Bringing your own book to a bar is a good way to while away an afternoon, but even better is being surrounded by hundreds of books — and since the library tends to frown on brown-bagging, we suggest you hit up these places instead. Both spots double as cafés and bars, where you can linger over a glass of wine and your new paperback find.
Tres Gatos, 470 Centre St, Boston :: 617.477.4851 :: tresgatosjp.com :: Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St, Boston :: 617.267.8688 :: tridentbookscafe.com
This relatively new Harvard Square restaurant takes its name, and its interior décor (antique type cases, old newspapers), from its extremely important location in the history of writing — it was the site, as you can probably guess, of the first printing press in the country. Stephen Daye printed his first broadsheet here, The Freeman's Oath, in 1639, following it up a year later with the Bay Psalm Book.
13-15 Dunster St, Cambridge :: 617.497.0900 :: thefirstprinter.com
CANTAB LOUNGE + LIZARD LOUNGE
These eclectic bars have been hotbeds of creativity for years, hosting both music and the type of made-for-literature characters that are in plentiful supply in Cambridge. They're also home to two long-running poetry nights, where poets both new and established sling verse to the backdrop of barkeeps slinging booze.
Cantab Lounge, 738 Mass Ave, Cambridge :: 617.354.2685 :: cantab-lounge.com :: Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass Ave, Cambridge :: 617.547.0759 :: lizardloungeclub.com
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