A comfortable chair. A glass of something satisfying at your side and a good book in your lap. It sounds like a perfect evening for many people who enjoy literary pursuits and libations.
Thankfully, there are a handful of bookstores around the country that offer a chance to browse and select books and will even pour you a drink in the process. These community and literary hubs have the bonus of beer, wine and spirits, with selections often as well-curated as what you’ll find on the bookshelves.
In the beer space, books often play a role in taproom culture, be it fully themed spots like Fiction Beer Company in Denver, or at Forest & Main in Ambler, Pennsylvania. The latter hosts a regular “Book Swap & Bottle Share” where customers are encouraged to “bring a book to swap and a bottle (or can) to share. This is the perfect excuse to dust off that bottle you’ve been wanting to share,” according to brewery social media posts.
Boozy bookshops have struck a chord with consumers. The combination of two quiet recreational activities is a welcome one, and shops offering this duo might be closer to home than you know.
Book & Bar
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
It’s almost impossible to just stop in for a quick visit to this staple of downtown Portsmouth that specializes in remaindered and used books. Several thousand are packed onto its shelves with new discoveries added all the time. Its café offers cocktails and has a draft list focused on local beers.
Book & Bar was closed for portions of the pandemic, although it used the time for refurbishments and remodeling, and just as it was set to reopen earlier this year a small flood caused some damages. The shop is calling it a “series of unfortunate events.” It is expected to reopen later this spring.
Book Bar Denver
Located in the Tennyson Street Cultural District, owners call this “a bookshop for wine lovers” and the thoughtful drinks list, including a blend from local urban winery Bonacquisti Wine Company, reflects that mission. Similar attention is paid to the books on the shelves, which focus on literary fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature.