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During a Saturday of poking around antique shops, I stopped in a place on Tennyson Street owned by a man with a lot of opinions. He smoked a cigar and told me about the neighborhood, how he had grown up there and didn’t approve of the gentrification.
His most acidic opinion was about Billy’s Inn: “Can you believe they redid that place? It used to be a s***hole.”
I made the former s***hole my next stop that day, and though I hadn’t known Billy’s before, I immediately loved what it had become.
I appreciate the classy, open-bar area in the front, and the family-friendly tables in the back, but I’ve always walked past them, out to the expansive patio—even when the weather is colder, thanks to the seasonal enclosure of the space. I pick a table close to the space heaters and order one of the house margaritas.
Although I’m not as critical of change as the antique-shop owner, gentrification in a neighborhood’s center can alienate the locals. Billy’s friendly waitstaff, hearty burgers, and laid-back atmosphere, however, seem to perfectly echo the Berkeley neighborhood’s younger vibe. If you’re looking to remember the past, check out the pictures around the bar, which feature the older locals who used to frequent Billy’s.
Billy’s happy hour runs all day on Monday and from 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. They offer $1.50 off all wines, $2 Bud Light and PBR drafts, $3.25 on other draft beers, $3.75 original margaritas, $4.50 sangrÃa, and $4.75 strawberry margaritas. There are discounts on appetizers, and a late-night special from Sunday through Thursday, 9 to11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. to midnight, showcases a discounted food menu and the original margarita for $3.99.
4403 Lowell Blvd, 303-455-9733