What does a soul fond of books crave for? Simple. A book in the hand and the solace to read. But isn’t it even better when you can enjoy the book with a steaming cup of your favourite tea or coffee? Enter book cafes. They transform the very idea of the cafe experience… because life pauses inside a book cafe. While many avid readers enter book cafes to lose themselves in the pages of the book, there are many who simply enter them just to get a feel of the quiet atmosphere the presence of books creates.

Neither Home, Nor Workplace
The very idea of entering a book cafe is far more engaging than entering a library clad with silence. Book cafes combine the traditional bookstore with the traditional coffee shop – a place for leisure that is conducive to conversation. It is a space where people gather voluntarily, informally, and frequently to step away from their usual world. Living in an age where the internet is all-pervasive, what remains far removed is the culture of reading. Book Cafes have helped to keep the reading culture alive.

A Tradition of Literary Discussions
The connection between cafes and people is not new. It’s age-old and goes back to the 1600s. Established for people to connect and enjoy, many coffee houses saw an additional feature from the 19th century – books! Favoured by renowned artists and intellectuals, these cafes were the ideal spots for discussion and inspiration. The culture slowly spread, and book cafes became a tradition across the globe. 

Upon F. Scott Fitzgerald asking, Ernest Hemingway had read the manuscript of “The Great Gatsby” at La Closerie des Lilas in Paris. Russian writers Dostoevsky and Pushkin were known to frequent the Literary Café in St Petersburg. Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and T.S. Eliot and Hemingway were all regulars at Cafe La Rotonde in Paris. Vesuvio bar and café was established in San Francisco 1948 and became a popular hangout spot for the writers, poets and other artists. 

Not Just for Readers
Book cafes have become a hub for readers and non-readers alike. Even for those who are on the lookout for good food, warm drinks and some peace (and maybe a few trendy pics in between!) They are the perfect place for a blessed date with books! Just imagine being engrossed in a world of fiction, fantasy, and reality while lavishly sipping your foamy latte or soothing lemon tea.

An intermingling of passion and people, book cafes have successfully broken the notion that readers prefer seclusion to enjoy their books. They bring readers together, encourage discussions and inspire them to become accomplished writers. And what an amazing accomplishment that is!

Our Favourite Cafes!
The relaxation spots that tick all the right boxes, here’s a tour of some of our favourite book cafes across India:

  1. Kitab Khana, Mumbai
    Part of our bookish tour (and every Mumbai tour, to be honest) Kitab Khana is boutique heaven for book lovers. A welcoming atmosphere, and aroma of bread and an enriching collection of books, Kitab Khana is a must-visit.

  2. The Nerdy Indian, New Delhi
    The Nerdy Indian is the first concept cafe that gives its customer a book or three based on their order. Getting a book on a tray… what more can you ask for. However, don’t forget to enjoy the hearty meal along with your read.

  3. The Readers Café, Ghaziabad, India Do you want to buy the book you are reading? You can do so if you are at The Readers Café. With a wide array of books, there are chances of getting and buying the genre of choice. You can also meet fellow readers and enthusiasts at a book event or match screening hosted by the cafe.
  4. Kunzum Travel Café, New Delhi
    Have the next travel destination in mind? A visit to Kunzum Travel Café can help you with that. With an irresistible collection of travel books and magazines, this book cafe can soothe your wanderlust. 

  5. The Leaping Windows, Mumbai
    Imagine reading Naruto sitting in an underground nook! That is the experience you will get at Leaping Windows. Boosting a range of comics for all ages, you can reminisce with Chacha Chaudhari or go on an adventure with Fairy Tail.

  6. Cafe ICan Flyy, Kolkata
    A cafe that engages and inspires? Yes, please! Cafe ICan Flyy is an adorable book cafe with a humble message. Run by special needs individuals, it has just the right ambience, to attract book lovers. Bonus – the super cute bookmarks you can buy as souvenirs.

  7. Me Time Art Cafe, Mumbai
    Food, books and art, what more can we ask? Me Time Art Cafe was started to let the customers enjoy their Me Time away from the everyday hustle and bustle. Here, you can enjoy your favourite book or draw a picture or learn painting, while enjoying delicious meals.

This tour will not be complete without mentioning a few book cafes from around the globe:

  1. The Elephant House, Edinburgh (UK)
    Harry Potter’s birthplace, The Elephant House in Edinburgh was JK Rowling writing sanctuary. This gourmet tea house and cafe boasts quite a patronage of renowned authors and an amazing view of the Edinburgh Castle.

  2. Choi Ina Books, Seoul (South Korea)
    A unique bookstore/library cafe, Choi Ina celebrates books through discussions. It has a recommended bookshelf, where readers can nominate the books that helped them for other readers. The bookstore also hosts a book club where the members get curated read of the month delivered to their doorsteps and a chance to meet the author or editor of that book.

  3. Brown Books Café, Sapporo (Japan)
    Do you want to simply hide in an attic full of bookshelves? Brown Books Café is the place for you. This quint book cafe has an almost rustic homey vibe to it, with its tall bookshelves and dimmed lanterns. Readers are bound to feel the time stop as they lose themselves in their books. And if you are lucky, you may get a private seat, with your very own table and book stack!

  4. Book Munch Cafe, Dubai (UAE)
    Book Munch Cafe, is the pioneer of library cafes in Dubai. The concept of this cafe is inspired by ‘The Incredible Book Eating Boy’ by Oliver Jeffers. The cafe is super friendly and open to people of all age groups. It even has a small playhouse for children, where the little readers can sneak in with their books.

  5. A4 Space, Dubai (UAE)
    A4 Space, built on a modern design, the cosy seating arrangement and the rustic communal tables, make it a pleasant experience for the readers. The cafe has a collection of books on diverse fields such as architecture, fiction and history. Almost all books in this cafe are donated.

  6. Shakespeare & Sons, Berlin (Germany)
    Shakespeare & Sons, need we say more? From well-known classics, Japanese mangas, German films and delish desserts, you name it and they have. With a cosy interior that begs for conversation and a laptop free backroom, this book cafe is heaven for both readers and non-readers.

  7. Champaca Cafe, Paro (Bhutan)
    An independently owned, women-run space, Champaca Cafe in Paro is more than the usual book cafe. With bookshelves resembling the Hogwarts library, Champaca Cafe is bound to transport you to a magical world. This place is ultimate for small reading parties and some storytime with kids.