Remember the old taunting playground chant that, depending on your gender, went something along the lines of, ‘Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider?” Well. If this was in fact the Jupiter to which the boys were headed, I would’ve stopped my teasing immediately and asked for an invitation.
Jupiter is another Berkeley gem. It’s the first place I visited in the city, so at any mention of Berkeley itself my thoughts shift to Jupiter’s beautiful outdoor area that looks quite literally like a fairytale picnic garden. And, you know, whatever makes it appealing to men too. However you choose to describe it, Jupiter is one of the reasons Livability just named Berkeley one of the Top 10 Foodie Cities in the country for 2014.
Inspired by beer-garden atmosphere, the design is modeled after the oldest bar in Berlin. There’s an indoor component with two levels in addition to the two levels of outdoor space, or beer garden itself, which looks like what I always thought a beer garden was: an actual real-life garden with plants and beer. Jupiter is a real-life brewery too. It makes 12 beers in house, and serves other interesting local brews including three draught ciders that pack a tart punch. After going back a few times my friends and I have narrowed down our favorite of Jupiter’s house-made offerings. At the end of each visit, our table consists of many emptied glasses of the Quasar, which is a double IPA with 8.8% alcohol, (wow!) and the Honey Wheat. Approachable in every way, it’s the smoother and sweeter choice that sit at a non-threatening 4.2% alcohol. And there you have it, we’ve covered the whole beer spectrum in two picks.
Jupiter’s other ‘thing’ is wood-fired pizza. As if you need a draw beyond beer and a pretty outdoor space. Say goodbye to associating pizza and beer with your couch or a dark bar with red and white checkered table cloths. Here the two have merged in a classy, beautiful, tasty, homemade espousal. The pies come in two sizes, personal or for the table. The Cassiopeia, their barbecue chicken, is shown below. This one is ordered every time. Though most of the constellation-named pizzas have lots of unusual, out-of-this-world toppings, such as shrimp, artichoke hearts and about 6 different cheeses, their plain Margherita (above) has surprisingly been my favorite. Pizza not your thing? Have no fear, the menu has lots of salads and non-cheese, non-bread friendly appetizers.
Jupiter also has live jazz music most nights of the week. Since there’s so much space, finding seating works on a first-come -first-serve basis, also known as — it’s every man for himself. It can get busy later in the night, so be prepared to stand up for what you deserve (literally). You might find yourself circling around for a little while, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when it’s your turn to sit down and avert the eyes of those standing around you. Beware of Berkeley’s popular times of year, since many of Jupiter’s patrons are affiliated with the school or are those affiliates’ families during visiting times.
Okay. Go; fight for a table; drink beer; eat pizza; enjoy the outdoors and the music; and teach your kids to be nice on the playground.
2181 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704