Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures anyone can have.Lloyd Alexander
When my boyfriend and I travel we always find a brewery/bar/restaurant/somewhere boozy for him. I’m there for the food and we’re both there for the adventure. For this post, I wanted to combine both of some of our favorite things about travel. Lately we’ve been throwing around the idea of going to Albany or around the area for a mini road trip when the weather gets warmer. It was during my research for doing that that I discovered SO MANY boozy bookstores or book cafes serving food and drinks, etc.
One day I’ll get to take that trip to visit a bunch of these (looking at you Rough Draft and Spotty Dog for the very near future). For now, I hope you enjoy some bookish and boozy locations that seem worthy of a trip just to visit them.
Famous Last Words: Toronto, Canada
Book-themed name. Literary decor and drinks menu. Book clubs and more. I’m sold. Famous Last Words is perfect for book lovers. Books line the walls, and it’s a cozy space to sit, sip, and read. Scrabble tiles adorn the bar itself with drink names, almost all of which are named after literature. The menu is even broken down by chapters depending on what you’re in the mood for.
Book clubs use the space often to meet and talk about, you guessed it, books. What makes it even better? The bar donates $20 to literacy programs for every book club they host. If you love a space that serves up delicious drinks and cares about the community, this needs to be on your list.
Rough Draft Bar and Books: Kingston, NY
Nestled in one of the most historic parts of town, Rough Draft Bar and Books is a landmark in and of itself. The surrounding buildings were all built before the Revolutionary War, making the bar/bookstore a great stop after some historical exploring. I just learned about this from one of my favorite Bookstagrammers who visited recently.
I love that Rough Draft is a combination of a bookstore, cafe, and bar. It checks every box for me. Cozy space to read with a great selection of books? Check. Delicious looking food? Check. Wide assortment of drinks? Check. They even have an audiobook store! But, wait! There’s more! They frequently host events like author chats, Nerd Jeopardy, and Geeks Who Drink Weekly Pub Quiz. In case you couldn’t tell, I NEED to visit.
Pretty sure this is also dog friendly if you sit outside and you KNOW that is an immediate “we’re going right now” for me.
BookBar: Denver, Colorado
Calling all wine lovers! There’s a book/wine bar in Denver that needs your attention. BookBar is located in the arts district of downtown Denver and is as cute as it sounds. Their food menu is designed to be shared by groups (looking at you book clubs) and the comfy couches and reading spaces make it the best place to curl up with a good book, your besties from book club, and some wine.
You can peruse their bookstore, host an event or book club, attend one of their MANY literary events for adults and kids, or just enjoy a tasty treat. This book bar is big on community and giving back. Their ingredients are locally sourced and portions of their proceeds are donated to BookGive which helps get free books into the hands of those who need them most.
Brewery Bhavana: Raleigh, NC
Brewery Bhavana‘s name is deceptive. It’s WAY more than just a brewery. There’s only one word that truly describes this space and that’s innovative. The brewery itself is Belgian-inspired and serves over 20 beers along with cocktails and wine. The food is not your typical bar food either. You can order dim sum, pork belly rice cakes, crab fried rice and don’t forget to save room for some cake.
Now to the books. The open floor plan lets you dive right next to books and the walls are lined floor to ceiling with books for sale. In case, that wasn’t gorgeous enough for you, there’s a flower shop and giant fig trees underneath a skylight that shines from 3 stories above.
Wait, this sounds expensive. While some of it can be, everything is worth it. BUT there’s a library featuring over 4,000 titles that was donated by the community. As a place that prides itself as being “the living room of the community” Brewery Bhavana truly exceeds that. Grab a bite or a drink. Sit down and discuss your latest read. No matter what you choose, know that you’ll never be disappointed by choosing this location.
Spotty Dog Books and Ales: Hudson, NY
Books are clearly the focus when you walk into this bookstore/bar. Spotty Dog Books and Ales has crammed books into every space, making it a playground for book lovers. Oh, look! There’s the bar! You’ll shout with joy as you set your newly purchased books on the counter and order up a local brew or sake or kombucha.
There are over 10,000 titles to choose from, so you know you’ll find one or 47 books you need to have. Watch out, the more you drink the prettier the books get. Don’t forget to stop by for the weekly Spotty Dog Trivia night to test your knowledge after reading so much.
Trident Booksellers and Cafe: Boston, MA
Spend the day exploring the shop-lined Newbury St, but make it a point to stop in this infamous bookstore. Trident Booksellers and Cafe is one of those rare places that does so much, but does it all really well. Their menu is massive and features everything from crepes, egg sandwiches, breakfast bowls to soups, falafels, Mac n cheese, and mouth-watering tacos. That’s before even getting to the drink side of the menu.
From physical books to audiobooks, there are thousands to choose from. Once you’ve stocked up on knowledge you can stop by their trivia night on Fridays or try your hand at their game night. Trident is also one of the only (if not the only) bookstores on this list to have an open-mic poetry night. You can read your own work to everyone in the cafe and cheer on others as they do the same!
Page and Palette: Fairhope, Alabama
Open since 1968, Page and Palette knows what they’re doing when it comes to books and drinks. They have more author events than any other establishment I’ve ever seen which is such a cool way to get readers closer to the people who imagined them into being. Alongside author events you can find book clubs and even live music.
Inside the bookstore is a very fun special event venue called The Book Cellar. The space hosts a variety of events from book clubs to live music and features a bar with literary cocktails and brews. Their combination of food, books, and music make this seem like such a great venue to spend lots of time inside!
A Road Trip in the Making?
I wouldn’t be able to hit all of these on a road trip, but quite a few of these are absolutely within roadtripping distance. I could hop over to Boston for a few days to visit Trident then mosey on over to Canada for some time in Famous Last Words. On my way back down I could stop by Spotty Dog and Rough Draft to put an exclamation point on the trip before heading home. What do you think? I’m already looking at my calendar!