Assistants. But more to the point, the young participants become stewards and ambassadors for the world they will inherit from their parents—a world, though problematic, that still has hope. Visit ecologycenter.org —East Bay Magazine Staf Readers’ Picks Best Children’s MuseumLawrence Hall of Science Best Pet-Friendly WineryDashe Cellars Best Animal HospitalBroadway Pet Hospital Best Toy StoreMr. Mopps Best Summer Day CampCal Youth Programs and Camps Best Birthday Party Place for KidsChabot Space and Science Best Pet StorePet Food Express Best Children’s Clothing StoreValentine’s Baby & Kids Best Private SchoolHead-Royce Best Public SchoolOakland Tech Best Animal Rescue GroupBerkeley Humane Best Pet BoutiqueGeorge Pet Shop Best Veterinary ServicesGrand Lake Best Pet Friendly RestaurantDrake’s Dealership Best Children’s Consignment StoreChloe’s Closet Best Children’s Indoor Sports CenterBladium Best KennelHappy Hound Play & Daycare Best Doggie Day CareThe Dog Social Club Cooperative Best Children’s Educational CenterClassroom Matters Best Dog TrainerTrain The Bay – Berkeley Humane

Best of East Bay 2022 – Home Improvement

Cabinets of Curiosity Mod Cabinetry, Berkeley As always, we can thank the Germans for coming up with awesome compound words to describe esoterica.  Consider the “wunderkammer,” which roughly translates to English as a “cabinet of curiosity.” More than mere furniture, the wunderkammers contained multitudes—well, at least, in terms of odd collectibles often depicting (if not outright falsifying) intriguing specimens of natural history and other baubles sure to capture the imagination. Should you install one in your home to establish your social position as a person of cultivated and rarefied tastes as some 16th century collectors did? Sure. But first, you’ll need a cabinet. Look no further than Mod Cabinetry, which offers a remarkable way to design and buy assembled cabinets—completely online. The cabinet company lives for “sleek modern European frameless cabinetry” ready for kitchens, laundry, vanity, home bar and a range of other spaces.  Those who are new to the concept of ordering major home renovations off the internet need not worry—you’re in incredible hands. Mod Cabinetry is the sibling company of Berkeley’s legendary Eco Home Improvement, which specialized in offering responsible, eco-friendly products designed to minimize their environmental impacts. The owners decided to concentrate their efforts on the cabinet biz and gently closed the doors to the improvement juggernaut in June 2020. “We are excited about the change, and we are grateful for all the customers who have supported us along the way! Thank you for all of you who have helped us build Mod Cabinetry into the strong brand it is today,” wrote Taja diLeonardi and Nina Boddeker, signing off on the old company website and ushering in the era of Mod Cabinetry.  The team at Mod has streamlined the process of obtaining new cabinetry to five simple steps: get samples, get an estimate, choose a plan, choose a line and then choose a time. Of course, there are a lot of nuances throughout and within the steps, but the general idea is to make the experience point-and-click-simple. Aren’t you the least bit curious?  Visit modcabinetry.com.  —East Bay Magazine Staff Readers’ Picks Best Solar SupplierA1 Sun Best ElectricianBerkeley Electric Best Self-StorageBerkeley Self-Storage Best Deck BuildersBlue Dog Construction Best Contractor (Commercial)CAHA Design Best ArchitectCourtney Miller, Ecobuild Architects Best Home DeveloperDiscovery Homes Best Paint SupplierEast Bay Paint Center Best Home Improvement StoreGrand Lake Ace Hardware Best AC/HeatingHarry Clark Plumbing & Heating Best Kitchen/Bath RemodelerHometelligent Best Painting ContractorJJ’s Fine Painting Best Window CleanersProfessional Window Cleaning Service Inc. Best HaulingNixxit Junk Removal Best Demolition FirmSons of Odin Best Landscape Design Co.Sue Oda, Landscape Architect Best Carpeting/FlooringThe Floor Store Best Tree ServiceProfessional Tree Care Co. Best Consignment FurnitureUhuru Furniture & Collectibles Best Contractor (Residential)Hometelligent Best Cleaning ServiceThe Cooperative Cleaning Company

