New venue(?). Maybe. Folks have been discussing such (at meetings, and
other communications too). We may be well to at *least* have a
reasonable "Plan B" - and might well switch from 85C regardless.
IMHO, it shouldn't be all too all that
surprising that my own Pluses and Minuses for Algorithm Coffee in
particular would be nearly identical to Michael P's and Tom L's.
For Algorithm Coffee on the Plus side:
It's definitely still in a more central part of Berkeley (as per the
group's very name *Berkeley* LUG), as opposed to being in North Oakland
across the Berkeley-Oakland city boundaries, or all the way up in North
+ The Algorithm
Coffee location is amenable to reach-to and to park-near for out-of-town
drivers, as opposed to some of the parking difficulties that a few have
described for parking in Downtown Berkeley on Sunday afternoons (for
both 85C Bakery *and* Bobbie G's Pizzeria) .
Algorithm Coffeee management seems eager to increase its clientele from
what I've seen so far, e.g., by even encouraging groups to come by, allow them
to put one or two large tables together if it is relatively uncrowded,
+ The restrooms are decent and clean for both Men +and+ Women, and as separate restrooms(!!).
There are abundant AC power outlets spread around Algorithm Coffee for
all the computing and smartphone devices that the vast majority of
customers regularly bring along and use.
+ The WiFi access is decent-to-good on a consistent, regular basis.
The coffee, IMNSHO, is incredibly high-quality, and is reasonably
priced per cup based upon the manager's high-end selection of the finest
gourmet coffee beans and roasting methods, and the customer lines for
Algorithm Coffee's fine coffees are rarely as long as those of 85C Cafe
(AAMOF have myself *never* yet seen a line of a half-dozen or more
customers waiting around for service at Algorithm Coffee!)
The population (a.k.a. clientele) seems to be much more mixed than the
East Asian boba-fan Cal students I've most frequently seen studying at
85C Bakery. Besides Cal students, I think significantly more 20s-30s+
frequent Algorithm Coffee than 85C to do their serious online work
(coding, web-design, webinars, IRC...etc), to do career networking, and
to have in-person interviews.
I see this more mixed clientele as a definite plus, and have had a few interesting conversations with other patrons as well.
For Algorithm Coffee on the Minus side, and with my own qualifications:
As per the above location "on the South side of University Ave in West
Berkeley between San Pablo Ave and Curtis St", Algorithm Coffee is
further away from Downtown Berkeley and its Downtown Berkeley BART
station than are Bobbie G's and 85C. The westbound 51B ACTransit bus
goes straight along University Ave from Downtown Berkeley and its BART
station to the corner of University and San Pablo Ave. The northbound
72R ACTransit bus goes straight along San Pablo Ave all the way from the
12th St/Oakland Civic Center and the 19th St/Oakland BART stations to the corner of San Pablo Ave and University Ave.
Algorithm Coffee's Sunday hours of 9:00am - 5:00pm are somewhat more
limited than 85C Bakery's and when the group of us visited the place
before 4pm last Sunday 03/24, the coffeeshop's longer 6-person tables
already occupied by two to four other coffeeshop patrons. It might help
here -- as it has for past BerkeleyLUG meetups at 85C Bakery -- if a
few meetup participants would arrive at Algorithm Coffee *before*
the typically scheduled 12Noon meetup start time in order to reserve a
longer table for the group (or better yet, two longer tables than can be
joined together), of course space-permitting and with the acceptance of
management and other the patrons.
- The amount of light
is much less 85C Bakery's, both from sunlight (the glass windows facing
University Ave) and from the overhead lights. One of the principal
coffee baristas I asked about this told me that Algorithm Coffee's owner
prefers to handle the internal lighting all by himself alone, he
doesn't allow people to bring their own brighter lightbulbs for
Algorithm Coffee's light fixtures, and he also prefers the current
darker, more subdued lighting for the benefit of the rest of the paying
When I last visited Algorithm Coffee, I
successfully increased the amount of light I used for myself there, on
an acceptable and individual basis, by bringing along with me a small,
battery-powered portable LED lamp. I've aimed the beam of the small lamp
directly down to my laptop and at any other printed material I bring to
read, this neither bothered those sitting around me nor did it engender
any complaints from them or from management, and I could most easily
see the keyboard and read the material I needed to.
Algorithm Coffee streams its selection of music throughout the
coffeeshop, and although the music volume wasn't overly loud when the
group of us visited last Sunday 03/24, there have been other times when
the streamed music *has* become louder than usual and quite penetrating. A
distinct advantage of attempting to keep meetup participants as close
together as possible at one or two longer tables -- one of the points
made above -- is that this step is likely to better enable
people to hear one another over the coffeeshop's ambient volume of
- The West Berkeley area surrounding Algorithm Coffee seems a bit
seedier than the Downtown Berkeley area closer to the Cal campus. I
myself wouldn't worry too much about this during Sunday meetups happening this
time of the year through to the Fall, but those staying at Algorithm to
work on their projects right up to 5pm during late November through
January after the "official" Sunday meetups might do well to keep their
eyes more carefully open to their outside surroundings when they leave
the coffeeshop premises (and when it starts to get dark before 5pm.)
- Probably one or two other Minuses that don't come to mind at present.
Please feel free the fill in the blanks with what I've missed and/or expand upon the above.