These are a dozen bookstore cafes from across India where you can sit around with your favourite book over a cup of tea, or enjoy sharing ideas with book club members, or take part in some of the interesting events they hold from time to time.
A brisk 10-minute walk from the main bazaar and you will arrive at this bookstore (on the upper floor) and café (on the ground floor). Owned by Raman Shreshta, this is your one-stop answer to books on northeastern India, including Sikkim. They also have a fair collection of books on southeast Asia, a great collection of women writers, graphic novels and a treasure trove of literary magazines. They frequently hold book readings, author interactions, poetry slams, music gigs and film screenings. And if you are feeling peckish or want to sit back with a cup of coffee and read one of your newly-bought books, the café is ready to serve you. You may choose from a range of momos and steaming bowls of noodles, to pasta and pies, sandwiches, freshly-baked cakes, brownies, waffles, and cheesecakes from the rotating menu. Read more about it here.
Information: Jeewan Theeng Marg, Development Area, Gangtok; phone: +91 3592 204 336; timings: 9am to 7pm.
This bookstore and café, located in Goa’s famous beach town Calangute, will envelop you in a cheerful embrace as you soon as you step in. Bright, airy and cosy, it wants you to browse through the book racks stocked with fiction and non-fiction books by authors from home and abroad. Interestingly, they have a section devoted to old editions and antique books. The store also runs a book club and holds literary meetings, film shows etc. The outdoor café has a limited menu, mostly consisting of beverages, cakes and sandwiches. The day’s specials are written on a blackboard.
Information: E/1-282, Gauravaddo, Calangute, Bardez; in the lane opposite Queen B, next to ABC Farms and Farmer's Inn; phone: 0832 2277740, 7447437768; timing: 10am to 6.30pm (closed on Sundays).
Booklovers heaved a sigh of relief when this popular bookstore owned by Imran Hussain in Panbazar re-opened in January 2019. To ensure that it remains in business, it adopted the motto 'profit for purpose' and added a café which would help run the store, and especially fund buying of new books. Framed pictures of famous authors and eminent people along with posters and covers of books adorn the walls here. The tall racks filled with books add an old-world charm. There are enough chairs and tables to flop down with your favourite book. And do not forget to order something from the pocket-friendly café as you know the money will be put to good use.
Information: Jasowanta Road, Panbazar, Guwahati; above Western Book Depot; phone: 070024 14647; timing: 11am to 8.30pm.
Even if books are not on your mind when you are passing through Khan Market in Delhi, do not miss a chance to step into Full Circle Book Shop. It is a pleasure to browse through the store’s eclectic collections. The bookstore is well stocked with fiction and non-fiction books, especially latest publications. Take the help of the staff if you are looking for a particular book. The children’s section is also well maintained, with sections divided according to age groups. Complementing the bookstore is the quiet and pleasant Cafe Turtle, located on the floor above. The menu (vegetarian only), which will leave you spoilt for choice, includes hot and cold beverages, low cal salads, small bites, soups and starters, pizzas and pastas, sandwiches, desserts, etc. They also have another store and café at Greater Kailash 1.
Information: 23, Middle Lane, 1st and 2nd Floor, Khan Market, New Delhi; phone: 011-24655641/24655642; timing: 8.30am to 8.30pm.
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This charming library, independent bookstore and café is named after the magnolia champaca. Founded by a trained ecologist and conservationist, it is on the rooftop of a bungalow, and has a metal staircase going up to a space filled with natural light coming in through large windows. The library is for children. And they host events every week that are free and open to the public, both online and offline. Sign up for one of their book subscription packages - they come in themes. Their website says that for the next year, from July 2021 to June 2022, they have curated books that explore different ideas of travelling. "Can we time travel together across histories and places? What journeys have intrepid women made? How have people experienced travel when it is not by choice or for pleasure, as with migrations? What are journeys of the mind like?" Sounds interesting?
The cafe serves fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, tea cakes, juices, and tea and coffee. It has free WiFi too.
