By Holly Presswell, Tamara Wilson and Christiana Jasutan
Do you enjoy a good book with a glass of wine? Well, look no further as we have found the best library bars in the UK for you to visit.
Swans Bar, Maison Assouline, 196A Piccadilly, St. James's, London, W1J 9EY
Located in London, Swans Bar is found inside Maison Assouline Piccadilly store. The bar and restaurant are surrounded by books, with comfy armchairs gathered around the tables. It gives the feel of a private library, ideal for a quiet cocktail and a book. Maison Assouline is a sophisticated book publishing house that has also evolved into a global lifestyle brand. Here you can discover beautiful special edition books, handpicked vintage finds and library accessories and furniture designed by Assouline. Originally a banking hall, make sure you take a look at the beautiful architecture, have a nose around their cabinet de curiosités, filled with weird and wonderful objects. The restaurant offers an exquisite selection of French platters, artisanal wine, champagne and cocktails for dinner and lunch. Click here to find out more and book a table.
The Library, 6-8 St Nicholas St, Bristol BS1 1UQ
Hidden behind bookshelves and pages is the secret and private cocktail bar, The Library. You start your journey by ringing the brass doorbell to ask for a table, if the bar has room for you, they will buzz you through into the bookshop. Browse the shelves while you wait to be greeted and taken to your table. If you fancy afternoon tea for two in the vintage parlour or perhaps just some drinks in the bar in the evening, this is the go to place in Bristol! With a 1920’s vibe and delicious cocktails, why wouldn't you want to visit? Just make sure you book and dress the part as they have a smart casual dress code.
Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, London, SW1P 3BU
Stationed in the historic Grade II listed former Westminster library, you will find the Cinnamon Club. Here you can sit surrounded by marvellous bookshelves filled with classical books while experiencing an unforgettable Indian fine dining experience. You can also go downstairs to discover a hidden basement bar serving the best and most beautifully presented cocktails from the renowned mixologist Robin Honhold. If you do fancy a drink, I recommend trying one of their signature cocktails – the Club Bellini or the Red Lady. Please click here to be taken to their website!
Glasshouse, The Common Press & Common Counter, London, E2 7EE
The Common Press is a bookshop and cafe celebrating writing by LGBTQIA+ people and people of colour. It is part of a wider group called Glasshouse that hosts a wide range of events from book launches to club nights and even burlesque lessons! Glasshouse strives to create a safe and creative space for marginalised communities across all of London. The bar at Common Counter is closed on Mondays but open from 5:00–11:00 p.m. on all other weekdays and from 1:00–11:00 p.m. on the weekend. Animals and pets are welcome guests in The Common Press bookshop! If you want to find out more information, please click here to be taken to their website.
The Fable, 52 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2BN
Located at the heart of Holborn, The Fable is a restaurant and bar inspired by the Fables of Aesop. It is a three-storey building with classy interior as well as an extensive library, filled with leather-bound books sourced from vintage markets. What catches your attention as soon as you walk in is certainly that one booth encircled by stacks of books, positioned as a pyramid.
If the interior and vibes alone aren’t enough to encourage you to visit this library bar, then let’s talk about their menu. The Fable uses seasonal vegetables to curate their global menu and cater for different dietary requirements. Some of their cocktails are literature inspired, and for March they are commemorating International Women’s Month and World Book Day by asking their women mixologists to bring their favourite stories to life. The result is literary themed cocktails, such as Tuscan Sun (based on Under the Tuscan Sun) and Raspberry Chocolate Cake (referencing the famous chocolate cake in Matilda!).
BookBar, 166 Blackstock Road, London, N5 1HA
Last but not least, we’re going to introduce you to the highly popular bookshop/wine bar/social space, BookBar! This one isn’t a library, but we feel like it deserves to be included in the list. BookBar was born from the philosophy that books are social, and there’s no greater feeling than sharing a good book with a friend over a glass of wine (or any drink!). A bookshop and a social place, BookBar hosts bespoke literary events, their special “BookBar In Conversation With.” Their recent one was the launch for Monica Heisey’s Really Good, Actually, joined by Polly Barton. The event was so successful that they had to change the venue last-minute to Church at the Crypt on the Green in Farringdon! BookBar also has their prescription box called Shelf Medicate with different “prescription bundles,” according to your taste!