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Best of the East Bay: Shops

Brick-and-mortar treasures, top-notch artists, and perfect gifts.


The Internet Can’t Kill Us

Sure, you can download songs on your iPod or click your way through The New York Times best-seller list. Big deal. There’s still something old-school cool about flipping through the racks in a record store and turning the pages of a well-worn novel. Fortunately, we still have brick-and-mortar music and bookshops alive and well in our backyard.  

Rasputin Music

Reader Pick: Record Store
Music fans are finally remembering that those MP3 files of “Purple Rain” and The White Album may fit on their phone, but the songs sounded better on vinyl—and Rasputin Music is the place to stock up. Rasputin carries new and used LPs, CDs, and just about every other kind of recorded medium, and will buy back your collection if you’re looking to downsize.
Hot album: Look for a CD from Bay Area hip-hop legend E-40, who has released two of the scheduled four albums from his Sharp on All 4 Corners collection.
Rare find: I picked up a live recording of a Lucinda Williams concert for $4.99. 1035 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill, (925) 827-2900, rasputinmusic.com.

Rakestraw Books

Reader Pick: Indie Bookstore
Rakestraw Books’ owner, Michael Barnard, is the real deal, a lifelong bookworm who reads everything and fine-tunes recommendations for his customers. Barnard also organizes the East Bay’s best appearances: There’s always a best-selling or award-winning author stopping by for a signing.
Hot book: Rakestraw is planning a huge party for the July 14 release of Go Set a Watchman, the long-awaited follow-up to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Don’t miss: Meet acclaimed Bay Area writers at Rakestraw’s Local Author Festival on July 7. 3 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 837-7337, rakestrawbooks.com. —Pete Crooks


Get Framed

Eyes on Hartz recommends the perfect pair of sunglasses to fit your alter ego.

334 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 406-4887, eyesonhartz.com. —Rachelle Cihonski
Reader Pick: Eyeglasses Shop

The Boss will see you now

Noego, $385
Most likely to be seen: Crunching numbers and commanding the Monday morning meeting.

For The Hemingway wannabe

Noego, $385
Most likely to be seen: At Caffé La Scala on a Saturday morning, sipping a latte and typing the next great American novel on his MacBook Air.


Do you even lift, bro?

Activist Eyewear, $425
Most likely to be seen: Jogging to Vitality Bowls for a protein bowl after a major sweat session at Forma Gym.




The power couple

Oliver Peoples, $395
Most likely to be seen: Wearing matching shades and pushing a stroller around the Lafayette Reservoir, with a golden retriever trotting by their side.





Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Illesteva, $275
Most likely to be seen: On her way to bocce ball night at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo, wearing white jeans and a colorful top.





illustration by Matthieu Forichon

Never Come Empty-Handed

Looking to spoil the hostess with the most-est? Here are a few clever ways.

Pretty Paper

Paper Source
Reader Pick: Stationery Store
Pick up stationery, notepads, or a journal with your gal pal’s monogram from Paper Source. 740 Hearst Ave., Berkeley, (510) 665-7800; 1567 Botelho Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 357-6200, papersource.com.

Silly Sunnies

Boswell’s Party Supplies
Reader Pick: Party Store
For an outdoor party, pick up some funky oversized sunglasses from Boswell’s to elevate photos from ordinary to LOL-worthy. 1901 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 866-1644; 3483 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-9150, boswells-party.com.

Basket of delicacies

Danville Chocolates/Wine Thieves
Reader Picks: Sweets Shop; Wine Store
The darling Danville Chocolates offers custom gift baskets—and will even work a bottle of wine into the design. Wine Thieves will pick the perfect
one to pair with the sweets. Danville Chocolates, 175 E. Prospect Ave., Danville, (925) 314-0001, danvillechocolates.com; Wine Thieves, 2926 Domingo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 666-0565; 3401 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-9070, winethieves.com.

