You wouldn’t know it from the property values or the chi chi restaurants on Solano Avenue, but Albany has many a cheap option that can accommodate our miserly lifestyle.
Option #1: Albany Bowl , on San Pablo Ave., is one of the last, great bowling alleys around. Of course, the real treat is Monday and Tuesday nights where games cost $1.50 after 9. Yes $1.50. Get there early because lanes fill up fast (or alternatively, just get there late, Albany Bowl is open till 2). But if you have to wait, you can always hit up the bar or the adjoining diner/ coffee shop/ Thai restaurant. Perhaps we did not bowl a perfect game (we strive to bowl with style rather than accuracy), but we enjoy drinking inexpensive beers while wearing neon bowling shoes. Taxes schmaxes.
Option #2: Of course, some days neon shoes are not our thing. In which case, we turn to the Mallard Club. Another great Albany spot along San Pablo Ave. Mallard Club seems to fit three different kinds of bars into one space: the outdoor tiki area; the downstairs with its pool tables and hunting-lodge feel; the upstairs lounge area. Plus they even have Frogger for just a quarter (they used to have Ms. Pac Man, our personal favorite). Maybe we could find cheaper drinks elsewhere, but if we take our one strong drink downstairs, upstairs and outside--- well, it’s sort of like we went to three different bars for the price of one drink. (Geez we sound cheap.)
Option #3: On beautiful days, or when attempts to escape our problems through alcohol fall short, we will go outside to another favorite Albany spot: the Albany Bulb . The Albany Bulb, at the end of Buchanan St., is a former landfill that sticks out into the bay. Now it’s an urban-jungle kind of park. Remnants of the dump remain, turned into all kinds of signs, murals, sculptures, even this strange little plaster house that would’ve been awesome to find back in our fort-building days. There’s enough to explore on the Albany Bulb to keep us coming back long after April 15th passes. (Ok, actually the17th but who’s counting?)
By SFist Jessie