Booze and books just go together. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Mailer…just about every single author ever—there’s a connection between fine spirits and fine words. And there are a handful of bars that make that connection quite literally, by serving their drinks amidst stacks of the world’s best literature. They’re library bars—cozy, often dark and kind of quiet watering holes where you can get a classic cocktail and thumb through a classic novel. Check out the gallery for several of the most picturesque library bars, and imagine yourself drinking Scotch in a place with many leather-bound books that smells of rich mahogany.
The Drawing Room, Southbank A secret bookcase fittingly leads you through the BFI Southbank’s Benugo Cafe and into the cosy Drawing Room. Books line the walls of the intimate cocktail bar, and comfy armchairs make it the perfect place to escape with some booze and a book.
The Fable, Holborn This book lover’s paradise tucked away in Holborn Viaduct is a prime spot to take your favourite book on a date, or to pick up a new read. The charming bar has literary decor, lovely lending selection, wonderful natural light, and a great drink selection of course.
The Society Club, Soho Bookstore plus bar… is there any more perfect business plan? The cosy and well-read Society Club in Soho has figured it out. With a wide drink and snack menu and even wider selection of books, the bar will keep you in great company.
Scarfes Bar, Holborn The Rosewood London hotel knows a thing or two about comfort, made clear in the delightfully cosy Scarfes Bar, without a doubt a book lover’s dream bar. The classy spot has an epic collection of books and comfy spots to sit and read, not to mention a killer cocktail menu.
Bush Theatre Bar, Shepherd’s Bush The Bush Theatre renovated the old Shepherd’s Bush Library to create a hybrid facility including a theatre, bar, play library, and writer’s workshop. The gloriously cosy library buzzes with creative energy, and is stocked with play scripts and theatre analyses, while the bar’s always got something nice on tap plus an array of freshly made treats and coffee.
The Book and Record Bar, West Norwood Book and music lovers can’t miss a trip to the Book and Record Bar, featuring a hearty collection of classic reads and classic albums. Lounge with a book and coffee during the daylight hours, then stick around for a live show and a pint in the evening.
W Hotel Bar, Leicester Square Couple a good read with a good view by visiting the W Hotel in Central London. The luxe bar gives a beautiful overlook of Leicester Square, with great cocktails, cosy sofas, and plenty of design and travel books to tuck into if you haven’t brought along your own.
Malt Whisky Library, Bloomsbury Cosying up with a good book and an even better drink will guarantee the perfect afternoon for any book lover, and the warm and inviting atmoshpere of the Whisky Library at the Grange Hotel is ideal for a lazy day out with a book. Contemplate your next read while you sip a well-aged whisky, then go ahead and grab a second drink while you read.
The Gorringe Park Pub, Tooting Go dow the rabbit hole at the Gorringe Park’s secret library channelling Alice in Wonderland. The eclectic pub is the perfect place to go to escape into a good book, and it’s drink and snack menu doesn’t hurt either!
Far Rockaway, Shoreditch Mix it up with a super afternoon at Far Rockaway, which has a massive comic book library to explore while you enjoy a signature drink from the full bar.
The Phene, Chelsea The Phene has class and culture. With a wide selection of reading materials to pair with a drink, the bar’s cosy indoor area as well as its private garden are ideal places to settle in with a pint and a book.
Library, Covent Garden If you fancy being fancy, the members only Library Club is a book lover’s dream. The private club has a selective membership scheme and a steep fee, but the benefits are well worth it: access to their extensive reading collection, wellness programs, bar, and overnight rooms.