From Cafe Milano to Blue Bottle, here are the best coffee shops near UC Berkeley to get your caffeine fix

The best people watching happens at Caffe Strada

With the amount of coffee shops there are around campus, it can be hard to know which one to go to (“coffee shops near UC Berkley” is the most Googled term, like, ever). Whether you’re looking for outdoor seating, a great study spot, or the best cafe food, this is your ultimate guide to the best coffee shops near UC Berkeley.

Cafe Milano

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Located right across from Sproul plaza on Bancroft, Milano is the perfect place to caffeinate in between classes. They’ve got plenty of seating, plus a cozy upstairs loft. And, while you’re there, you can check out cool photos of the free speech movement that they’ve decorated the walls with. Eating at Milano is a must- in addition to their great selection of pastries, they have huge salads and sandwiches. Delicious.

The one downside is that the wifi is pretty terrible and unreliable, so plan on reading or chatting with friends if you go. Overall, Milano is a great place to study, hang, and eat — you can’t beat it’s proximity to campus. Just be sure to be prepared for the inevitable loss of internet connection.

Pro tip: Milano always plays instrumental versions of pop songs, so you can play a game of “guess which song this is” with your pals when you lose internet connection.

Cafe Blue Door

So crowded on a Monday afternoon, with finals still more than a month away! #cal #Berkeley #myucberkeley #berkeleypov #eastbay #cafe #coffee

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If you’re looking to pump some iron at the RSF and then pump some espresso into your veins, head to Blue Door — it’s located on Bancroft, right across the street from the RSF and near the Tang Center.

They’ve got a good selection of baked goods, salads, and sandwiches, and the wifi is decent. It’s is a bit cluttered with tables and chairs, but that’s just because it’s a hot spot during cafe rush hours. Extra points if you score one of the little window nooks facing Bancroft.

Brewed Awakening

Finals over = finally space in cafes again

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Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about Northside. For all you lucky ducks who have the pleasure of having class in Soda, McCone, and the like, check out Brewed Awakening on Euclid. It’s got good pastries, and some sandwiches. The wifi is decent, too.

There’s not a ton of study space, but then again, it’s a less crowded area than the hub of Southside. It’s is a fairly standard coffee shop and it’ll get the job done.


Lox bagel and a hammer head coffee with mom before we start shooting

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Even though it’s a little further from campus than Milano or Strada, Sacks is worth the extra trudge to College and Derby. It’s got a great selection of pastries (plus something like seven cookie flavors), sandwiches, salads, and even quesadillas. Unfortunately, the wifi can be pretty spotty, so bring a back up book or something in the case you can’t use the internet.

Warning: in the late afternoon the sun just blazes through the many windows facing College (which otherwise provide a delightful amount of natural light) with enough power to reheat the coffee that went cold next to your flashcards. Make sure to take a seat close to the counter, and you’ll do just fine at Sacks.

Caffe Strada

"Caffe Strada." ☕️ #BerkeleyPOV (edited) by @armadillo #ucberkeley #caffestrada #coffee #cafe

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Cafe Strada, located on the corner of Bancroft and College, has it all. There’s tons of outdoor seating, with beautiful trees that provide plenty of shade to boot. The food is not great, but you can grab pastries and other small food items, like yogurt. The wifi works, but connection might be touch-and-go if you’re outside.

Looking for beautiful outdoor seating? Check. Great people watching? Check. Lattes made before you can even say “thank you”? Definitely check. It’s the perfect place to casually do some homework, but don’t go there if you need to get some serious studying done. You’ll be too distracted by watching everyone bustle off to campus to focus.

Blue Bottle

If you’re into a clean slate aesthetic and trendy hot spots, Blue Bottle is for you. The brand has drawn a lot of attention, so it’s no wonder that the cool cats of Berkeley have enjoyed the new opening on Shattuck. They don’t have any food, but the wifi is decent.

The verdict: you kind of feel like you’re part of a secret club since the building is only marked by a tiny sign with the Blue Bottle logo. If you prefer cute and cozy, though, you’ll find no warmth here. In short, it’s a trendy place to bolster your Insta theme.

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