The combination of a good book and a cup of tea is about as iconic as strawberries and cream, or Sonny and Cher. Though, few cafes allow you the freedom to choose a book off the shelves, kick back with a good coffee or a cuppa and treat yourself to a little something from the bakery while taking in the literary greats all in the same place. Just a handful of cafe-bookstores exist around Australia, so those that do are really something worth cherishing. Whether you’re searching for inspiration for your next book, meeting with a publisher, or simply in need of a quiet place to do some much-needed reading, our go-to guide for Australia’s top bookshop cafes for the avid reader, writer, researcher and relaxer is a great place to start.
Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore: This Oxford Street Institution has been there forever and a day, as the saying goes. No doubt feeding the minds of many great thinkers and writers at the cafe, a visit to this quaint bookstore is among one the more delicious ways to enjoy literature.
78 Oxford Street, Paddington
Sappho Books and Cafe: over 30,000 books like the walls of this daytime cafe and night-time tapas bar. Pick up one of the many popular or rare titles and take a seat in the outdoor courtyard to while away the hours.
51 Glebe Point Road, Sydney
Gertrude and Alice: This beachside cafe and bookstore is the whole package – Bondi quality cafe food and specialty coffee served in a quirky and eclectic bookshop setting. This hole in the wall is home to a collection of over 25 000 titles, new and old, recently published and classics, for you to work your way through.
1/46 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Berkelouw Paddington: with countless books spread over three levels, you’ll never be short of reading material at this corner glasshouse of literature and art. You can also swap your coffee for a wine and park yourself in a plush leather armchair for a night of pure literary bliss.
19 Oxford Street, Paddington
State Cinema Bookstore: Housed by one of the many historical Hobart Buildings, the State Cinema is home to a cafe and bookshop perfect for lovers of non-fiction, travel, art, architecture, fashion and culture. Be it a glass of wine or a coffee over a read, there are few places quite like it.
373 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
Volumes: the only thing better than a good book and a piping hot cuppa, is a good book and a hot cuppa in front of an open fire. There are plenty of best-sellers to choose from, so take your pick and settle in for a good read.
70 Commercial Place, Eltham
The Bodhi Tree: Using good books as a way to wellness, either by reading one to relax or reading one to learn about said wellness,s falls at the crux of what you’ll find at The Bodhi Tree. The cafe produces organic and largely vegetarian eats by day to those relaxing in the sunny courtyard, though by night, the space lends itself to live music and cinema.
416 – 418 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn
Mockingbird Lounge: A book boutique to its core, Mockingbird Lounge is every bit the old-school bookstore with the added benefit of high tea in the same place. There’s also a beautiful courtyard garden to soak up the sun and the wisdom of some of your favourite authors.
63a Broadway, Glenelg South
Muse Food, Wine and Books: From the outset, it appears to be just an upmarket Canberra bookstore. However, the smell of coffee will lure you in far enough to hit the cafe. With a collection of new and used books, this is one for readers who are open to finding their next literary adventure in the classic as well as the contemporary.
69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston
The River Read: Shelves stocked with new releases all the way to children’s books and specialty coffee to boot, this bookstore cafe is a quiet escape from the touristy hustle of Noosaville. True to Queensland style, perhaps an iced-coffee is the way to go when settling down to a good book.
2/203 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville