Literary Libations: The World’s Best Library Bars

Not many stand-alone bars can match the sophistication and class found in a library bar; crafted cocktails, homey decor, and classic literature are enjoyed by well-rounded ladies and gents in a dimly lit environment. And though afternoons are often reserved for quiet, elegant drinking, the nights can give way to an electric, Martini-swilling crowd. So here are some of our favorite library bars, from sultry Buenos Aires to sunny L.A.

Buenos Aires: The Library Lounge


The Faena Hotel is an impossibly stylish, luxurious hotel that has certainly earned every one of its five stars. Non-guests are welcome to visit the bars, restaurants, and theater but it’s highly exclusive, and you’ll need a reservation (and lots of cash) to gain entry. The Library Lounge, seductively lit by crystal chandeliers and comfortably furnished with red velvet sofas and stuffed antelope heads, is popular with champagne-quaffing hotel guests, wealthy businessmen, and their glamorous female companions, plus the occasional celebrity or politician. DJs or live acts provide entertainment from big band to the busy Thursday night rock show. While very impressive, just make sure someone else is buying the Moet.

The Library Lounge is located @ Martha Salotti 445, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Seattle: The Bookstore Bar


Located on the ground floor of downtown’s Alexis Hotel, this neighborhood bar attracts a bevy of regular customers and out-of-towners drawn in by the wealth of spirits, both distilled and literary. Six rotating taps highlight local craft breweries, including Maritime Pacific, Hale’s and Schooner Exact. However, whiskey is crown king here with more than 125 varieties – 70 of them single malts. There are literally hundreds of books shelved in both the bar and adjoining Library Bistro (running the gamut from presidential biographies to Jackie Collins novels) which are free to read, or a mere $5 to purchase.

The Bookstore Bar is located @ 92 Madison St., Seattle, Washington

Los Angeles: The Wellesbourne


The Wellesbourne is where the English Countryside meets West L.A. When not sipping pints of Delirium Tremens or Strongbow Cider, patrons go for classic pre-Prohibition cocktails, like the refreshingly light Pimm’s Cup, to pair with small snacks. Approximately 800 19th- and early-20th-century tomes line the walls waiting to be read, including an original edition of “The Count of Monte Cristo” and a 1930s “New Book of Etiquette.” On weekend nights, The Wellesbourne forgoes its usual jazz-filled demeanor for a livelier atmosphere, including spins by some of the area’s best DJs.

The Wellesbourne is located @ 10929 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

New York: The Library At The Nomad


Imagine Beast’s library in Beauty & the Beast. Now, add in a full bar serving up the best booze and snacks, and then subtract that obnoxious candlestick. Hidden off the lobby of the swank NoMad Hotel, this glowy, real-book-lined drinking den offers seasonal drinks from Eleven Madison Park’s acclaimed Leo Robitschek. You don’t have to be a bibliophile to appreciate the NoMad Hotel’s spectacular library bar, as two levels of bookshelves stacked with good reads line the bar from floor-to-ceiling, while leather chairs, small tables, plush couches, Persian carpets and spiraling staircases get the library look down to a T. The menu is divided into “light-spirited” and “dark-spirited”, while the bar also offers a wide variety of wines, beers, snacks and cocktails curated by Death & Company alum Jessica Gonzalez; try the Matchlock ($15), a hefty combination of rye, bourbon, absinthe, vanilla, ginger, lemon, grapefruit and Angostura bitters, or the spicy Petticoat ($15) made with Sichuan peppercorn-infused Plymouth gin, apricot liquer, lemon and velvet falernum.

The Library @ The NoMad Hotel is located at 1170 Broadway (at 28th St), New York, NY

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