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March 16, 2015

The Best Bar & Book Pairings For Bookworms & Barflies

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There is nothing better than getting lost in a good book — except maybe getting lost in a good beer while you’re reading a good book. If you want to do some quality reading in a quasi social place, here are some of my recommendations for your reading and drinking pleasure. Stay booky, my friends.

The Book: "Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway or anything by Kerouac
The Bar: Vesuvio
Go to City Lights Books next door, grab something to read, and then tuck into a corner table at Vesuvio. If you’re lucky enough to get an upstairs spot by one of the big windows you can spy on tourists between chapters. Vesuvio is a classic and deserves some classic literature (read Howl, but that seems just a little too on the nose) and it has a good selection of beer on tap to boot. 

The Book: "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn
The Bar: Zeitgeist
Fans of this season of American Horror Story should especially give this title a read. This story about a family that intentionally breeds freaks for a circus pairs perfectly with the colorful characters who inhabit Zeitgeist (one of my all time favorite bars). Pair with a Bloody Mary, extra spicy, and pick a spot away from the main porch (although not too near the planters because mice). The chaotic background music, the sunshine, the smell of smoke, and the other patrons make you feel like you’re in a dark circus of your own.

The Book: "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
The Bar: Brewcade
Every self respecting geek, nerd, maxie zoom dweebie, what have you needs to read this book. It’s essentially a dystopian love letter to ’80s video games and pop culture. Brewcade gets majorly crowded on weekend nights so if you want some quality book time I’d hit this spot when it opens around 3 p.m. Grab a beer or their famous slushy wine on tap ( trust me, TRUST ME) and a roll of quarters and strap in for an interactive experience. In Ready Player One the main character has to play classic cabinet video games to survive in a virtual world and at Brewcade you can take reading breaks to go play the same games. “Joust” much?

The Book: "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler
The Bar: El Rio
Let’s be honest, sometimes people judge you when you read celebrity biographies. El Rio is such a great, unpretentious bar, it’s hard to imagine the other barflies having an issue with Yes Please (although seriously, if anyone gives you shit for reading this awesome book you should just channel Poehler’s inner poise and turn the other cheek). Grab a fruity cocktail, curl up at a patio table, and become inspired by Poehler’s life (although pick a corner towards the back, you’re gonna want to cry). Bonus: a little cat wanders around El Rio and I know from personal experience that if you’re quiet and still, she will let you pet her. Drinks + books + cats? What is this, your birthday?

The Book: "Love in a Time Of Cholera" by Gabriel García Márquez
The Bar:
The Royale
A sultry, epic romance like this one simply cannot be read in any old pub. The Royale is romantically lit and has lots of private seating available upstairs. This bar feels fancy but has a drink selection that’s kind on the wallet and a comfortable atmosphere. Also the walls are hung with local art so you’ll feel extra cultured. Grab some wine or their potent sangria and indulge in this fantastic read. Feel free to make eyes with someone while you’re enjoying Márquez’s classic, it can pretty much only enhance the experience.

The Book: "Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut
The Bar:
Sweet Woodruff
The vibe in this bar perfectly matches the fantastic melancholy that so many Vonnegut books portray. Sit by the window at Sweet Woodruff and watch the people hurrying by while you sit still. Listen to the sounds of the kitchen behind you. Like Vonnegut writes, this is “those places ... where all the different kinds of truths fit together.” Obviously he wasn’t talking about Sweet Woodruff in particular ,but order from their dinner menu (it changes every night) and sip a beer, read, and think about this great writer.

Photo by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson / CC BY

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