The Bear’s Lair - Bars - 2495 Bancroft Way, Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA - Restaurant Reviews

The Bear’s Lair   - Bars - 2495 Bancroft Way, Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA - Restaurant Reviews
9/4/2016

Go to Ben at Bear's Lair, he makes thee most artistically beautifully delicious cocktails and he is just so personal and will make you feel at home here. Decent prices and great food--get the fried chicken sandwich. Bar service is amazing and attentive.... GO GO GO!!! GOOO BEARS!!!

6/14/2016

THE WORST lunch experience I've ever had!Our lunch took a total of 1.5 hours - for a grilled cheese lunch...Horrible service! Took half an hour for us to get 4 tiny cups of water. The waiter didn't even show us their lunch menu (so we thought we only had the limited options on the main menu). He couldn't remember the name for the soup of the day, never came back to check on the table after food was served (we never got a water refill), we had to come up to ask for the bill and bring it back to the cashier at the end, And zero apology from them.The food was less than desirable. My Bacon-Brie-Grapes sandwich: they ran out of brie, there were TWO grapes in it! I kid you not...The fries were cold and limp, we asked them to change it, came back out exactly the same, we couldn't bother to ask for new ones.It's a shame they keep calling it Bears Lair because the old Bears Lair was a million times better.

4/8/2016

Food is pretty mediocre. Service was not too shabby and was alright. I got the buffalo chicken pizza, and it was a bit too salty. I don't know if it was just me, but My palette felt unclean, especially with the overwhelming taste from the cheese along with the heaviness of the sauce. Apart from the food, the Bears Lair is a great place to get drinks and to watch sports. The drinks in general here seem to be pretty good, and they do have a pretty wide selection of beers.

fried chicken sandwich with side of coleslaw fried chicken sandwich with side of coleslaw buffalo chicken pizza buffalo chicken pizza 9/17/2016

Worst bar experience ever, waited 45 minutes for a pitcher of beer, 30 minutes for a basket of fries, unless they grow their own potatoes, that's ridiculous. I would not recommend this place to anyone, EVER!!!

12/8/2015

I really really wanted to like this place because the space is so beautiful, and all of the food on the menu sounds delicious. Plus I previously came here just for a tailgating beer special on the patio during a Cal football game, and that was great. But overall, after a sit-down meal and experiencing the service, it was pretty mediocre.SERVICE:We ordered two beers with our meal. 20 minutes later, no beer and no food. We reminded one of the staff that we saw walking around (I think it was a busboy or cook) for the beer, and he told one of the servers.40 minutes later, the food finally comes out, but still no beer. We reminded a server about the beer.1 hour later, we were nearly finished with our food, so we decided to give up on the beer.As a former server, I understand that orders can be forgotten when it gets busy. But...it wasn't busy at all. The restaurant was half capacity at most. When a server finally realized at the end of our meal (when we asked for the check), that we never got the beers, she did offer two free ones. It was a nice gesture that I appreciated, but I would've liked if we were able to drink them with the food as we originally intended. What was a little irritating is the fact that the server that had originally taken our food/drink order was about to charge us for the free beer we were drinking when she saw that it wasn't on the check/FOOD:Spicy Shrimp & Prosciutto pizza ($14): The sauce was flavorful and lot spicier than expected, which I actually enjoyed. BUT I didn't like how it was BABY shrimp instead of actual shrimp on the pizza. To me, that menu description is misleading. Just call it baby shrimp. Prosciutto was pretty good, but not the freshest.Wild Mushroom & Rocket pizza ($11): Pretty good flavors. Could have used more rocket greens though. I thought that was misleading as well.Pretty good food, but not worth the 40 minute wait and the subpar service.

Spicy shrimp & prosciutto pizza ($14): Good flavors, very spicy. but BABY shrimp not regular shrimp Spicy shrimp & prosciutto pizza ($14): Good flavors, very spicy. but BABY shrimp not regular shrimp Wild Mushroom & Rocket pizza ($11) Wild Mushroom & Rocket pizza ($11) 8/10/2016 Updated review

This is for the bar only, did not try the food. I give them props for finally getting things right. Cable on the 3 large tvs, a great selection of beers from a select few cali breweries.  A few actual bartenders and if u smart one of the best liqour selections near the campus. Hibiki 12. They have it. If u dont know what that means. Shhhh it will be gone soon.

