Nestled between two shops on the Old Market waterfront is a tall building with a brightly painted door. Some locals will tell you that this quaint establishment has always been there, others will tell you that it appeared suddenly when they were walking home from work. However and whenever it happened, the cozy Books and Brews squeezed into existence between the local knitting nook and a fourth-hand pawn shop.
There is an immediate impression of spaciousness, despite the narrow exterior. A large central room with plump overstuffed couches, worn hand-crafted chairs, and cozy reading nooks for two invites you to sit down and relax. Mismatched but complementary coffee tables are strategically placed to encourage a chance meeting or small, quiet gathering. A word to the wise: stay away from the eastern window seat, where an orange tabby cat languishes in comfort.
Tucked between the signed books and the old vinyl records on the right-hand wall is the cafe counter, often manned by Eärendil, a slender old elf with a gift for pulling the perfect espresso. Assorted pastries, sweet and savoury, line the glass displays beneath the counter, while a towering green chalkboard lists the daily specials and the poem of the day.
A series of winding staircases and corner lifts take you to the mezzanine and upper stories. Here the bookstore takes on a life of its own, where your next purchase may find itself falling into your hand while you browse, and misplaced volumes languidly flap their way back to the shelves. A keen eye may spot curious and helpful spirits, blinking dust balls that can lead you to the store's best-kept secrets. And deep within the fifth floor is a grim door that reads “Restricted Section.”
The lock is not complicated.
Whether you are winding through the labyrinthine shelves or enjoying the quiet company during a book signing, you are sure to find a place for a cup of tea and mystery at Books and Brews.