The Brooklyn Book Festival is back this week, just in time to ease your sadness about the dropping temperatures. Reading a book in public can be a rare pleasure- but it can also be easily ruined by blasted music, too-close quarters, and overly chatty bartenders. We’ve found seven spots to read your Book Festival bounty in that won’t give you a headache, but also won’t make you feel like you might as well just be at home.
533 Grand Street, between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue.
This Williamsburg hang has everything you need for a cozy night of reading. Sip on cocktails and munch on mussels marinieres or a cheese board and kick back next to the fire. Yeah, that’s right- they’ve got an active fireplace. There’s nothing like reading by the flickering light to get you in the mood for colder weather- although they do wait until later in the season to turn it on. You’ll truly feel transported to a much simpler, much more French time here, which means our recommended on-site reading includes Les Miserables or A Tale of Two Cities.
248 5th Avenue, between Carroll and President streets.
This Park Slope gem has a lot going for it. It comes, of course, from the people who brought the al di la Trattoria to the neighborhood and sits just around the corner from the full-service restaurant. Reading is pleasant here at all times. In the morning, they serve a full coffee menu, as well as Pilot kombucha on tap and a serious egg sandwich. You can also sip wines, beers, and several cocktails (both bloody marys and mimosas make the list). Park up in one of the corner tables and prepare to watch the entirety of Park Slope filter in and out throughout the day.
630 Flatbush Avenue, between Fenimore and Hawthorne streets.
This spot from Doug Friedman and Ben Toro opened recently, in late July, but has already shown some chops. Your prime reading location here is at the bar. The bartenders are friendly but can take a hint if you feel less like talking about the book and more like just reading it. The music level here is entirely reasonable, and they play a nice mix of things. That being said, it’s by no means a morgue in here. You can just see the open kitchen from behind the bar, and the place has large windows all around the front for people watching during the boring parts. We’d like to formally recommend the Old Fashioned- theirs is perfectly smooth and has all the right flavors. But, if your taste is less Hemingway and more Rooney, they have a lovely and modern glass of Cirelli. The fries here are also worth munching on distractedly (or when fully lucid, for that matter), and the tomato salad is a welcome break.
251 Wilson Avenue, between Himrod and Hartman streets.
This cafe boasts a cozy section towards the front, with couches and cozy armchairs. If you’re feeling healthy, you can grab one of their fresh juices, smoothies, or acai bowls, as well as salads, sandwiches, and other bites. If you’re feeling less healthy, they’ve got a full coffee service, bagels, and pastries. The front section is perfectly lit from the street-facing windows, so you’ll never feel like you have to squint or pull out your phone’s flashlight.
6808 4th Avenue, between 68th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue.
This Bay Ridge spot, opened by a local pastor, has a large sprawling space with plenty of room for reading. Our favorite spot to set up camp is way in the back on the plump green chairs and grey couch. If you catch yourself losing focus, there’s always the many board and card games Blend keeps under the coffee table for a pick-me-up. They serve La Colombe coffee, as well as draft lattes and small pastries. When you’re done reading for the day, you can hop right onto the R train that sits directly next to the entrance.
333 Douglass Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenue.
Typically, a crowded, loud, mainly outdoor brewery doesn’t come to mind when one thinks of good places to read, but trust us on this one. Threes boasts one of Brooklyn’s best backyards- it’s big, and there are tables for every size party. The noise here can sometimes get out of control, but we’ve found it hovers around a din even on the busiest nights- and sometimes we like some white noise while we read. Plus, you’ve got incredible food from the Meat Hook (can’t go wrong with beef tallow fries or a cheese board for munching), and really great local brews on draft. The Vliet (rhymes with fleet) is one of our favorites- or the Logical Conclusion IPA. Sit back and enjoy that last taste of summer sun.
71 Pineapple Street, between Henry and Hicks Streets.
At Vineapple there are several contenders for the comfiest chair- they’ve got couches, plush armchairs, and lots of seating overall that’s perfect for curling up with your read of the moment. Even if you didn’t make it to the book festival, you can still pull up a chair- they’ve got lots of books for you to borrow. You can grab a coffee and a pastry, or sip on some wine while you read. This is a spot where you’ll never feel rushed to get through that last chapter- except to get to the next, of course.