Look close Look close 6/11/2016 Previous review Came here when they first "reopened" beers and cocktails were good but u could tell things were just… Came here when they first "reopened" beers and cocktails were good but u could tell things were just sorta thrown together. What campus bar cant show their own school games? Returned for a graduation and decided to stop by for a beer.  Menu was wrong, bad pours and understaffed. Epic fail. Why did they ruin a good college memory? Read more 10/23/2015

Hmmm, there are two listings and two separate addresses for this establishment called The Bear's Lair on Yelp! I remember the original The Bear's Lair having grown up here in the area. I was not exactly a fan of the original as it was too loud and crowded for my taste, even when I turned the legal age of drinking. Not my scene.The Bear's Lair I went to was the one located on the ground floor of the newly renovated Eshelman Hall, no longer at the lower level of the ASUC Student Union. The Bear's Lair I went to is now much more sophisticated, upscale, classy, and minimalist. Gone is the loud, obnoxious atmosphere. In it's place is music that is part of the background ranging from classic pop and rock to today's new tunes. Sometimes depending who is maintaining the music, the noise level--it can be a tad bit too loud. I did request they turn down a tad and they complied with my request as I was studying for a French quiz.At the moment, it is about the hamburgers done my way for me, bespoke aka custom. I am a tad bit irked that they do not cook hamburgers rare for food safety reasons, medium rare is about the best they can do. I add bacon, Swiss cheese and avocado on the side with steak frites.The staff are pretty cool and chill. Yet, service can be slow and a miss. I have had to go up to pay my check instead of having the server attend to it and bring my change.I quite like this new version of The Bear's Lair. For me, it is like discovering that obnoxious, fraternity guy at university who kept picking on you grew up into a sophisticated man of the world with elegant class and exquisite taste. Who prefers wine and champagne to beer. And discovered a better method of showing how much he actually adored you back in the day as well as in present, real time without teasing you so much. And can do so on French! (Ooh la la!)

Bespoke hamburger with provalone cheese, bacon, with avocado on the side and steak frites. Bespoke hamburger with provalone cheese, bacon, with avocado on the side and steak frites. Bespoke Hamburger with bacon, Swiss Cheese, avocado and steak frites. Bespoke Hamburger with bacon, Swiss Cheese, avocado and steak frites. 11/27/2015

Well guys, this is not the Bear's Lair that we all knew and loved. I hate it as much as the next guy, but I don't think it's fair to give this a terrible rating JUST because it's changed. That said, I'll never love this place, because it feels like someone replaced an old friend with a plastic mannequin version. Overall, I give it a very middle-of-the-road ranking:The interior is very clean, to the point of being too sterile. Could be that as time goes on, it'll gain some character, but right now, the best way I can put it is that this is exactly what you would picture if you imagined a bar that was owned by Cal Dining (for any students out there). Lots of fake wood and plastic and metal. It doesn't feel like somewhere you can really get comfortable.The bartenders that I met were all incredibly nice, and the beer selection is actually excellent. Far better than you would expect from an on-campus bar. That leads me to further believe that they're really not trying to cater to students at all. It's just too bad that the on-campus bar doesn't seem to want to fit in with the campus community.Overall, I really hope that this new Bear's Lair stops taking itself so seriously soon. Bring back BTC and cater to the students whose university you're sharing! You've got half the equation with the beer and the bartenders, but you need to invite the campus in, not push them away!

10/19/2015

The new Bear's Lair completely fails to live up to the name of the previous establishment.It's far too posh and ritzy for a college bar now. They don't serve pitchers (pints only) and lacks the appeal that it had when I was a student. Beat the Clock has since relocated so don't expect to find it here.It's like they're trying to appeal to the Silicon Valley workforce who have graduated from Cal... and I guess they failed to realize that they're on the Berkeley campus among frugal students looking to have some fun, and not in Silicon Valley among the loaded tech crowds.

8/5/2016

Nothing like sitting at the bar and tasting beer to find just the right match for my Thursday afternoon!

10/27/2015

Finally walking into The Bear's Lair after its reopening (and after your home girl is finally of legal drinking age) kind of felt like a homecoming of sorts - the type of moment every student is promised after attending Cal for three to four years, being able to drink on campus is an achievement of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the food at Bear's Lair. Burgers and pizzas seemed to be taken a few notches up with nice presentation, quality ingredients. And portions were solid for the prices (although we ate there on a Monday when all burgers and pizzas were 25% off, great deal). Service was a little slow, despite the Lair being relatively empty, but I'm chalking that up to the newness of the establishment. The Lair is most likely just getting its bearing back and setting up to be a classic establishment on campus, this time with a few more bells and whistles than before.

Lamb burger Lamb burger Turkey burger Turkey burger See all photos from Olivia T. for The Bear's Lair 10/21/2015

It's back. The Lair is back! Too bad it's back with more of a whimper.Let me start with the positives. I love the layout of the new Lair. It's definitely more chic with sleek tables that don't look coated with celebratory beer spills from a class of 1996 graduation party. The inside is also spacious - alas, I can breathe comfortably inside the Lair! My favorite part is the patio. I love the view of Eshleman rather than the view of a slimy brick wall. Although I have to admit, I kind of miss the patio being street side because it was always fun seeing somebody you know to pester them to stop being a square for a a minute and join in the festivities at the Lair. Ah, Fridays as a fourth year Berkeley (undergrad) student!Now, let me get to the negatives. I don't like how they are taking the "classy" approach to the Lair. No pitchers? No "Beat the Clock"? Really. This is a college bar, not a bar in the middle of tech-hub San Francisco! (It's amazing how far down the SF tech-gentrification has come - all the way down to the campus of Berkeley.) Let's take the pretentiousness down a notch because for this bar to thrive like the Lair 1.0, it needs to draw students. And to draw students, it needs to be a fun. And for a bar to be fun, well, pitchers and "Beat The Clock" will definitely help a bar to be fun. I also want to comment that the bathroom situation is a little weird. A co-ed bathroom? I seriously thought I was in the women's restroom the first time I was there because there were no urinals. But I can like with this change- the change in drink policy though is something that I simply cannot sit by, twiddling my thumbs (although, really that's all I'm going to be doing; that and sign the petition going around online). Bring back pitchers and "Beat The Clock"!

