First-timers will expect Berkeley to be like this, so why shatter their illusions? Your first stop should be Revolution Books. Not only will you find books (on widely varying subjects, not just anarchy), but there are also magazines and newsletters, gifts, bumper stickers, and posters. The guy behind the counter (I assume he's the owner) will chat you up about current events, which is awesome. He might also try to sell you some little newsletter or whatever, which is a little less awesome, but I like to support this place anyway. I brought my parents here when they came to visit, and they left with all sorts of posters and stuff that you can probably only find in Berkeley.
My friends started having kids and I had no idea what to buy for them. I just knew that I didn't want to buy a bunch of plastic junk or Disney stuff. What a relief to find Mr. Mopps! The employees helped me find cool books and other stuff that were appreciated by both the kids and their parents. It wasn't even painful going in there, despite my cluelessness about kids, because the store is set up in a way that's attractive and comfortable for adults. I actually enjoyed the experience.
Many people may not care about the building where they go to get their dry cleaning done, but this place is exceptional. It's a little hut under the BART tracks on Solano, and the style is so retro and cool that it's worth taking your dry cleaning there just for that (but it's not intentionally retro -- I imagine it's just looked the same since it was built). But in terms of the service, it's great and I never had any complaints. The prices are standard, the employees are friendly, and the turnaround time is pretty fast even for the non-one-hour services. Definitely recommended.
You can get all sorts of stuff at this store including all the appliances you need to set up a nice bathroom. The tiles are imported from Mexico and they are beautiful! You could certainly spend a lot of money in here if you wanted to redo your bathroom or kitchen, but there are also a lot of very nice smaller gift items like plates and vases. These really make special gifts because they are so unique. Prices on these smaller items are still kind of expensive, but they're worth it.
I agree with the other two reviews, one should be careful going in here because some of the prices are high for used stuff. However, I went in here looking for a particular kind of power cord that I was having trouble finding elsewhere, and they happened to have it, so I was really happy, and I don't think the price was unreasonable. It's good for that kind of thing. I also like the idea of buying things used rather than buying more new stuff and letting the old stuff go into landfills. So even if the discount isn't great, you're doing a good deed buy buying used stuff!
This place is such a neat concept. They offer great classes here, and you can also just watch if you're into that. The coffee is great and the baked goods are delicious. So it's great because you can do capoeira and work up a sweat, then go reward yourself with something tasty. In addition to the capoeira and the great food and drinks, the decor in here is really something! It features original art from local artists, which is a lot of fun. Definitely stop in!
This is a neat little store in North Berkeley that sells all kinds of Celtic-themed jewelry and other little gifts. It's kind of a strange place, but if you are looking for a gift for someone who is Irish or who is into that sort of thing, they will love something from this store. I have bought a few little things here for people and they always love it because it's so unique. I've never seen anyone in there in the process of making jewelry as the other reviewer did, but the service is always friendly and it's a nice place to visit even if you're just browsing.
This is a fun shop to stop in if you're in the area. They have a lot of cool stuff including a large selection of Dansko shoes. The clothes are nice and not as expensive as you might expect given how nice the store is and how much rent they must be paying! This is a nice destination because there are other cute shops around it, and also a Peet's. I found the employees to be really nice here, too. Overall it's an excellent shop and the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the prices are a little more than I like to pay for clothes and shoes (but not unreasonable).
This store is inviting and nice, but I have never bought anything there, in part because it is too expensive. I also found that they don't have a large range of sizes, and most of what I remember seeing in there was coats and jackets, even when the weather was warm. The shoes are nice, but they don't have the kind of stock, selection, or expertise that you'd get at a shoe store. If you happen to be looking for a coat or jacket, you don't mind spending a lot of money, and you have 'mature' tastes (i.e. you are in your forties or older, or like to dress like you are), then maybe you'd like this place. I'm not crazy about it myself.
You will not find a more beautiful, delicious cappuccino anywhere in the East Bay, not even at Peet's, and in fact I'm hard pressed to think of a place I've had a better one anywhere (ditto for the canolli -- I have never had better, so if they have it when you're there, snap one up). The coffee is delicious with a nice thick crema and the froth is dense. I have always found the service to be very friendly, contrary to what the other reviewer says. Seating is pleasant and comfortable, inside and out.