A guide to bookstore cafes and wine bars in Atlanta


Few things can be as satisfying as relaxing with a good book and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Reading is more than just an act of escapism and knowledge consumption, it’s a hard reset and tactile experience that allows people to disconnect from their increasingly busy lives.

While independent bookstores are enjoying renewed interest from avid readers looking to shop locally, some Atlanta boutiques now offer people a place to combine their love of reading with food, coffee and wine.

Of course, the bookstore cafe isn’t a new concept, but these businesses have typically focused on the book experience rather than what’s served on the menu. It’s starting to change.

Read the store

When Read the store First opened in Vinings six years ago, it only sold books and magazines. Owner Dan Collier, who also owns the Merchant and Collier Candy Company in Atlanta, soon realized it could increase book sales and provide gathering space for local residents serving coffee and pastries. The care taken by the baristas in the coffee served at Read is on a par with the books stocked on its shelves. The shop includes seating and actively encourages people to relax after ordering to read while enjoying a cup of coffee or latte.

For Katie Barringer, co-owner of Lucian Books and Wine in Buckhead, the idea for the business came as she and her partner and sommelier Jordan Smelt sat in the Swans Bar at Maison Assouline in London, surrounded by books while sipping cocktails and wine.

Lucian revives a version of Barringer’s old Cover bookstore and serves as a platform for Smelt to share his breadth of wine knowledge with guests.

“The genesis of Lucian was a bookstore very similar to the one I had with Cover, the format of which was not just a retail bookstore, but a more social and interactive setting,” says Barringer.

The books on Lucian’s shelves focus on topics related to art, fashion, design and food, Barringer’s particular passions. Most book sales happen after a meal, as people browse titles with a glass of wine. There are over 250 bottles to choose from at Lucian and a dedicated sommelier at Smelt to help guide people through the selection.

As a bookseller, adding food and drink to the mix helps open conversations, Barringer says. People end up discovering a new book to read about a chef, cuisine, artist, photographer or designer. And that’s the point. Everybody wins.

A table for four includes salad, charcuterie and gnudi with a glass of white wine and a glass of rose poured from a bottle at Lucian in Atlanta

Lucian books and wine.
Ryan Fleisher

Candace Walker, owner of Stone Mountain wine bar and bookstore The Vibrary, says the business is a way for her to give back to the community where she grew up, while tapping into her love for reading and wine.

Most of the books on the Vibrary’s shelves are by black authors and authors of color or feature main characters who are black or people of color. The wines served à la carte are mostly organic or biodynamic and can be accompanied by charcuterie and cheese.

Walker sees the Vibrary as a “peaceful oasis for the mind and the senses,” a place where the Stone Mountain community can relax and come together around common interests. She regularly hosts book signings, author readings and wine tastings here too.

“A good bottle of wine can transport you to the countryside or to an exotic location around the world,” says Walker. “In the same way, books have always been a gateway to adventure and escape.”

The Vibrary, now often packed with regulars, draws people to downtown Stone Mountain from the Atlanta metro area to enjoy wine.

The Vibrary

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, one-third of American adults read books both in print and on a digital device, such as a Kindle. A typical American adult reads about five books a year. While that number may seem low to a voracious reader, there is hope for the future of books, as people aged 18-29 read more books on average than other age groups, including including their Boomer and GenX parents.

This younger demographic of readers is also contributing to the growing trend of bookstores doubling down on the opening of cafes and wine bars across the country. And Atlanta seems to be there for it.

Below are five bookstore cafes and wine bars to check out around Atlanta.

Read the store — Vinings

Read the store

Located in Vinings Jubliee, this quaint bookstore cafe offers everything from the latest bestsellers novels, travel books and cookbooks to glossy books and magazines. Head here for coffee and lattes made with Stumptown beans and fresh pastries in the morning. Take a seat to read on the window rail or on the chairs by the counter.

Dr. Bombay’s Submarine Tea — Candler Park

Dr. Bombay’s Submarine Tea

A charming spot for tea and books in Candler Park, Dr. Bombay’s is like slipping into a cozy library in someone’s home with its eclectic assortment of furniture and books lining the shop’s dark wood shelves. This is the perfect place for people looking for a quiet spot to read or order afternoon tea and scones with a friend. A percentage of all sales profits learning tea, the philanthropic arm of Dr. Bombay providing housing and educational opportunities for young women in India. A snack service is also available.

Maomi Bookstore — Chambered

Atlanta Chinatown's Maomi Bookstore and Coffee Shop offers Chinese calligraphy classes.

Maomi Bookstore offers Chinese calligraphy lessons.
Maomi Bookstore

This bookstore and tea shop in Atlanta’s Chinatown in Chamblee specializes in Chinese titles, sells and serves a variety of teas, and even hosts Chinese calligraphy lessons. In addition to tea and books, the shop also sells calligraphy writing tools, gifts, Chinese tea sets, children’s books and games. Table places are available after ordering to read, meet a friend or do some work.

The Vibrary — Stone mountain

The eight-seat bar with yellow velvet stools lines the wooden bar at The Vibrary at Stone Mountain.

The Vibrary

The Vibrary

Come for the wine and the books, but stay for the atmosphere. Located in the heart of Stone Mountain Village, The Vibrary fuses Candace Walker’s love of wine with her lifelong love of reading and books. Most of the books sold at the Vibrary are by black authors and authors of color or central black people and people of color as main characters and in storylines. The wines lean primarily towards organic farming and biodynamics and can pair with charcuterie and cheese. Keep an eye on instagram for events including wine tastings, book signings, author readings and book clubs.

Lucian books and wine —Buckhead

Overlooking Lucian's dining room in Atlanta with books neatly arranged in piles on a white counter in the foreground with the bar and its large bank of windows in the background

Ryan Fleisher

Located on the corner of Peachtree and Pharr, Lucian Books and Wine specializes in titles centered on art, fashion, food and design and offers nearly 250 wines by the bottle and 15 wines by the glass. It’s here that owners Katie Barringer and Jordan Smelt merge their love for reading, wine and food in an understated yet sophisticated space. Dine on oysters, raw hamachi with seasonal fruit and beautifully confit duck or even a bowl of crispy fries served with horseradish aioli for dunking while sipping champagne. Wines range from spunky albariños and buttery chardonnays to energetic zweigelts and full-bodied mourvedres. Reservations required for meals.

Public transport info: Click here for MARTA bus timetables. Click here for MARTA train schedules.

Warning: Health experts consider eating out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; this may pose a risk to vaccinees, especially in areas with high COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidelines are here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here. People are strongly advised to wear masks indoors or in crowded situations, regardless of vaccination status, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

675 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast, GA 30308
(404) 343-1488


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