Beautiful Blooms

Orchard nursery and florist
Reader Pick: Plant Nursery
Choose a houseplant from Orchard—then have expert staff plant it in a pot that suits your host’s style. 4010 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-4474, orchardnursery.com. —Stacey Kennelly


Dry-Clean Dos and Don’ts

Reader Pick: Dry Cleaner

Country Club Cleaners has been in business for nearly 30 years. Here is owner Robert Strong’s advice for getting the best service.    

Do: Bring your patio cushions. “You’ll want to clean them before the weather gets nice and you start using your outdoor furniture.”

Don’t: Bring in drapes. “They’re too loosely woven. Go to someone who specializes in drapes, or they’ll get ruined.”

Do: Use the free app to schedule your pickup/drop-off. And Livermore and Pleasanton residents can take advantage of next-day delivery.

Don’t: Fret about the plastic bags. “We use the Garmento bag: It’s a reusable bag and a green alternative to plastic.”  
3412 Camino Tassajara, Danville, (925) 964-9965; 224 Rickenbacker Cir., Livermore, (925) 455-6000; 500 Bollinger Canyon Way, San Ramon, (925) 838-2000, countryclubcleaners.com. —Rachelle Cihonski


By Nico Oved

Star Ink

Get to know the artist who tattooed Stephen Curry.

Reader Pick: Tattoo Shop

Tattoo artist Moises Mendez has been honing his craft at Zebra Tattoo and Piercing Parlor in Walnut Creek for the past four years, and has built a significant client base that includes Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and his wife, Ayesha.

Ayesha started seeing Mendez first, and after a few visits, she brought her husband in.

“There’s a black Porsche parked out front . . . then Steph gets out of the car,” Mendez says. “I was wearing my Warriors shirt, and the first thing he said to me was, ‘Nice shirt.’ ”

Mendez created two tats for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player: less than/greater than symbols on his inner bicep and an A on his ring finger for Ayesha.

“I’ve never been called ‘sir’ or had someone be so thankful,” Mendez says. “I remember telling him, ‘You know what’s crazy? I was here watching you play last night, and now you’re sitting in my chair.’ He laughed, and I said, ‘Man you just made my year.’ ”

2467 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, (510) 649-8002; 1419 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1087, mrzebra.com. —Rachelle Cihonski


By the Numbers

So Fresh and So Clean

Reader pick: Car Wash

Lafayette Car Wash

300: Cars washed per day.

60: Percentage of recycled water used in the wash system.

45: Staff members.

25: Minutes it takes to hand-wash an average-sized vehicle.

2: Towel driers per car.

3319 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, lafayettecarwash.com.


Reader Picks

Car Repair
Roesbery Car Care
100 Railroad Ave., Antioch, (925) 778-6316; 400 Diablo Rd., Danville, (925) 837-7689; 3099 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 974-0785, roesberycarcare.com.

Car Wash
Lafayette Car Wash
3319 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-1190, lafayettecarwash.com.

Costume Shop
Boswell’s Party Supplies
1901 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 866-1644; 3483 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-9150, boswells-party.com.

Craft Store
Richards Arts and Crafts
225-A Alamo Plaza, Alamo, (925) 820-4731; 300 Market Pl., San Ramon, (925) 359-6900, shoprichards.com.

2345 Boulevard Cir., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-6877, florali.com.

Home Decor Store
Elsie Green House and Home
2954 Treat Blvd., Ste. C, Concord, (925) 323-5311, elsiegreen.com.

Interior Designer
Dawn Driskill, Danville Interior Design Gallery
300 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 838-8040, danvilledesigngallery.com.

California Landscapes
(925) 462-5501, cal-landscapes.com.

Diablo Auto Specialists
1413 Carlback Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 478-5721, diabloautospecialists.com.

Party Planner
Tamra Stephens
Danville, (650) 759-1019, facebook.com/tamrathepartystylist.

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