There’s no better feeling than getting lost in a riveting book with a glass of red wine in hand. The state of being enthralled by words on a page is just as confusingly lovely as being a little bit drunk. Why not combine literature and wine this weekend and head to one of these gorgeous library bars. You’ll feel right at home. Well, not your home exactly – although if you do have a personal library in your London pad, can we be friends?
1. B.Y.O.C East
The latest addition to the B.Y.O.C. family, which opened earlier this month, is hidden beneath the James Cochran restaurant on Bevis Marks near Aldgate. Like its sister venues, the concept behind B.Y.O.C East is that guests bring their own booze and enjoy bespoke, personalised cocktails concocted by the expert mixologists behind the bar. One thing you won’t need to bring, however, is reading material. Paying homage to the British Library, this snug basement bar is also home to 1,600 books. So you can sip on your Amaretto Sour, safe in the knowledge that you’re surrounded by literary classics.
19 Bevis Marks, London, EC3A 7JA
2. The Cinnamon Club
This wonderful airy and light space, which is now a Grade II listed building, was once the Reading Room of the old Westminster Library. It’s now home to the modern Indian restaurant, The Cinnamon Club, but has still retained its literary spirit in the book-filled walls. Now in its 15th year, the restaurant’s delicious success is proof that a way to a Londoner’s heart is through remarkable words and fantastic food.
30-32 Great Smith St, SW1P 3BU
3. The Fable
The magic of The Fable is in its attention to detail. Whether you’re stepping inside for cocktails, nibbles or a meal, you’ll quickly spot its enchanting elements. Looking out onto the Holborn Viaduct, The Fable offers a space of tranquility in the heart of the city. Being surrounded by the leather-bound books that fill the quirky colourful shelves, as well as the pile of books that cascade around the dining table, you’ll be extremely tempted to pick one up and get lost in a fairy tale within its pages.
52 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2FD
4. Far Rockaway
If you’re less concerned about comparing the work of the Brontë sisters and are more interested in the battle between Marvel and DC, then Far Rockaway‘s reading room could be the spot for you. This slice of New York in Shoreditch is home to an extensive comic book collection, which you can peruse at will with a beer and one of their epic pizzas. If you’ve been keeping up with the major blockbuster movies of the last few years, you’ll know that it’s an exciting time for super hero fans. But if you’re a little clueless, there’s no better place to scratch up on your knowledge of Doctor Strange and the rest of the Avengers, before the next 11,000 movies come out…
97-113 Curtain Rd, EC2A 3BS
5. The Drawing Room at Benugo Bar & Kitchen
Within the BFI Southbank’s bar and kitchen, you may be vigilant enough to notice a fake bookcase. Give it a little push and you’ll stumble into the ‘secret’ Drawing Room, complete with book-lined walls and comfy armchairs. At this point, we hope you’ll grab yourself a gin and tonic, sit back with a wonderful read and just be satisfied that this little piece of London is yours to enjoy for that moment.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT.
6. Scarfes Bar
Could you get a more cosy scene than this? It’s like all our winter dreams rolled into one, complete with roaring open fire and absolutely killer cocktails. The timeless Rosewood London hotel is a little oasis of calm in the centre of the city and Scarfes Bar couldn’t be a more classy spot to brush up on some of the classics.
252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
7. The Phene
This popular Chelsea haunt flaunts a book collection behind the bar. Although you might be tempted to head straight out into the much-loved beer garden during the summer, the lovely literary-filled interiors are enough to keep you satisfied in the colder months. So when you order a G&T, make sure you pick up some reading material too!
9 Phene St, London SW3 5NY