A weekend morning ritual has evolved since The Dog’s arrival in 2006: On Saturdays, we walk up to Fatapple’s, a restaurant with a take-out shop, and pick up coffee and a pastry, walk over to the local school garden for the four-legged family member to scope out the chicken coop and the squirrels, then sit in the little amphitheater next to the playground (it’s got a view out to the bay) and eat. Sunday, we’ve started walking the other direction, to a place called Fellini, on University Avenue, that has a take-out window. We buy coffee and skip the pastries, then walk down to the old Santa Fe right -of-way and circle back home. All of the above is habit-forming.
Across the street from Fellini is Ledger’s Liquor, one of the few remaining liquor stores on University. In olden times, city ordinances forbade alcohol sales within a mile of the Berkeley campus. You know the reason: the pernicious effect of drink on youth and so forth. Those laws were scrapped long ago, but their legacy — a dearth of taverns and liquor outlets and a subdued night life — remains. The big liquor market on the street, Jay-Vee, closed about a decade ago and is now a synagogue. Another place a few blocks away, B&W, which was attached to a bar and seemed to have a corner on the down-and-outer crowd, has been a vacant lot for two or three years. The stores have gone out of business mostly because surrounding neighborhoods, and the city, have become unfriendly: University Avenue liquor stores are seen as magnets for crime and trash.
Ledger’s had been around awhile when I got here in the ’70s. It was known for stocking exotic beers, which back then only meant brews free of the taint of St. Louis, Milwaukee, or Golden, Colorado. I can’t remember the last time I was in there; I’ll bet it was in the ’80s. But it’s still kicking along, though what draws my attention now is the assortment of goods advertised and the slick way they’re presented.
The message on the marquee is semi-permanent and perhaps immortal. Anyone know a source for that?