The formation of Berkeley's Fourth Street neighborhood was anything but ordinary.
In the 1960s, the City of Berkeley had a vision to turn the area into an industrial park, moving and destroying roughly 80 historical houses in the process. And while a handful of local businesses thrived here—including Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto and the Irish restaurant Brennan's, both of which remain to this day—foot traffic was slow and the city struggled to bring in fresh prospects.
So in the mid-'70s, the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency handed the failed project over to the small design/build firm of Abrams, Millikan & Kent who reimagined it as a shopping district for neighborhood homeowners featuring furniture, textiles, and design products from a variety of small businesses. Then they opened the popular Fourth Street Grill, and something happened that the neighborhood hadn't yet seen: momentum.
Today, Berkeley's Fourth Street district—bounded by Cedar Street, Sixth Street, University Avenue, and Frontage Road—bustles with East Bay residents, Cal students, and bridge-crossers from SF who come to partake of a vibrant indie shopping scene with a weekly maker fair, several terrific restaurants, and drinks at venues including Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Room (but note, that's temporarily closed at press time).
Here's where to shop, eat, and drink while you on Berkeley's Fourth Street.
What to Eat + Drink on Fourth Street, Berkeley
A San Francisco favorite with several locations in the city, Cafe Reveille is Fourth Street's go to for nutritious morning and midday meals served with tea and coffee drinks. (Courtesy of @cafereveille)
Cafes + Snacks
In need of a pre-shopping pick-me-up? Artis Coffee brews fresh coffee that’s both ethically and sustainably sourced. Roasted by the pound, the flavorful coffee is derived from beans no older than 10 days for maximum flavor in a method they call "live roast." The experts here are happy to give drink recommendations—crowd favorites include the vanilla bean and honey lavender lattes—and can even help you create an at-home brewing routine using Artis Coffee appliances. //1717 Fourth St, shopartiscoffee.com
Market Hall Foods
For a quick bite to eat, stop by Market Hall Foods, filled with ready-made sandwiches, pizzas, baked goods, and more. The food joint is also an ideal spot for charcuterie board fanatics, as the storefront offers a wide selection of fresh cheeses, olive oils, and culinary kits. //1786 Fourth St, markethallfoodson4th.com
When you need a morning or midday snack, Cafe Réveille does more than cappuccinos and matcha lattes. Take a seat in a pink chair under a striped umbrella on the spacious patio and order up nutrient-packed breakfast sandwiches, tahini squash bowls, and avocado toast. Or just take a popsicle smoothie or green juice to go. //760 Hearst Ave, cafereveille.com
Chef Shotaro Kamio is making headlines in San Francisco lately as the toque behind the controversial upcoming NFT private club and restaurant Sho, which takes his name. While most of will never see beyond its doors in Salesforce Park, we can still get a taste of his cuisine, which is inspired by his native Tohoku region in Japan, on Fourth Street. The style is rustic comfort made with locally sourced ingredients. Dishes include sashimi salad, Sendai hot chicken, tempura, and donburis. Iyasare also has an impressive cocktail menu, making it a great spot to grab a yuzu palmer or a sunomono vesper. // 1830 Fourth St, iyasare-berkeley.com
Bette’s Oceanview Diner
Bette’s has been serving traditional comfort food—think stacks of fluffy pancakes with real maple syrup, corned beef hash, and meatloaf–since 1982. Step into the midcentury-style restaurant, play a song on the 1957 Seeburg Jukebox, and enjoy a solid breakfast, lunch, or brunch made with locally sourced ingredients. // 1807A Fourth St, fourthstreet.com
Stop by Pollara Pizzeria for a slice of heaven. The authentic, Roman-style joint has an extensive menu of quarter, half, and whole pies ranging from classic margarita and bianca to more creative toppings like fig, eggplant, and roast beef. Team your pizza with a fried antipasti, salad, and several Italian wines. // 1788 Fourth St, pollarapizzeria.com
Named after a Mexico City neighborhood, Dona Savitsky's colorfully decorated Tacubaya has been plating traditional Mexican dishes, with a focus on simplicity and authenticity, here since 2003. We keep coming back for the sopa de tortilla (perfect for gloomy days), tacos al pastor, and chilaquiles. Meat is sourced locally from Niman Ranch, and several vegetarian options, like tamales con verduras, are also available. Bring your proof of vax. // 1782 Fourth St, tacubaya.net
Where to Shop on Fourth Street, Berkeley
Andie Swim, the internet swimwear brand known for styles made to fit all body types, is the newest comer to Fourth Street with the recent opening of its second brick-and-mortar store.
