Travel

Rave

Portsmouth, N.H., Book & Bar

Portsmouth Book & Bar opened in December and mixes books with food, wine, beer, coffee, and camaraderie.

CHRISTOPHER KLEIN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Portsmouth Book & Bar opened in December and mixes books with food, wine, beer, coffee, and camaraderie.

PORTSMOUTH — Could ale cure the ails of independent bookstores? Given the crowd that filled the newly-opened Portsmouth Book & Bar on a recent Saturday afternoon, it’s certainly possible. As the winter sun gushed through the tall picture windows of the bookstore-taproom hybrid, dozens of customers lounged on sofas, held court at a cozy six-seat bar, and huddled around tables imbibing books and glasses of beer and wine.

While cafes have become common appendages as bookstores try to fend off the Amazon and e-book assault, Book & Bar, which opened in December, adds a new dimension with beer, wine, gourmet sandwiches, small plates, and pastries. Brew lovers can go upscale with one of the local craft beers on tap or slum with a can of Narragansett, the sudsy equivalent of a trashy romance novel. There are about a dozen choices on the wine list, and caffeine fiends will still find coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and coffeehouse chatter.

Advertisement

The menu of high-quality used books for sale, many of them for less than the price of a beer, is even more impressive. Thousands of tomes are organized in sections from graphic novels to math, New England to Eastern philosophy.

The renovated, 2,800-square-foot space, located in the city’s old granite Custom House just a block from Market Square, retains the building’s 19th-century grandeur with lofty coffered ceilings and classical columns. The result is a very literary atmosphere for enjoying a drink, a meal, and a good read. Good luck ordering that on Amazon.

Portsmouth Book & Bar  40 Pleasant St., 603-427-9197, www.bookandbar.com

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

CHRISTOPHER KLEIN

CHRISTOPHER KLEIN

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com