Time to get to Denver and the BookBar

“This is it, this is what I wanted,” says Nancy Sullivan, owner of the new BookBar in Denver. The American Booksellers’ Assn. checked in with the bookseller-slash-bar maven to see how things were going two months after her launch.

The BookBar’s physical space is half bookstore, half wine bar, making it exactly what its tagline reads: “A book shop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers.”

If that seems like a logical fit for consumers -- many readers say they like to sit down with a book and a glass of wine -- it isn’t as simple on the management side. “It’s been especially complicated because it’s essentially like running two different businesses. It’s been a challenge to keep up with the book side and the bar side,” Sullivan admits.

But she keeps both in mind. When people are enjoying themselves at the bar, she encourages them to take a stroll through the books area. In the shop’s meeting area, designed to host book clubs, there are tables where patrons can sip drinks and dine on the small plates they ordered at the bar.

The BookBar has presented a variety of events; in addition to the traditional author readings, it has hosted cooking demonstrations in its kitchen and a knitting club. “Every time we have an event it’s a great sales day,” Sullivan says.
At one poetry reading, as a poet threw his arm in the air, there was a massive roll of thunder outside -- and the entire room burst into laughter. “This is exactly what I intended to do, to bring together a whole room around poetry or literature,” Sullivan says, “to see everybody laughing together.”


The BookBar is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, should you find yourself in Denver and in need of a glass of wine or a book.


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“This is it, this is what I wanted.”