Best of East Bay 2022 – Romance

Romance Recalled Piedmont’s Pomet brings back memories Everyone’s idea of romance is different. My boyfriend and I used to love going to Spettro on Lakeshore Avenue. Its brick-lined interiors always made us feel comforted and cozy. But an old friend of mine disliked the food there so intensely, he once wryly exclaimed that everything on the menu tasted like “dirt.” Spettro has since closed, but not because of his sardonic critique. Pomet, on Piedmont Avenue, reminded us of what we’d been missing. It was pleasurable to hold hands again on a cold night while we were waiting outside for our table. What clinched the mood though, was the welcoming, kind-hearted greeting from the restaurant’s owner, Aomboon Deasy.  Pomet’s interior is also brick-lined (I guess brick goes a long way with us). The open kitchen’s oven adds ambiance, golden light and primordial warmth to the dining room. But when a host opens the door, seems pleased to see you and then delivers delicious food to the table, you don’t want to leave.  Maya Angelou’s overused quotation about people never forgetting “how you made them feel” is ubiquitous because it’s true. Deasy has been blessed with an innate ability to charm. Her restaurant, and Chef Alan Hsu’s hearty, eclectic menu, are memorable because you feel at home—but catered to. Maybe that’s the essential ingredient of a romantic night out. You don’t have to do the dishes when that last delicious morsel of dinner is gone.   Pomet, 4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland. 510.450.2541. pomet-oakland.com —Jeffrey Edalatpour Readers’ Picks Best Wedding CatererBlue Heron Catering Best Erotica StoreGood Vibrations Best Wedding PhotographerE&B Photography Best Wedding Reception VenueThe Terrace Room Best StaycationClaremont Club & Spa Best Wedding VenueBerkeley City Club Best Bridal ShopEmerald City Gowns Best Romantic DinnerCommis Best Lingerie ShopA Revelation in Fit

Best of East Bay 2022 – Recreation

Writer’s Pick: Big Red Roberts Regional Recreation Area  There is no shortage of parks in the East Bay, but few have as many amenities as Roberts Regional Recreation Area.  In addition to sweeping views of San Francisco and the bay, the 82-acre park has numerous picnic and BBQ spots, a baseball field, a sand volleyball court, an outdoor heated swimming pool, an archery range, hiking trails that connect to trails at the neighboring Redwood Regional Park, and a sprawling, wheelchair-accessible playground. The park opened in 1953, but the area, known for its grove of redwood trees, has played a vital role in East Bay history since the early 1800s. Many pre-1900s structures were built using redwoods from the park, and two giant redwoods, known as the “landmark trees,” were used as navigational aids by sailors in order to avoid hitting a treacherous, submerged rock that was once in the bay. Today the park is lush with redwood groves yet again (even the parking lot is chock full of them)—though hugging them remains optional.  Visit ebparks.org/parks/roberts  —East Bay Magazine Staff Readers’ Picks Best MarinaJack London Square Best Swimming PoolMills College Best Bike Route/TrailsThe Bay Trail Best Outdoor GearREI Best Skate Shop510 Skateboarding Best ParkLake Merritt Best Hiking TrailsRedwood Regional Park Best GymEquinox Best Boutique Hotel – OaklandMOXY Oakland Downtown Best Boutique Hotel – BerkeleyHotel Shattuck Plaza

Best of East Bay: Family

Best Animal Adoption Center   Berkeley Humane Best Animal Hospital   East Bay SPCA Best Animal Rescue Group   Berkeley Humane Best Baby Gift Store   Valentine’s Best Birthday Party Place   Head Over Heels Athletic Arts Best Children’s Clothing Store   GoldenBug Kids Best Children’s Consignment Store   Silver Moon Kids Best Children’s Educational Center   Habitot Children’s Museum Best Children’s Indoor Sports Center   Bladium Best Children’s Museum   Lawrence Hall of Science Best Dog Obedience School   Happy Hound Best Doggie Day Care   The Dog Social Club Cooperative Best Dog Park   Point Isabel Best Kennel   The Dog Social Club Cooperative Best Pet Boutique   George  Best Pet-Friendly Winery   Dashe Cellars Best Private School   St. Paul’s Episcopal School Best Public School   Berkeley High School Best Summer Day Camp   Monkey Business Best Toy Store   Five Little Monkeys Best Veterinary Services   East Bay SPCA