The Daily Californian Online

Best of Berkeley: Shopping

By Daily Cal Staff
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Category: Arts & Entertainment > Best of Berkeley

Best Bookstore: Moe's Books

Much ink has been spilled over historic Moe's Books on Telegraph Avenue. You're likely already aware it had a cameo in "The Graduate" and has been stationed on Telegraph Avenue since it moved there in the '60s. Founded by Moe and Barbara Moskowitz in 1959 and currently owned by their daughter Doris, the store has grown into an iconic Berkeley institution. Today, it's Telegraph's only comprehensive, general-interest new and used bookstore, and one of very few in the campus area.

Its four stories are bursting with tomes of all types, ranging from mysteries to mysticism, feminist theory to photography monographs. The topmost floor is home to a partitioned-off area called More Moe's Art & Antiquarian Shop, which features scads of old and rare books.

But perhaps its lasting appeal is that it's such a lovely place to hang out and browse, whether you're escaping rain, avoiding summer heat or just ignoring your homework. Moe's strikes the perfect balance between cozy, curiously stocked book nook and well-lit, breathable retail space, so you can get lost between its shelves for hours.

-Sam Stander

Best Grocery Store: Berkeley Bowl

When meal points and dining halls become things of the (mercifully forgotten) past, you tend to arrive at a rather startling realization: Food doesn't grow on trees, you have to go out and buy it. Like, at a grocery store.

Actually, food does grow on trees and Berkeley Bowl picks the best of it.

Strolling through the aisles, munching on your hastily made toothpick-kebab of sample cheese cubes, it's easy to abandon your shopping list for an impulsive splurge on dried nectarines or a particularly intriguing bottle of California wine. And as for the produce section ... expect to see tables groaning under the weight of fresh zucchini and boxes of berries piling skyward.

This is one of those places where you can spend hours admiring gourmet ingredients, or just pop in for your culinary basics. It's just quirky enough for the average Berkeley resident to find the shoe-rental-stand-turned-dried-foods-weigh-station endearing, but not so unconventional that you become suspicious of the vast array of mushrooms.

Bring your own re-usable bag - or two, or three - because a trip to Berkeley Bowl is a guarantee that you won't be leaving empty-handed.

-Jillian Wertheim

Best Vintage Clothing: Buffalo Exchange

Looking for a silk onesie? How about a sequined tutu or some lederhosen? Oh ... none of those things? Well then, I guess you can bypass Mars Mercantile and walk a little further to Buffalo Exchange to buy some clothes you might actually wear. Buffalo provides the perfect balance between eccentric and practical, so you won't spend all your cash on something that only looked good in the store's dim light. What's more, the workers are only a little bit too cool for you (they at least acknowledge your existence) and half the time you may even recognize the music being played.

Buffalo Exchange on Telegraph, one branch of the self proclaimed first American trade store chain, actually manages to perfectly accent the Berkeley student lifestyle. They've got a promising and always cheap assortment of shoes, along with the essentials in counterculture clothing. Their trades are fair and friendly, offering half of what they resell your clothes for. So, you don't have to worry about being ripped off or scoffed at. And who doesn't want to trade in that dorky sweater they wore in high school for a cool leather jacket?

-Sarah Burke

Best New Clothing: Urban Outfitters

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