Just two blocks from the BART station, I found this conveniently located at the end of my commute, but it's no longer my regular place. The very limited evening hours and the higher-than-average prices dissuade me from frequenting this place.
Many shops are able to do a basic re-tread. Durant Shoe Repair was the first willing to do the repair on a heavy set of work boots that I have (in addition to a retread). Of very thick leather, the boots were more than other shops wanted to take on.
Durant Shoe Repair did the heavy leather work in stride. Three years later, the repair still holds up (as well as the retread). Durant is where I recommend all my friends go for shoe repair.
PROS: Willing to tackle the tough jobs
This is a small family run business. Everytime I come in, I see a familiar face to greet me at the counter. The staff makes sure that all my needs are met. Usually, this is done with supplies already in stock (A relatively small store, be prepared for crowded shelves and narrow aisles). If I can't find what I need, they're quick to suggest workable alternatives, or to special order what I need.
PROS: great service keeps me coming back
Definitely a part of, and capitalizing on, the Berkeley mistique of protest and uprising, Revoluion Books focuses on literature about social revolutions. Featured are titles from the Communist Party, Mao, Marx & Lenin, plus related memorabilia (T-shirts, buttons & stickers). If you want to wrap your head around writings about social uprisings, historical and contemporary, this is the place to go (a niche bookstore).
While Revolution has a limited general book selection, this is not the place to go for broader titles; head to Cody's two blocks away.
PROS: the revolution lives on!
Ned's is primarily a textbook store for UC Berkeley and Vista Community College. The retail area is bright, well-lit and the books for your class easily found. Usually, textbooks can be found for a buck or two cheaper than the Cal Student (Textbook) Store. For Cal students (directly across the street), Ned's also offers some Cal apparel.
Ned's has set itself up as a one-stop shop for the college student. In addition to the textbooks, shoppers can also get reference books, study aids, notebooks, pens and more. While convenient, the selection is limited and the prices can definitely be found lower elsewhere. If not for the captive textbook market, Ned's would quickly sink.
Nothing too exciting. Landmark has bought out every movie house in downtown Berkeley, and this is where they play their frequent 'artsie' films and documentaries. You won't find the latest blockbuster here (go down the street to UA7, Landmarks owns that one too), but rather those films that make you talk, think or feel.
And that's this places only strength, film selection. Like other movie theaters, the prices are high (matinee offered, and weekly student discount). The individual theaters are small and the seats satifactory (but not comfortable).
I'd only suggest going here if you're a Berkeley resident and too lazy to go to another theater.
Black Oak Books offers a lot of nifty stuff for readers & shoppers, but at this point, nothing near enough to be the only bookstore I frequent.
Black Oak books is a general bookstore, trying to offer a little bit of everything for shoppers, and for the most part, it does a satisfactory job. For those looking to pay slightly less for reading, Black Oak has a limited used section. While the quality of the used books is higher than found in Moe's or Shakespeare, the selection is much smaller. I just think that there are many things that other area stores do better than Black Oak.
PROS: high quality of used books, author events
CONS: broad, if shallow selection
Eudemonia is oriented towards playing CCGs and networked PC games (Everquest, Halo, Ragnarok), with some board games available for sale. More towards contemporary gamers than classic games.
Prices at Eudemonia are generally MSRP, with use of the gaming PCs at only $3/hr with membership. Not so bad for this part of town. For those looking to broaden their MtG card collection, they offer new and used cards for sale. Stockage of RPG books is decent, but only the most popular titles are kept on hand.
If you're here for network PC games or CCG, Eudemonia is the place to go in downtown Berkeley. If you're looking for RPGs or classic games, I think you're better off going to Games of Berkeley.
PROS: free play space, network games available for private parties
What I enjoy most about Games of Berkeley is the variety of products that they carry. Board games, puzzles, card games, role-playing Dungeons & Dragons, miniatures, and more, Games of Berkeley seems to have all gaming areas covered.
The store is bright, well-lit and neatly organized, making finding your desired game or book very pleasant. The staff is generally friendly, even if not necessarily the most helpful at times. I thought the prices at GoB slightly higher than discount sellers, but to me, I interpret that as a price to pay for the vast selection that the store offers.
PROS: variety of different types of games
This business is growing and expanding. They've just moved around the corner to a bigger retail space (2138 University). Right now, the decor is a little 'rough' with raw plywood partitions and boxes laying about the shop. But what keeps me coming back to ICLP for my large print jobs are the low prices and the smiling service I get from the staff.
PROS: friendly staff