6.5 out of 10

Shafter

37.8396120104875 -122.258150498684
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Public Transport
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
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  •  
  •  
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Families with kids

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Between a Rockridge and a Temescal Place"

Shafter is the triangle shaped neighborhood just to the west of Rockridge that begins on the other side of College Ave. Technically, the western side of College is in the Shafter neighborhood, which means that many of stores people associate with Rockridge are actually in Shafter. The Rockridge Market Hall, for example, is on the Shafter side. Also on the Shafter side are Rockridge Two Wheels—a motorcycle shop—and Rockridge Kids—a toy store. In fact, this gives you a sense of the eclectic nature of the neighborhood, where residents can go to get toys for their kids and for themselves on the same afternoon.

There are also some good places to eat on the Shafter side of College—like Christohper’s Burgers and Saboy Thai. If you are into chocolate, you might try Bittersweet Café, and if you want a chill bar where you can hang, try George and Walt’s.

Shafter is nowhere near as swanky as Rockridge, however. Shafter is a middle class neighborhood with a good mix of residents from most all ethnicities and walks of life. The buildings in the neighborhood are, like the majority of the structures in Oakland, quite old. About two thirds of the buildings in the area date from before WWII. That means that you come across a lot of old Bungalow Style homes, Craftsman houses with their distinctly heavy look, and even the occasional Victorian. These are not the hilly kinds of streets that make so many of the eastern areas of Berkeley so attractive, but more like the flatter uglier streets in the southern part of Oakland’s northern neighbor.

On the western end of the neighborhood, Shafter borders another trendy area, Temescal. On this end, you will find an assortment of stores, but especially worth mention is the Kingfish Pub—a great low-ceiling’d dive bar where you can watch the ball game, have some super salty popcorn, and—if you are a “chick” (what they call female patrons at the Kingfish) get hit on by super drunk older dudes before they pass out.

But the area isn’t just for hipsters. You can find a supermarket (an Oakland rarity) and fast food at the far southeastern corner of the neighborhood.

With the Rockridge BART so close by and good bus service, it is a more reasonable alternative for Cal Students that want to live at enough of a distance from the campus that they won’t constantly be running into classmates. You won’t really find great deals on rents here—not anymore than anywhere else in Berkeley—but you will find a good, safe out of the way neighborhood with some cool dive bars, if that’s what you are looking for.
Pros
  • Great Dive Bars
  • Good Shopping
  • Excellent Public Transportation
Cons
  • Old Houses
  • Ugly Streets
  • Crowded Restaurant/Shopping
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
NAParish
NAParish I do not know anybody that actually calls this the Shafter neighborhood; it's usually considered part of Rockridge or Lower Rockridge.
2yrs+
Add a comment...
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"An unfortunately overlooked community"

Shafter is one of those transition communities, offering lower-middle class housing but boasts a splash of the unique Berkeley culture that lies adjacent to it. It is distinctively reclusive, as if trying to distance itself from the Oakland-like drudgery that the district is so commonly used to. Specifically, the neighborhood is bounded by College Avenue to the west, 51st Street to the south and Highway 24 that curbs the southeastern corner.

The district straddles the border of Rockridge as well as the commercial hub known as College Street, sharing in its many eclectic roots. The main drag boasts plenty of eccentric shops, restaurants, boutiques and hair salons for the many locals to enjoy. Its most notable destination is Oliveto’s Restaurant, a charming italian cuisine which so happens to be buzzing with nightlife every night. The neighborhood is also convenient to the UC Berkeley campus, famous Telegraph Avenue and the popular dive bars, restaurants and “Bear country” campus stores.

Shafter is mostly flat, quiet and residential. The buildings have relatively mild appeal, but can be quite affordable for students or blue collar workers. Rent is usually cheaper than its neighboring Rockridge, making up a mostly lower-middle class community. However, rents have largely increased considering an influx of UC Berkeley students over the years. Homes are built in tight, block-like formation, with land seeming to be at a premium. However, there is the occasional newly refurbished home with a petite, well-kept front yard. The rest of the community is saturated with two-story apartment buildings, crowded around bushy trees and telephone wires.

Parking seems to be no problem in this community. Locals have the luxury of having a one or two car garage attached to its residence. Also, Rockridge Bart is conveniently located under Highway 24, marking the best way to get around the Bay Area.
Pros
  • Excellent Public Transportation
  • Good Shopping
  • Great Dive Bars
Cons
  • Old Houses
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers

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