Hattie Lloyd 28/05/22


Is it a bar? Is it a bookshop?

Well, yes. Clue’s in the name, really.

Bookbar’s mission is provide a social environment to read and drink. Walking in, you’re spoilt for appealing things to choose from. A bestseller? A classic? An americano? Chardonnay?

And it’s not a purely hedonistic experience – it’s medicinal. BookBar provides an antidote to literary listlessness, it revives you from that reading rut. This treatment is administered via the Shelf-Medicate service, which you can take one of two ways: prescription (five hand-picked books) or subscription (a year’s worth).

What distinguishes BookBar from other bookshops (besides the booze) is the tailored nature of their recommendations. You don’t receive these in hushed library tones, or from inanimate signs in a monasterial bookshop – they’re offered over a glass of wine.

bookbar highbury

It’s an easy place to form new connections, with books and people. The central table is enclosed by three packed-out bookshelves. Looking around, it’s a nigh-on guarantee that you’ll find either a conversation-starter (something you’ve read) or a new passion (something you want to read). This is the founding philosophy of BookBar: reading as a social experience. It also makes it an ideal date spot – you’re surrounded by things to talk about, potential common ground.

Downstairs there’s a cosy bookseller’s book-cellar – a quiet place to read or work during the day, a warmly lit spot to unwind in the evening. There are more tables out front, increasingly appealing as the sun reintroduces itself to London.

BookBar hosts events, from book-club meetups to author signings. It’s the perfect place to turn a solitary hobby into a community experience.

So, if you enjoy everything about wine bars bar the lack of books – or everything about books bar the lack of wine – then BookBar is the answer to your woes.

So many books, so little time so much wine…


NOTE: BookBar is open Tues-Sun 10am-9pm (6pm Tues & Sun). There are no reservations, just turn up. You can find out more HERE.

BookBar | 166 Blackstock Road, London, N5 1HA

Words by Calum Wincott

Wine fan? Take a book to one of these excellent London wine bars.


166 Blackstock Road, Highbury, N5 1HA

020 3457 5186

8.2 | Great