Information: 7/1, Edward Road, Vasanth Nagar; phone: +91-93536-08989, timing: 11 am to 7 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday, Mondays are holidays.
This boutique bookshop in the heart of south Mumbai, near the iconic Kala Ghoda premises, is housed in a heritage building over 150 years old. From vintage numbers to latest best sellers, the store not only stocks English books but also those in regional languages, such as Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi. Owned by Amrita and Samir Somaiya, the store’s aim is to create an ambience that will encourage reading books in these times of digital trappings. The store regularly holds book readings, meeting with authors and other literary events. The attached café serves a comprehensive vegetarian menu.
Information: 45-47, Ground Floor, Somaiya Bhavan, MG Road, Flora Fountain, Next To Davars College, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai; phone: 022 6170 2277; timing: 10.30am to 7.30pm (closed on Jan 26, May 1, Aug 15, Oct 2).
Lift your eyes to watch the majestic Dhauladhar range, lounge with a book, grab a bite if you are hungry, pick up a guitar to strum a tune, or play a round of carrom – you can try these and more at the Illiterati located just above the Jogibara village, and a 10-minute walk from Mcleodganj. The bookstore has a significant collection of spiritual books, including those on Shaivism, Hinduism, Shakta, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra, as well as Western philosophy, Islam, Christianity, and magic and esotericism. There are also books on history, economics, development, conflict, travel and photography, art, and natural health. The café has vegan options.
Information: Lower Jogibara Road, Mcleodganj Dharamsala; phone: 085880 46101; timing: 11am to 9.30pm.
Opening its doors to booklovers way back in 1921, this iconic bookstore on Park Street in Kolkata has gone through a lot of changes. Well stocked with books from most leading publishers around the globe, it also has coffee table tomes, magazines, writing instruments, and a variety of lifestyle products. There is a small café on the upper floor where you can drop in for the classic Darjeeling tea and other varieties of teas and savouries. The bookstore is also the only one which curates multiple literary festivals, such as the Apeejay Kolkata Literary festival, Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob, and Hindi Sahitya Utsav.
Information: 17, Park Street, Kolkata; phone: 033 2217 2680; timing: 11am to 9pm.
A popular stop for travellers roaming the main market of Leh town, this bookstore and café is a good place to rest a while. The bookstore on the ground floor continues to the upper floor where you will find a pleasant café too. The Wi-Fi connection provided by the café has been much praised by reviewers.
Information: Main Market, Leh; phone: 9622982000; timing: check by calling.
Pagdandi in Pune’s Baner area promotes conscious and alternate lifestyle choices. You may read, rent or purchase from their wide collection of books. The café offers a range of beverages, including tea, coffee and juices, as well as sandwiches and cakes. Budding artists and photographers are encouraged to display their work here.
Information: Shop No.6, Regent Plaza, Baner Pashan Link Road, Behind Symantec, Baner, Pune; phone: 077559 08525; timing: 10.30am to 10.30pm.
This book café and bistro in Secunderabad has an old-world charm to it complemented by a natural setting. You may choose to enjoy the bare brick and glass décor inside the café or sit outside at the wooden deck. Walk up to the book corner where you will find a wide collection of books available for reading as well as on sale. You may also enjoy a round of board games with your friends. The menu focuses on fusion food, including coffee and mojitos, sandwiches and pastas, etc.
Information: Above Canara Bank, near Sainikpuri, Secunderabad, Hyderabad; phone: 088807 10710; timing: 8am to 11.30pm.
Kolkata's first travel-themed cafe, Travelistan, is tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood (Golf Green) in south Kolkata. Run by Paramita Gain and Arijit Dutta, the cafe is filled with quirky travel memorabilia and an excellent collection of travel related books along with books of popular writers from Bengal. From time to time, they also arrange for talks by veteran travellers, travel authors, where guests can exchange ideas and seek guidance about their travel plans.
Information: SD/9, Udaysankar Sarani, phase - 1, Golf Green; timings: noon to 8pm; phone: 80175 50408.