Another View of Elmwood
Explore some lesser-known treasures of this well-loved Berkeley neighborhood.
Photo by Pat Mazzera
Elmwood has long been a Berkeley star, but do you know its hidden secrets? Centered at the crossroads of College and Ashby, this cozy ’hood is just a mile from Rockridge BART or the Cal campus.
Carla Bell and the savvy staff at Slash are true denim whisperers. The spacious upstairs boutique features a mix of modern denim brands, accessories, men’s and women’s clothes, plus a handful of vintage finds. Be sure to visit the original Slash in the tiny basement space just downstairs. There you’ll find a constantly rotating selection of new and vintage Levis in every cut and color imaginable. 2840 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-665-5994, Instagram.com/slashdenim
For 40 years, The 14 Karats has been making gorgeous jewelry in Elmwood. The family business is helmed by master jeweler John Moriarty, but you’re just as likely to be greeted by Mabel, a sweet Australian shepherd. From framed concert photos of early Grateful Dead to the use of ethically sourced metals and nonconflict gems, the welcoming vibe is as Berkeley as it gets. 2910 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-644-1640, 14Karats.com
Want high-end luxury at a fraction of retail price? Labels Luxury Consignment has a dazzling rotation of consigned clothing, accessories, and shoes. Find in-demand brands like Hermes, Gucci, and Manolo Blahnik plus unique vintage items. The boutique is beautiful. Owner Lynn Nice used reclaimed wood, LED lighting, and local artisans to create the contemporary architecture and custom staircase (to the upstairs loft, where gorgeous shoes await you). Best of all? Giving clothes a second life is a fabulous way to reduce your carbon footprint. 2629 Ashby St., Berkeley, 510-356-4144, LabelsLuxury.com
Unleash your inner kid with a new hobby. Since 2003, Boss Robot Hobby has provided remote control robots, planes, flying wonders, and more to the East Bay. The small shop is a wonder of moving parts, and owner Johnny Williams is on hand to provide a flying demo, direct you to the right toy for the right person, or share the benefits of remote control toys. The store also buys and sells comic books, Hot Wheels, and vintage Japanese toys from the 1960s and 1970s. 2953 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-1680, BossRobotHobby.com
Visit Vintage Berkeley on College for a curated taste of small-production wines at fabulous prices. Pop in for the free afternoon tasting or sign on for weekly events organized around a winemaker or a region. Join the wine club for monthly selections at discounted prices plus access to events and other perks. 2949 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-9501, VintageBerkeley.com
Find relief from sore feet and aching joints at LaFoot Plus. Staff members analyze your gait and direct you to the right athletic shoe based on a technical, accurate fit by using data from OPIS — a sports shoe database. LaFoot Plus, started by two orthopedic surgeons and specialists in sports medicine and technical footwear, provides ready-made, custom orthotics, athletic braces, and sports medicine products. 2917 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-644-3668, LaFoot.com
Good food is the family business at Ashby Marketplace. Sid and Ramiz Hasan are a father-and-son grocer team that offers a wide range of international and organic options, making it easy to shop local for foods you love. The inviting atmosphere is lure enough, but the house-made deli sandwiches really shine. 2642 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, 510-848-2640.
Celebrate the spirit of Berkeley at Nabolom Bakery. East Bay natives Julia Elliot and Sabra Stepak offer a delicious take on traditional pastries, fresh baked goods, and savory treats. Try the house-made pizza — co-owner Julia (who spent 12 years at The Cheese Board Collective) says her current fave is tomato Gruyère with fennel. Enjoy beer and wine in the laid-back cafe setting, and watch the open-air kitchen magic.
Indulge your artistic tastes at Casa de Chocolates. The handcrafted chocolates and desserts at this local treasure are as beautiful as they are delicious. Sip a Mexican hot chocolate, buy individual bonbons (like chipotle caramel or Mayan espresso) or make off with an array of the decadent chocolate bars. 2629 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, 510-859-7221, CasaDeChocolates.com