Literature and libations–has there ever been a more perfect pair? Maybe it’s the leather seating, dark mahogany or tranquil atmosphere but, for whatever reason, classic cocktails always seem to taste better in a good-old-fashioned library bar. Channel your inner Hemmingway as we explore the world’s best bars for bibliophiles.
1. Casa Cavia, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Tucked away in the verdant Palermo Chico neighborhood of Buenos Aires is Casa Cavia, a chic establishment from 1927 that reopened in April after a series of upgrades and renovations. Lucas López Dávalos crafted the cocktail menu with every signature inspired by the world’s most revered authors. We recommend the Dorothy Parker for cognac and Cointreau connoisseurs or the F. Scott Fitzgerald for gin lovers. After enjoying drinks and a bite to eat, stop by the on-site library and Ampersand bookstore, which is stocked with current and classic titles.
2. Scarfes Bar, London, England: The legendary British artist and cartoonist, Gerald Scarfe, has created yet another masterpiece–Scarfe’s Bar is located in the Rosewood London, an upscale hotel in the posh Holborn neighborhood. Channeling the sophistication of a traditional gentleman’s club, the space features some of his original works, cozy velvet armchairs, dim lighting, live music and shelves lined with more than 1,000 antique books, each hand-selected by a Portobello antique dealer. Cocktails are inspired by real people (like the tequila-based Alfred Hitchcock), as well as beloved fictional characters (such as the Mary Poppins, made with Johnnie Walker Gold, roasted pineapple, chrysanthemum vermouth and lavender).
3. The Wellesbourne, Los Angeles, California: This intimate watering hole offers a peaceful retreat from the typical hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. To transport visitors to 19th century England, the owners took an authentic approach by sourcing and shipping all of the paintings, décor and even the front door from across the pond. Expert mixologists offer a selection of vintage concoctions or will eagerly serve custom creations. Kill some time in the Games Room with favorites including shuffleboard and foosball, or curl up with a novel in one of the leather sofas beside the roaring fire.
4. The Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange, Adelaide, Australia: Set back on a quiet Adelaide side street is The Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange. Patrons instantly feel welcome upon entering the small but classically designed space. Antiquated desk lamps line the wooden bar, emitting a comforting, green glow, and piles of hardcovers can be found scattered throughout. The cocktail menu is assembled like a book, divided into three parts, and showcases unique recipes, such as the Harry Potter-inspired Drink That Shall Not Be Named. As the bar’s moniker suggests, Bibliotheca is also a book exchange where guests can bring one of their own books and swap it for another title that catches their eye.
5. The Library-Bar, Paris, France: Any scholar would feel right at home at The Library-Bar, located in the exclusive Saint James Paris, a Relais & Châteaux property. Before becoming a hotel, the estate was once home to the Theirs Foundation and its members, and the Library-Bar served as their study. Today, the historic space still carries the same esteem and intellectual ambiance, in part because of the 12,000 volumes displayed throughout its multiple floors. The bar is accessible to hotel guests and members of the Saint James Club every day, but the public can only visit Mondays through Saturdays, between the hours of 7 pm and 1 am (and no, reservations are not accepted, so get there early and claim your spot).