Readers’ choice winner
The votes have been cast, and our staff has weighed in. All this week, Nosh is celebrating the best and most notable drinking and dining in the East Bay, with editorial picks and our first annual readers’ choice awards. Check back daily from Dec. 26-30 to see our picks.
Berkeley’s highest bar won the hearts of Nosh readers this year, likely as much for its 12th floor view as for its menu of cocktails and bar bites. Perched near the top of the Mariott-owned Residence Inn, you don’t necessarily feel like you’re even in Berkeley while you’re drinking at Study Hall, even though you can see the city laid out beneath you. It’s clearly a change of pace that many of you found refreshing.
Cityside’s editorial picks
The Tip-Sea in downtown Berkeley is an inviting new winner. — Nosh openings and closings columnist Joanna Della Penna
The Study Hall Rooftop Bar. It’s a great location for a post-theater drink, with amazing views in all directions. — Nosh contributor Risa Nye
Thee Stork Club is exactly what I’m looking for in a bar, which probably dates me — its intentional 1970s rec room decor appeals directly to the five-year-old Eve who hid behind couches and up the stairs to eavesdrop on the grownups during cocktail parties. It’s like someone dumped a gallon of Tequila Sunrises on Terence Conran’s The House Book…and speaking of Tequila Sunrises, while a lot of this bar’s opening news headlines brought up its “trash cocktail” program, its bartenders are seasoned pros who deliver classics (or just a beer!) with style and panache — there’s no rule saying you need to order a banana daiquiri to hang here. — Nosh editor Eve Batey
Okay, so it’s not technically new this year, but may I just say, every iteration of Viridian glows more neon electric. In 2022, they snapped up chef Kevin Tang, who has continued running his own pop-up Claws of Mantis, while also taking over as head chef at Viridian. Which means that in addition to creative cocktails, the small plates are also hitting Asian American nostalgia, with buns, skewers, and croquettes. Over the summer, this heirloom tomato with whipped miso was such a banger, we had to show you how to make it at home. — Nosh contributor Becky Duffett
Four Bells. I’m not a regular at sports bars, but Four Bells has a well-executed, simple menu (best burger I had this year) and a relaxed atmosphere. I love that the soft opening was around the Champions League final, although I didn’t like Real Madrid winning. — Cityside CEO Lance Knobel
Four Bells. Great vibe, good food. — Cityside editorial director Tracey Taylor