Guide to Berkeley Coffee Houses

Although Seattle is known as the city of java, I found out recently that the Venezuelan Immigration Commission rated Berkeley coffee houses as number one in service, espresso potency, and pseudo-intellectual conversation content. I was proud to take the time out of my oh-so-busy schedule of studying for finals to mosey through the streets of Berkeley, wandering from cafe to cafe and indulging in meaningless conversations with bearded strangers. But each coffee shop is special and unique in every way and the following guide is provided for all those tourists who will travel the endless miles to our little town to get a taste of our world renowned mochas.

Cafe Strada

Only Eurofags can cross the threshold of this beautifully lit open-air villa on the Bancroft way with impunity. Are you wearing black and smoking a cigarette? If not, then get the hell out. Be sure to sample the “Espresso-speed” special, a potent beverage masquerading as coffee, which really contains several grams of the finest amphetamines Detroit has to offer. Your reviewer has been known to run for four days on two Strada espressos.

Extra points are given if you carry a soccer ball and speak in broken Spanish. European accents of any variety are welcome, nay, required here, so when uttering statements like, “What the fuck do you mean, you need a quarter for the bathroom?” the guttural syllables rising from your sophisticated throat can lend the statement meaning. However, if you are an American, you can disguise this fact by wearing dark shades, carrying a Prada bag and reading something about the decline of Western Civilization because of TV.

Make sure you say howdy to Don, the friendly counterboy.

Cafe Milano

Greek heaven, bro! Dress code: flannel and baseball cap a must. Low- top converse, low-top workboots and fake Doc Martens are all appropriate footwear.

The coffee sucks. The service people are mean. The architecture is neat. The tables were stolen from a rest home. Overpriced. But very, very sassy.

Berlin KaffeeHouse

Containing an actual piece from the Wall in Berlin, be sure you’ve studied your Nietzche and Kierkekard and have a firm grasp of the changing conceptions of a post-modern socialist society as well as the fall of the Communist block countries and its repercussions.

Suitable attire includes full grunge wear now purchasable at Urban Outfitters for $69.99.

Oh, and if you leave there angry and frustrated and ready to rage out against this wretched world, don’t worry, it’s only because they put four shots of espresso in their mochas- it wears off in about 76 hours, then comes peaceful, eternal sleep.

Cafe Mediterranean

Most commonly known as The Med. Jerry Garcia fans, this is your home away from the dead concerts. Put on your tie-dyes and get your purple sun- glasses ready. Ignore the various homeless people who wander in off the street. Try not to speak too loudly when you tell the people you came in with the preconceived notion that this was the cafe featured in “The Graduate.”

Cafe Nefeli

It’s on the north side. Who cares? Plus, my old TA who looks like Shelley Duvall goes there. But they have good food.

I-House Cafe

They serve alcohol and don’t i.d.- sorry…never got to the coffee.

Sufficient Grounds

I met a creepy old guy here who said he would take me to Chez Panisse. Like I said, he was a real freak. But I’m still waiting, in case he’s reading this.

Henry’s Cafe

I’ve never been in this one, and neither has anyone else. Actually, I walked by there ready to go in and the worker had such a look of glee that a breathing being, aside from the local insects, was about to penetrate his domain, that I became suddenly afraid that I was about to enter the fifth dimension where time and space had collided and entered a different realm of existence… so I walked into Henry’s and got a beer and passed out.

This was only a sip of the espresso in Berkeley and I highly recommend that each one of you take your own tour of the Bohemian avant-garde underworld that exists in this cultural wasteland police state of a city. Make sure to read the bathroom literature in each place and don’t complain too much when thrusted in the streets to smoke a cigarette.