Expedition 23: My Berkeley Neighborhood

January 11, 2024. This expedition took in some Interesting sights around my Berkeley neighborhood. I relied on the book Quirky Berkeley for some ideas. I chose a route that was easy to bicycle on my non-electric bike. 

 My first stop was at the wiener dog house near Ashby BART. The owner has actual living dachshunds in addition to all these decorative ones. Note the dog little library on the bottom left. The dog head at the top of the arch was made by one of my fave (formerly) local sculptors, Mark Bullwinkle. Lucky gal, she also scored a Doggie Diner head at a garage sale!

Further north I discovered these cheerful metal critters and a dollhouse occupied by a tiger. The Berkeley Bullfighting Academy is leftover from the “How Berkeley Can You Be?” Parade, last staged in 2008. I never saw it, but from what I’ve read, it sounds pretty amazing. 

The old Berkeley Southern Pacific station was built in 1913 but became a restaurant in the early 70’s. Several restaurants used the building, the last of which, Brennan’s, closed in 2018. That place was a solid, un-hip Hofbrau, beloved by many regulars. I remember the original Brennan’s at 4th and University which was a huge barn and felt like stepping into the past. It was at that location for 50 years, so it kind of was. The current Berkeley train station is a wall and some benches, and I happened to be there when a train pulled in.   

Back to quirky! Next is the house with the airplane crashed into the roof, plus many other embellishments. The “OH OH” sign next door could be read as Ho Ho if you could see it from the other side but you can’t from the street. Across the street is one of many new apartment buildings. This apartment has some intriguing front window decor. 

The grand finale was the sake museum at Takara Sake nearby on Addison Street. My taiko group played a show there for a sister city event some years ago. The museum is fun and the tasting room is just lovely. The cloud and bird mobile is mesmerizing. I need to come back here for a sake tasting!

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