Berkeley Bowl


2020 Oregon St.
Berkeley, California, 94703
United States

(510) 843-6929 | map

View: Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 11
Photo of Billolick
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

The friends we were staying with in the Peoples Republic of Berkeley, CA. were foodies and they recommended this place whole heartedly for the fresh veggies, cheese, fish and bread options and for the good prices. No arguments here. Nice place to pick up ALL your food needs, the range of veggies and fruits was impressive. Beer is located in a large open cooler towards the right as you enter. Plenty of local, regional and national craft options, a sign said they unfortunately do not get regular Russian River Pliny deliveries…. Oh well more then ample choices here. A fine place to get your crunchy on, a fine place to shop for all sorts of fine foods and a fine place to stock up on quality BA worthy brews. Much more basic and down to earth location then the BB west location just a few minutes drive away

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Photo of veinless
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Compared to the other Berkeley bowl this one pales in comparison, and ledgers nearby will have harder to find things, but this store is very solid in its own right. Plenty of locals, a couple bigger beers like the abyss, and selling by the single make this an easy place to drop by and grab a couple brews. Oskar blues, Deschutes, lots of rogue, green flash, and others are easily available. Grocery store is really good bonus too. Didn't talk to anybody about the beer, but service overall in the store was above average. Stop by if you're there, but I wouldn't make the trip just for beer.

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Photo of sfprint
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%

The selection, in my opinion, is fantastic. Only Ledgers is better, but the prices here are much better than at Ledgers. I believe you can buy nearly every 12 oz individually, many of them for $1.50. 22 oz bottles are definitely a jump in price, often times more expensive than 2 12 oz bottles of the same thing. Everything is refrigerated, and the fridge is enormous. Belgians, German, California, English, Mexican and even a handful of Japanese beers. For general buying, this is the place to go. Highly highly highly recommended.

As far as the service goes, i haven't talked to them about beer. But when I've asked them about wine, they've been ridiculously helpful.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Berkeley Bowl has a very impressive beer selection for a grocery store. I saw a good number of Deschutes, Rogue, Stone, Bear Republic, North Coast, and Oskar Blues beers.

The prices were very reasonable compared to craft beer stores, and they had "The Abyss" for $11.79, the lowest I've seen it anywhere. They also let you break up any six pack, and list the price of BOTH the six pack and the single below each of their beers; something I've never seen before.

All beers are refrigerated, and in a very good sized cooler. While you're here, check out the rest of the store, they sell some nice upscale groceries.

Unfortunately, parking is a pain, as the lot is too small for the number of customers. I don't think I've ever found parking easy here.

But overall, this is a very good beer store; highly underrated in my opinion. Also, check out Berkeley Bowl West, which has an even larger beer selection.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.4/5  rDev -13%

Stopped in here tonight (30 Nov 2009) because Ledger's was closed.

Parking as mentioned is horrendous, I managed to find some space on a side street a block away.

Selection is small (especially compared to Ledgers') but decent. Picked up a 2009 Abyss, FW 13, Drakes' Imperial Stout and Black Xantus among several others. Other choices include what looked like almost all of the Lagunitas line up, Black Butte, Full Sail, Sam Adams, Hitachino Nest, Green Flash, Drakes, a couple of macro selections and a few German, British and Belgian imports.

While I was there an old hippie cornered me and was expounding on how certain of the beers were better than others.... his opinion was based on their alcohol content...

Overall decent but would go to Ledger's any day of the week instead. Well, any day but Sunday or Monday anyway.

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Photo of bcm119
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%

"The Bowl" is my local grocery store and I only go there because I can walk, thus avoiding the nightmare of the parking lot. If I do have to drive, I park in the neighborhood across Adeline from The Bowl.

Besides being a fantastic grocery store, The Bowl offers a very good selection of beer. It is not on par with beer specialty stores such as Ledger's or City Beer, but it is much better than regular chain store selections such as Safeway.

