Typically, a literature lover will utter “Oh, I could spend all day in a bookshop” to everyone that makes eye contact with them.
Often a slight overstatement, sure, but offer them wine and a space to chat about prose until close? Then, the bookish brigade will be exaggerating this declaration no more when they find the worlds of bookshops and wine bars colliding.
Blackstock Road’s BookBar nails this very idea; making what is often viewed as a solitary activity into a communal hangout.
Every time you finish a great book, you inevitably want to shout about it to anyone who will listen. And while your housemate might nod along politely to you waxing lyrical about Monica Helsey’s Really Good, Actually, on your quiet night in; really, you want to be speaking about your favourite chapters at places like BookBar.
Founder Chrissy Ryan recognises the concept of losing yourself in a book, and raises you with the idea of sharing your love of literature with friends over a glass of wine. Calling BookBar a “warm, welcoming space for people to discover and socialise around books”, it’s simply a place to share what inspires you about the items you’re surrounded by in the space: books!
Head down and you also might catch sight of one of our Secret London stickers, which signify our very favourite places around the city!
Secret London’s visit to BookBar
Our resident videographer Phoebe paid a visit to BookBar this year, and quickly dubbed it her new favourite bookstore in London.
With books tucked into every corner, a recommendation wall on a blackboard to help you pick out your next read in their downstairs cellar, great coffee and “generously poured” wine, it’s safe to say this place is widely recommended on all fronts by the Secret London team.
What’s happening at BookBar?
Aside from just being a brilliant space for a drink and shouting about the genius of The Island Of Missing Trees, BookBar hosts inclusive events throughout the year for the community to revel in.
At sessions with authors speaking about their work, you can hear authors you love or perhaps are just discovering speak about their work. BookBar’s BookClub’s upcoming sessions include inspiration from Eliza Clark and Alice Slater in conversation about their new novels – Penance and Death Of A Bookseller, respectively – on July 12; and Caleb Azumah Nelson discussing his critically-acclaimed work Small Worlds on July 17.
There’s also live music, wine-tastings and even “read-dating”, where you might ignite a modern-day Bennet-Darcy situation.
BookBar also names a Book Of The Month and a Wine Of The Month — this month you can enjoy Bellies by Nicola Dinan alongside a bottle of La Vie En Orange (Languedoc-Roussillon, France). You can even grab yourself a glass for £4 when purchased alongside the book of the month.
Flicking through pages proves to be a natural remedy all year round, and BookBar’s programme Shelf Medicate is (probably) scientifically proven to give the blues a kicking. Flick through these prescription boxes, each with their own name and description.
Perhaps you’re in need of the “Sophisticated Reader Prescription” a tonic best served to those who wish to impress with a cocktail of “classics and current trends”. Or maybe, you need the shot-in-the-arm of “Commute Buster”, a package of thrilling page-turners to speed up a daily journey.
Shelf-Medicate bundles are selected for each individual order, and this personal touch is ideal for anyone looking to reaffirm their love of reading. Plus, you’ll be able to rave about them all when you rock up to an evening at BookBar, with your glass of wine in tow.
“It’s never about how many books you’ve read that year or whether you’ve read the latest prize-winners” Chrissie Ryan adds on her website. “At BookBar, books are social.”