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Albatross: Best Bar

By Paul Thornton
Thursday, April 15, 2004 – Daily Californian's Best of Berkeley 2004
Sure, part of what makes the Albatross a nice place is that it does have certain things other bars don't. But what makes it the best in Berkeley is what it doesn't have– a ton of noise.
You'd think other bars in Berkeley would understand a simple fact– most people don't appreciate having their conversations drowned out by over-amped bass lines or blaring techno beats (and, sometimes, waiters that want to be your best friend). The Albatross, understanding the seemingly intuitive fact that conversations among sufficiently smashed patrons tend to be more interesting, stands alone as the sole bar in Berkeley that respects its customers enough to let them hear each others' voices.
But it's too bad most people have to trek a few miles down University Avenue to San Pablo to take in a flavorful time at the Bird.
Once you finish your hike down to the Albatross, you'll find more than just a ton of booze. The dartboards at the place are supreme but almost always occupied. Hell, the place is known for its Wednesday night dart tournaments.
If conversing and throwing darts all night isn't your thing, the place is well stocked with board games to aid the social lubrication. Just a tip– it's damn near impossible to get a connect-four after six pints of Czechvar.
Aside from the place's relaxing ambiance and supply of board games, the crowd is rarely the one that frequently prevails at Kip's or Raleigh's– the oft-underage tube top clad "Ohmygod I so want to get shit-faced" group. In fact, I once ran into a philosophy professor I had who plays the fiddle in a bluegrass band a night a week or so– something I doubt could ever happen at any of the Telegraph Avenue establishments.
Indeed, the Albatross is well worth the trouble of traveling a few miles down University for a night of flavor.
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