All the beer is stored in an open cooler. It takes up the length of one side of an aisle. Packaging ranges from six packs, a few 12er boxes, and many singles. You can break six packs and purchase singles. Selection is fairly well balanced between imports, large crafts and local crafts. Imports include several German and Belgian beers, some English, Japanese (including Hitachino Nest), Scottish and French. US craft highlights include Deschutes, Bridgeport, Lagunitas, Anderson Valley, North Coast, Drake's, El Toro, Anchor, Marin, Moylans, Green Flash, Firestone, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Stone, etc. No Pliny the Elder here, you have to go to Whole Foods or Ledger's. Special releases from Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas arrive here quite fast. For example, 2009 Celebration arrived on 10/19.

Prices are average for the area. Service is nothing special, you may find a stocker in the aisle or nearby in the wine area, but this isn't the type of selection you'll need help with. Its either there or it isn't.

The new Berkeley Bowl (Berkeley Bowl West) on Heinz Ave has a similar beer selection.

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Photo of washburnkid
3.4/5  rDev -13%

The only part of the Berkeley Bowl I liked was the beer aisle, which is really all that matters for this review. There is a good-sized cooler dedicated to a wide array of domestic craft and imports, with the former taking up most of the space. The top of the cooler is adorned with a row of 22oz bomber offerings from mostly Cali breweries. I think I even saw a Moylander's for under $4, which is unheard of.

There was no service to be seen, as I'm sure the beer aisle was the last place people working there were worried about. This place is huge, and immensely crowded (kind of like an open-air market), with the customer service mostly lingering around the deli, bread, and cheese offerings. A nutty place, but it's not too hard to walk in, grab beer, and walk out again.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.4/5  rDev -13%

Strange, strange place… Walking across the parking lot to get into the store was like stepping onto the set of Mad Max the Road Warrior. Suburban soccer moms in their SUVs honking horns at Prius driving vegans cursing at gutter punk wannabe hipsters in Beamers giving the finger to some Australian guys with mo-hawks pummeling an old lady because she took the last place on the bicycle rack…ok, I made up that last part but you get the picture. The inside wasn’t a whole lot different. I’ve never seen otherwise kind looking people get so angry over a spot in line that they actually curse out loud in front children and senior citizens. It’s insane.

Being a capitalist I could clearly see the root of Berkeley Bowl’s problem – there is simply too much demand for its services. The solution is equally apparent, build another Berkeley Bowl. Hell, build three…with attached parking garages. I was later happy to hear a few days later that Berkeley Bowl was planning to do just that and not more than a mile or two away.

Anyways, by the time I had run the gauntlet that was the parking lot and check out lanes, I was a bit more than eager to see why people still shopped here. A few paces into the produce area and it was all transparent. Berkeley Bowl is an awesome grocery store! They had fruits and veggies that I had never heard of, and cheap. The selection of just about anything worth eating was just outstanding and top quality.

Then I found the beer. Not bad but it doesn’t beat the average Wisconsin grocer’s selection…by much. Lots of bombers of local stuff, tons of six packs of New Belgian brews, a few actual Belgians, and some decent national crafts. Prices were high in my opinion but seemed alright for the area. The best thing for me was that they let you mix and match singles right out of any six pack you wanted. I later found this to be common throughout the Bay Area - something you CA folks definitely have us Cheese Heads on. Service didn’t exist, at least not without waiting in line for a half hour just to get close enough to see the face of a staffer but that didn’t matter much. I knew what I wanted and what they had of it I grabbed.

Well worth the trip for the people watching alone.

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Photo of Troyone
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%

I have shopped here quite often nad I always take a look at the beer selection and usually find something worth the extra cost.

The quality is probably on the cold side, all the beers are refridgerated but are well organized. Downside other than taste with the refridgeration is the moisture that builds up at the bottom of the cardboard six pack. A good beer may fall through.

Sometimes there is an Employee replenishing the beer shelves and is helpful.

There are a lot of California and general micro selections, some bombers, no Eight Ball that I can recall. A good selection of British Isles beers, Belgian, and kind of lame with the German Wheats.


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Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, CA
Place rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 11 ratings