Best After-Hours Spot

Birdland Jazzista Social Club

Formerly known as the Birdland Jazz Club and Multi Culti Grill, this Friday night venture has become a veritable institution in Berkeley. At its genesis, the place served barbecue to the public and proprietor Michael Parayno allowed patrons to roast s'mores on the sidewalk. He ended those practices after a spate of permit battles with the City of Berkeley, but the venue itself is still going strong. Now open to members only (the definition of a "member" is fairly unrestrictive, apparently), the club is essentially a large weekly party, held in Parayno's backyard and driveway. He books two sets of jazz and world music a night, featuring such crackerjack local artists as Alex Pinto, Jaz Sawyer, Josh Jones, Valerie Troutt, Crystal Monee Hall, Dayna Stephens, and Tito y Su Son de Cuba. Recently, Parayno expanded to include an earlier set on Saturday and an afternoon show on Sunday, with chicken and waffles included. But Friday nights are still his bread and butter. Few places in Berkeley keep the music bumping after 11 p.m. — the time of Birdland's second set. This one is a rare treat.

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