(Courtesy of @andieswim)
Fashion + Home
Local fashion mavens have long known Bay Area native and Fourth Street's mainstay designer Erica Tanov for her boutique with serene vibes and her label of breezy women's clothing, handbags, and small leather goods. Shop cotton dresses, layering pieces, and tapestry jackets that can easily go from the farmers market to dinner. The store, which opened in 1994, also stocks Tanov's brand of thoughtfully crafted bedding (we love the embroidered linens), and a curated selection of housewares such as vintage Turkish kilim throw pillows, olive wood tableware, and neutral-toned wool rugs. // 1827 Fourth St., ericatanov.com
Maker’s RowThis mini outdoor maker fair highlights small vendors from the Bay Area and beyond selling both affordable and higher-priced items such as leather accessories, vintage clothes, artisan crafts, and upcycled denim. Chat with the designers and artists as you browse, then swing by the food trucks
before you go. Look for special events including the Artists & Fleas pop-up market and painting classes put on by Etsy. // 11am to 5pm Saturdays spring through fall; 1919 Fourth St., fourthstreetmakersrow.com
The Israeli-American designer Ruti Zisser's eponymous minimalist boutique is a great bet for sophisticated women who want clothes that are cool, flattering, and practical in a neutral urban color palette. A former tech exec, Zisser designs luxury pieces that feel both effortless and aspirational, whether you're wearing them to the beach to the office or on your next trip to Europe. Speaking of which, the silk joggers and pocketed "go-to" skirt are a must. // 1829 Fourth St, ruti.com
Amour Vert, which translates to “green love” in French, puts an emphasis on sustainability. The brand prioritizes ethical domestic production and uses non-toxic dyes and eco-friendly fabrics. This is also your one-stop-shop for quintessential French girl basics like ribbed midi dresses, comfy knit tops, and bright linen skirts.// 1840 Fourth St, amourvert.com
Andie SwimThe brand that touts well-cut, comfortable swimwear for all types of bodies and all types of coverage has recently opened its second-ever brick-and-mortar shop on Fourth Street. Andie Swim sells a variety of silhouettes in staple colors (black, red, white, and navy) as well as a few bolder seasonal shades. Look for the best-selling ribbed one-pieces or the glossy eco nylon bikini. The company boasts about the quality and fit of its garments, so this is your new favorite store when you need to feel comfortable by the pool. Hate trying on suits? Take the online fit quiz before you visit. // 1911 Fourth St, Suite 102, andieswim.com
With 15 locations across the country, San Francisco-based womenswear boutique Margaret O’Leary is a go-to for cashmere sweaters made with low-impact yarns, lightweight knits, and beachy sundresses in a vibrant color palette inspired by SF. // 1832 Fourth St, margaretoleary.com
Wine + Merch
Founded in Berkeley by avid gardener Alta Tingle back in 1984, The Gardener expertly curates items inspired by plant lovers—think Japanese pruning shears, reclaimed wood furniture, beautiful bowls and vases, handmade soaps, and pretty coffee table tomes. With locations also in Healdsburg and SF's Ferry Building, this is a perfect spot to pick up a thoughtful gift. // 1836 Fourth St, thegardener.com
Open daily, Vino! offers a worldly selection of wines with decent prices thanks an import license that allows the wine shop, which has three East Bay locations, to make quality wine accessible for as cheap as $20. The store is known among neighborhood oenophiles for their personal service. // 1786A Fourth St, vinoeastbay.com
// For a more comprehensive guide to Berkeley's Fourth Street, go to fourthstreet.com.