Books, Beers & Beyond

One grande fire-water latte coming up.

At a time when other indie book stores are succumbing to the Amazon/Barnes & Noble factor, one East Village retailer is entering the lit biz with a proven strategy to boost revenues: Booze.

Opening this December at 200 Avenue A–site of the soon-to-be-shuttered Clockwork Orange-themed Korova Milk Bar–Rapture Café & Books will feature an array of titles on art, sex, and politics. Plus, a full on-premise liquor license.

Hemingway would approve. But what will the neighbors think?

Well, last month, proprietor Joe Birdsong earned the almost unanimous blessing of Community Board 3, which is no small feat amid the current bar-wary climate. “They really liked our idea,” he said.

That, and Birdsong agreed to sign a notarized stipulation that the business would “operate as a bookstore” with “the predominant space being used for bookshelves,” according to minutes of the meeting.

“Presenting another bar where people can get drunk for cheap is not what we’re about,” said Birdsong, who described his vision of the place as more of “a nice little neighborhood internet café bookstore performance space” with a selection of organic free-trade-certified teas and coffees and “a real strong emphasis on different beers and wines.”

– Chris Shott

Books, Beers & Beyond