9/12/2015

This 3-Star Review can easily improve to a 5-Star Review if they bring back the some facsimile of the real Bear's Lair. But, it's a cowardly, new world in which we live. The Bear's Lair can't sell pitchers because it "Encourages binge drinking". It's a bar. On a college campus. It was meant for binge drinking, especially before going to Memorial Stadium. But I guess it is much better if people just down multiple rounds of shots, right?A confident binge drinker shouldn't need that much encouragement anyways. Especially on Game Day. But, I am not sure it's Game Day because the 3 TV's (yes 3, not 30, I had time to count them repeatedly) were all dark.I get that it requires an Act of Congress to get Pac-12 Networks, but any game would help on a fall Saturday. Help us Bear's Lair, you're our only hope.

No signs outside yet either. No signs outside yet either. 9/4/2016

This is one of the best "new" unkept secrets at Berkeley. Great staff, great drinks, awesome food. Ask for Ben and have him tell you about the "I Am Become Death"

3/9/2016

On the one hand, the new Bear's Lair is clean and pristine and serves posh food and drink. On the other hand, the old Bear's Lair closed before I was 21, and now this is what replaces it?? The old Bear's Lair was a place for students to hang out and Beat the Clock; now very few students spend time here, and the restaurant is instead inhabited by mostly wealthy clientele. I know I shouldn't be comparing the two, but it is sad to me when a bar on a college campus is clearly not intended for the students.

4/4/2016

In my opinion, this is a really nice place to hang out with friends or just do work. The waiter, Laura( I believe that is her name) is super friendly and has knowledge of the menu. Definitely recommend this spot.

1/4/2016

The positives: A nice selection of beersClose to Haas for basketball gamesNegatives:ServiceServiceDid I mention service?Prior to Utah game with in excess of 100 people coming in and several leaving the staffing consisted of:One very nice and patient young man who remained calm throughout the chaos.One brand new hire who the young man was training in addition to running the bar, and delivering food.One cookWhere is management?

9/12/2015

Pizza is extremely on point. I'd equate it to the level of gourmet pizza at Jupiter's. Pretty standard selection of beers. Some cool cocktails but they don't have ingredients for all of them yet. That being said, opening and close times were not very clear, so after the waiter took our order, we were disappointed to find out that the kitchen had already closed and we couldn't have our delicious pizzas. However, they provided some bar snacks on the house for the misunderstanding. For that, I'd give them a three-star rating. If they are able to make their opens and close times were more clear, I'd change my review to a four-star. Definitely worth a try during the day. It's nice to observe campus life while enjoying a casual beer and unique pizzas during the daytime.

1/23/2016

I want to give this place a decent review because the few people who work there seem really but this place is severly under-staffed. I came here for a football game back in September when this place opened and they weren't ready for the large crowd that came to pre-game. It took 20 minutes to get a waiter and another 30 mins for food to arrive. Fast forward to today and I coke here before a basketball game and once again service is super slow and my burger is dripping in grease to the point I could not finish it..

Disgusting burger. Bun was drenched in oil and burger was dripping grease Disgusting burger. Bun was drenched in oil and burger was dripping grease 12/12/2015

Not sure why people are rating this lowly. I would have killed for a bar like this in college. The steak fries I had where crispy on the outside, airy on the inside. A delectable experience. The lamb burger I had was gamey, but hey, it's lamb! Cocktails out of this world (if you spring for the good stuff). Love the modern interior and sophisticated ambiance. One small complaint: no burnt sugar for the absinthe. But hey, you can't have it all. Enjoy, and Go Bears!

The Teddy: Hennessy Cognac, Dom Benedictine, Lemon, Egg whites, Simple syrup, Pimento bitters, Cinnamon The Teddy: Hennessy Cognac, Dom Benedictine, Lemon, Egg whites, Simple syrup, Pimento bitters, Cinnamon The Teddy: Hennessy Cognac, Dom Benedictine, Lemon, Egg whites, Simple syrup, Pimento bitters, Cinnamon The Teddy: Hennessy Cognac, Dom Benedictine, Lemon, Egg whites, Simple syrup, Pimento bitters, Cinnamon The Oso: Epsolon tequila, yellow chartreuse, lime, agave nectar, basil The Oso: Epsolon tequila, yellow chartreuse, lime, agave nectar, basil
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