Gilman Street Is a Promising Arts Destination

From music, visual arts, and dance to shopping and eating and drinking, this West Berkeley artsy district has a lot going on.


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Need to pick up ski gear? Try California Ski Company.

Photo by Lance Yamamoto

Berkeley’s once industrial Gilman Street has transformed into an outright arts district, thanks to its plethora of artist studios, breweries, wineries, and its own Instagram account. Check out the every-changing, newly christened district in West Berkeley, between San Pablo Avenue and Interstate 880.

Do

Catch an all-ages show at the legendary 924 Gilman, where Green Day and Rancid got their starts. Now a registered nonprofit, the iconic club is volunteer-run and structured as a collective with no owner, in true punk fashion. Everyone is invited. Check the website for show information. 924 Gilman St., 510-524-8180, 924Gilman.org.

The venerable Potters’ Studio has been a Berkeley ceramics mecca for the past 40 years. Peruse the gallery where members’ wares are for sale, take classes (beginner to advanced), or purchase a membership, which offers 24/7 access to the facility’s studios. Free training on the equipment is included. 1221 Eighth St., 510-528-3286, BerkeleyPottersStudio.com.

Every body can dance at the Berkeley Ballet Theater, whose Nutcracker performances are an East Bay family favorite. Classical ballet classes are available to students of all ages in the new, airy studios on 10th Street. Free movement classes for those with Parkinson’s disease are also available, as well as capoeira. 1370 10th St., 925-402-1073, BerkeleyBallet.org.

Shop

The East Bay ski cognoscenti recommend California Ski Company, the best place to get your feet fitted for boots. Open for 29 years, the only remaining specialty ski shop in the area (known nationally and internationally) employs eight certified master boot fitters and also sells all of the ski accessories you could ever want. 843A Gilman St., 510-527-6411, CaliforniaSkiCompany.com.

Tucked away on Fifth Street is Shibumi Gallery, a gem of a jewelry store curated by artist April Higashi. The gallery represents over 40 local and international artists who embody the concept of shibumi, a Japanese word for subtle, unobtrusive beauty. The gallery also hosts monthly art openings and events. Check the website for details. 1402 Fifth St., 510-528-7736, ShibumiGallery.com

Teak Me Home sells eco-friendly, modern furniture made from reclaimed teak wood. Owner Alex Elsinga travels to Indonesia four times a year to buy raw material to make his furniture. The durable teak is fashioned into mid-century styled tables, dressers, and chairs, all of which are designed to showcase the beautiful grain of the wood. 725 Gilman St., 510-725-7258, TeakMeHome.com.

Eat

Look for lines out the door at the Fieldwork Brewing Company each time the craft brewer introduces a new concoction. With names like Dankness on the Edge of Town and All Sticky No Icky, one of the fastest growing breweries in the area offers interesting flavors and accompanying labels. Yummy appies and tamales by Comal complement the brews. 1160 Sixth St., 510-898-1203, FieldworkBrewing.com.

For those hankering for an upscale vegan and gluten-free experience served on white tablecloths, Sanctuary Bistro is your place. Chef Barry Horton offers creative takes on formerly forbidden dishes like lasagna (with gluten-free tomato noodles), soufflé (made with cashew cream), and charcuterie (sausage out of black-eyed peas) at this Zagat-rated restaurant. 1019 Camelia St., 510-558-3381, SanctuaryBistro.com.

Former Hawker Fare chef Supasit Puttikaew and his wife, Nanchaphon Laptanachai, opened the tiny but mighty Funky Elephant in January. The made-from-scratch curries tingle the tongue in the best way. For a less spicy option, try the khau mun gai, made of the softest imaginable poached chicken breast. 1313 Ninth St., Suite 120, 510-356-4855, FunkyElephantThai.com.

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