Tuition (in-state)
$35,742 ($12,864)
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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College Freshman

Nightlife: I have not yet experienced this at Berkeley.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: Not a surprise that frats are always hosting parties. No need to partake in party scene, just a waste of time.

3 College Sophomore

Nightlife: You have to go to San Francisco for the good clubs, there are none in berkeley unless you count the sports bars as a place to go dance.

College Senior

Nightlife: I don't care for these things since I don't drink. They're mainly geared toward students.

3 College Senior

Nightlife: There are a few good places but mostly its geared toward the very young.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 128th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 580th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1243rd
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Meegan Brooks
Granite Bay, CA
Political science
View all previous student authors

Berkeley’s nightlife is quaint. There are a few popular bars that almost always promise the same lot of people every night. Then there are the few choice bars, farther off the path, that Berkeley kids who are sick of the tired local scene often escape to. But, according to the majority of students interviewed, being involved in the Greek scene is the easiest and most surefire way to have a rocking social life, though an awesome night out is entirely possible if you aren’t in a sorority or a fraternity.

If you’re not going Greek and you’re tired of the same bar-goers you see every night at Kip’s and Blakes, then your best bet is to head on over to the most romantic and arguably hip city in the U.S.—San Francisco. Anything that you could want to do—have a nice dinner, watch an indie movie, go to a rave, get crazy at a strip club, get nasty on the dance floor, just grab a beer with your friends—you’ll find a perfect place to do it in some nook of the city. In some ways, you have the best of both worlds—you have the convenience of college town dives to zip into and grab a cheap drink, yet you also have the glitz and glam of city bars and clubs at your fingertips.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Broadway
  • College Avenue
  • Durant Avenue
  • San Pablo Avenue
  • Shattuck Avenue
  • Telegraph Avenue
Student Favorites
  • The Bear's Lair Pub
  • Blakes
  • Henry's
  • Kip's
  • Raleigh's
Other Places to Check Out
  • The Alley
  • Oasis
  • Radio
  • The Ruby Room
Local Specialties
  • Because Berkeley is home to Pyramid Alehouse, beers such as Hefe Weizen and Apricot Weizen are both very popular at bars.:
  • Bison Brewery hard iced tea kegs:
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beirut
  • Flip cup
  • King's cup
  • Power Hour
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • Diablo Magazine
  • San Francisco Magazine
  • SF Weekly (free)
Closing Time
12:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Blakes Henry's Raleigh's
Organization Parties
Residence Hall Dance Parties, Residence Hall End-of-the-Year Boat Party, ASUC Winter Ball, UCB-sponsored movie/preview nights at Wheeler Auditorium

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Shattuck Downlow

Shattuck Downlow is probably the only real club in Berkeley; every night has a particular theme ranging from salsa, to karaoke, to hip hop. Most patrons are older and not UCB students. The bar and club are actually pretty swank, with plush couches and subtle lighting, but the Downlow has yet to escape its cheesy reputation.

2284 Shattuck Ave.

(510) 548-1159

Whisper Lounge

San Francisco's premiere up-scale dance lounge for 18-and-over. The lounge provides electronic dance music in a unique multi-level venue.

535 Florida St.

Ashkenaz Music and Dance Center

Ashkenaz is a popular dance club and show venue, featuring music and artists of Balkan, Blues, Cajun/Zydeco, Middle Eastern, African, Caribbean, and Reggae persuasion. Ashkenaz is family/child friendly.

1317 San Pablo Ave.

(510) 525-5054

City Nights

An 18-and-over San Francisco club, City Nights is one of the few clubbing options. The club generally plays hip hop, Top 40, and dance music, and is only open Saturdays, 9:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m.

715 Harrison St.

(415) 339-8686

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Henry's Publick House & Grille

Henry's attracts an older crowd on most nights, but at around 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, it transforms into a sweaty, crowded meat market. Their infamous "Two for Tuesdays" drink specials aren't so special once you take a look at the size of their cocktails, but it's still fun to think you've drank six long islands instead of three.

2600 Durant Ave.

(510) 845-8981


The favorite for late-night (if you can call 1:30 a.m. late night) drinkers, Kip's is where everyone ends up when all the other bars close. Drinks are cheap, girls look cheaper, and everyone is having a good, drunk ole time.

2439 Durant Ave.

(510) 848-4340


Most people will say that Raleigh's has the least obnoxious and most laid-back scene out of all thebars, but it closes at midnight (sorry night owls)

2438 Telegraph Ave.

(510) 848-8652

The Bear's Lair Pub

The Bear's Lair attracts a wide variety of students with its cheap drink specials and event nights. On most weekend nights, you'll find athletes, Greek scenesters, and groups of students and adults just hanging out.

2475 Bancroft Way

(510) 843-5247


By far the most popular reason students attend this dark Irish pub is Trivia Tuesdays, the weekly trivia competition that begins at 10 p.m.

2271 Shattuck Ave.

(510) 647-1790

Blakes on Telegraph

Attempting at a little more style than the other bars, Blakes is a tri-level bar and dance club that has drinks on the second and third levels and live music in the basement. The clientele is diverse, ranging from Berkeley townies to underage lushes.

2367 Telegraph Ave.

(510) 848-0886

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?


This bar and jazz lounge was built for the ritzy Claremont crowd but is also open to the public. With comfortable furniture and sexy, dark lighting, it doesn't feel tacky and immature like most other places that welcome 18-year-olds.

41 Tunnel Rd.

(510) 843-3000

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 135 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 130 responses

  • 55% Walk.
  • 1% Taxis.
  • 24% Public transportation.
  • 8% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 10% Use a designated driver.
  • 2% There are no good options.

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 26 responses

  • 31% Cal football pre-gaming
  • 23% The Big Game
  • 19% Rush Week
  • 15% Cal Day
  • 12% First week back

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 136 responses

  • 5% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
  • 37% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 43% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 8% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 7% Parties? What parties?

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 15 responses

  • 76% Friend's apartments
  • 18% When some orgs organize off campus parties usually
  • 6% Fraternities


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