Sometimes all we want to do is get away from it all and snuggle up in a quiet place with a good book and a cup of gorom cha or coffee. So we put together a list of book cafes in the city that will allow you to do just that.
These Cosy Book Cafes Are Perfect For A Break From The Madding Crowds
Oxford Cha Bar
One of the oldest and most popular bookstore-cum-café on Park Street, it is a haven for book lovers. If the rains are showing no signs of stopping, worry not, you can spend hours in here gazing through countless books, magazines and memorabilia. Fill your cart with books you wish to buy or browse through and head over to the top floor for a steaming hot cup of Bollywood masala mix cha and barbequed chicken sausages.
Abar Baithak The Coffee Shop
If you are a Feluda fan then there is no better retreat to enjoy the rains than this one. Everything, from the walls to the cushions to the menu card is adorned with the iconic Bengali detective Feluda’s stories. The bookshelves are filled with works of Rabrindranath Tagore, Sherlock Holmes and Satyajit Ray. Munch on a chicken salami sandwich and sip on hazelnut coffee while relishing a classic read.
Café Story By Chai Break
Eat, drink and read to your heart’s content here while watching the raindrops dripping down the window pane. Filled with all genres of books and magazines, Café Story is a book lover’s paradise. Pick up your favourite read with a plate of crispy chilli potato and masala chai to go with it.
Café O Kobita
A quaint hangout with an ambience so calm and quiet that the only sound you will hear is that of roaring thunder and lashing rain outside. In here, you will be surrounded with with quirky graffiti, Bengali poetry and posters of Satyajit Ray, Sukumar Ray and Rabindranath Tagore. Bookworms are sure to be spoilt for choice as their bookshelves are equally impressive filled works of writers such as Sunil Gangopadhyay, Tagore and Subodh Sarkar. Borrow your read and dig into a platter of chello kebab with a mug of hot chocolate.
If the kalboishakhi jhor has got you all flustered, the vibrant and welcoming interiors of this place will instantly calm your nerves. The variety of books here will leave you spellbound. Time will fly (roads will dry up too!) as you spend hours sifting through all the reading material. There is free WiFi too, in case you wish to Google a book for a quick review. Once you have decided on a read, indulge yourself with some cheesy fries and a hot brew.
Majushree Tea Palace
Are you a tea-guzzler, book-devourer and rain-lover all rolled in one? Then Manjushree is just the place for you when it is raining cats and dogs. The place oozes sophistication with its Parisian-style décor, glass windows, high-back lounging chairs and shelves full of classic reads. Sip on rose earl tea in a white and gold rimmed cup with one eye on the rain (through huge glass windows) and the other on Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart.
If there is a café that is meant to be visited particularly during a heavy downpour then this is it. Tastefully done up in happy colours with amazing paintings, quirky artworks on the wall and in-vogue book shelves, Artsy is the place to be when you wish to enjoy the kalboishakhis to the fullest. Plonk yourself on the huge sofa beanbag with a book from their shelf cradling in your lap and the warmth of coffee filling in yours senses.
If you are big on wanderlusting but don’t really enjoy wandering about in the rain, then hop into Travelistan, Kolkata’s first travel-themed cafe. The traveller as well as the book lover in you are in for a treat here as their book shelves are adorned with great travel reads like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries, Dui Chakaye Duniya by Bimal Mukherjee, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, Syed Mujtaba Ali’s seminal book on his travels to Afghanistan, compiled travel writings of Nabaneeta Dev Sen & Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and also several Feluda books with Satyajit Ray’s trademark cover art. Teleport as you leaf through the pages while taking generous gulps of authentic Bengali chai. The tea they serve comes from some of the best estates in Bengal.
The Lighthouse Cafe
A minimalist and aesthetically beautiful setting (very Scandanavian, in fact) with none of the ostentatiousness of a commercial cafe, The Lighthouse Cafe is your place to check if you're looking for some p&q with a healthy brew of coffee to sip. Built arpund a visual arts space, this cafe-cum-bookstore is a great place to lay your hands on rare and niche books (like art journals, and Tara's fabulous graphic books). Pick one of the art journals for some interesting insight to new-age photography and sip on some amazing chemex brew or Kyoto-style cold brew for a cosy afternoon out.