By Parul Garg:
There must exist something ‘in between’ new noisy coffee shops and old silent libraries- and that’s how we settle on the idea of book cafes that are brewing up! What can be more stimulating than a good book and freshly brewed coffee? This concept of book cafes has been very common abroad, but our country is adopting it gradually. I see it as a good perk of our demographic advantage. Books and more books all over will help people develop and savour reading as a habit.
I am getting you a magical carton with a list of 8 of theÂ best book cafes in India. I will begin my list with the one that most of you might be familiar with:
1. Cha Bar is the first of its kind, urban contemporary space that created a rage in Kolkata in the year 2000. It is the oxford book store that houses Cha Bar. They have an exclusive and regularly updated menu offering a wide range of tea and snacks while you go and browse for books in the store. Cha Bar is now in 30 cities all over India including Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi.
“I relish dropping by Cha Bar because of the sheer joy of reading a book while sipping a masala cutting chai. Its geometric interiors and white space acts like a mental spa” said Ruchika Batra, a regular at Cha Bar.
2. Kitaab Khana in Mumbai is an excellent choice as it is housed in a heritage structure which is almost 150 years old! You go, look for books, read them and in case you want to carry them to the cafÃ©, please also carry them home because you will have to buy them. You can satiate your hunger while reading with the ‘only vegetarian’ food.
3. The Full Circle in Delhi is a book store where you find books of all genres in many different languages, good music and the delicacies of CafÃ© Turtle. It is the very first of its kind in Delhi. CafÃ© Turtle is very popular among Delhiites for the delectable snacks and just perfect coffee. I have heard lot of people complaining that it is slightly overpriced; they charge something like Rs.500 for a sandwich and lemonade. Even then, it definitely deserves a visit if you are nearby.
4. Leaping Windows in Bangalore is a cafe withÂ a comic book store concept. Built inside one of the many bungalows of Indaranagar itÂ is quite refreshing if you want to spend time with books, coffee and light snacks. They even have a reading room with a good collection of books where the walls have these murals of comic book characters. It’s a colourful place which is not too hard on the pocket as well.
5. Book CafÃ© Ssong in Pune is for people who are looking for a peaceful place, away from noisy city, especially for reading books. They have a pretty good collection and an outdoor seating here is amazing, provided the weather is good. They provide free Wi-Fi too! The bad part is that they serve only beverages (Yummy ones though).
6. Literati in Goa has anÂ immense variety of books. They have many different events going on round the year like discussions, book launches and more. Literatis put a unique variety of antiquarian books on sale.
7. The Coffee CupÂ in Hyderabad has a very laid back and comfortable ambiance. You can find one of the best espresso shots in Hyderabad here. This cafÃ© serves to the taste of both vegetarians and non-vegetarians in one of the best ways. A section of the cafÃ© has been allocated for exhibit of upcoming art.Â The quaint book corner has a wide collection of books for retail. A section has been cordoned off as a library where one can simply browse through the coffee table books.
8. At Books and Brew CafÃ© in Chandigarh,Â you will find coffee but unfortunately not the books; you will have to get them for yourself. Get your school books, novels or laptops here, enjoy the Wi-Fi and finish your assignments, notes or projects. It is perfect for group studies and project work as you can get your own media devices and books, which is a limitation in some other book cafes. They also offer a variety of board games.
Isn’t the combination of book stores and cafes like a packet full of colours? This idea is still on its way to India. I foresee India with book cafes in every possible locality targeting all age groups. But untill the time this culture of book cafes gets more popularÂ within our country, spend your weekends at any of those mentioned above. I am sure you will love it.