BookBar Makes Books And Literature A Social Affair


Photo: Sarai Nissan
Photo: Sarai Nissan

It isn’t often that people get the best of all possible worlds, but Denver’s own BookBar is–beyond shadow of a doubt–one of the places where that is possible.

Nicole Sullivan, the owner of the quirky establishment and a CU Denver alumna, said that the idea of linking literature and alcohol came to her when she was in fact reading a book and drinking a glass of wine. As unlikely as it was that no one else had thought of such a brilliant idea, because alcohol and books are perhaps the two most antithetical combinations but also a pairing that is undeniably superb, BookBar is the first of its kind.

Quite fittingly, the bookstore-meets-bar is housed in a former bookstore on Tennyson St. (the former establishment, of course, lacked a bar). The space opens at 10 a.m. for those eager to get a cup of coffee and a nice whiff of printed paper and closes at 10.p.m. for people getting an indulgent glass of wine while  finishing those last few pages.

The exterior of the eccentric storefront is a commonplace brick building; upon entering the space, there are high ceilings overhanging dark-stained bookshelves, exposed brick lining the walls, and contrastingly modern seating for their patrons. The decor of the space isn’t entirely beguiling–it is reminiscent of a conventional bookstore cafe–but that is not the reason people go to Bookbar. The space is a home away from home for those who need a break from reality, who want to get enveloped within the world of literature  and maybe have a beer too.

The book floor of BookBar is attentively conscripted, vending marvelous books while still maintaining its indie milieu. Sullivan notes the importance of shopping locally and the detriment that large chain stores have on small communities. The ability to create a local watering hole as well as a locally owned bookstore is a significantly influential component to Denver’s literary and bar scene. 

Not only is Bookbar a place to whet one’s literary and alcoholic appetite, but the space also houses an area for the community to come together for book clubs as well as events throughout the day and into the evening. Bookbar often hosts book launches, happy hour with local authors, and regular book clubs or “reading socials” throughout the week, over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. 

It is intriguing to have a space where an individual can not only read and have a drink–an action that would be guffawed at if done anywhere else outside of Denver–but also be able to talk to other people about fascinating books, enticing wine and food from a delectable, locally sourced  menu.

BookBar is a space that cultivates the action of cherishing what is there, the ability to savor what is in that moment. From putting everything down and really concentrating on that line of poetry to actually, genuinely tasting the beverages at hand, the experience is all about being able to calm down, bask in the environment, and truly relish that moment. 

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