Whoever thought to combine books and coffee was onto something. These stores take it to a whole new level, writes Megan Arkinstall

 

1 TUSCAN-STYLE NOOK: Volumes, Eltham, Victoria

This may be the ideal curl-up café: aside from an array of best-sellers, the store has a cosy open fire during winter, while in summer the balcony fronting the Tuscan-style building is bathed in sun, a perfect spot to indulge in their ridiculously large number of food offerings (including, er, a lunch time buffet). But the walls inside this buzzing café are the highlight; the mural depicting an ‘Eltham meets New Orleans’ street scene is a remnant from the original owners who had a love for jazz. And there is a long waiting list for the remaining wall space, which is used for local artists to exhibit their work. 70 Commercial Place, Eltham; 03 9431 5000; volumes.com.au

2 VERSES AND VINO: Sappho Books, Glebe, NSW

Sappho Books leads a double life: café by day, tapas bar by night… with a dealing in books on the side. Literally – the sides of this café are wall to wall with around 30,000 books, some rare, some available exclusively at this café. Housed in a former Youth Centre (complete with vibrant graffitied walls), the store also features open mic poetry nights, which draw in crowds of hip young Sydney things who sit in the outdoor courtyard and soak up the words of literary greats – and the wine. 51 Glebe Point Road, Glebe; 02 9552 4498; sapphobooks.com.au

3 A REEL OF BOOKS: State Cinema Bookstore, Hobart, Tasmania

Originally built in 1913, the State Cinema is a Hobart icon. Although the still-functioning theatre has moved on somewhat from the black and white silent films it used to feature (blockbusters and 3D movies are more the go these days), it’s still as charming as ever. But there is another reason to visit: adjoining the cinema, housed in an 1883 building, is a boutique bookstore selling fine books specialising in art, architecture, geography and film. Grab a pick-me-up coffee or savour a glass of wine as you turn your pages (and step back in time) before catching a flick. 373 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart; 03 6234 6318; statecinemabookstore.com.au

4 INSPIRING READS: The Bodhi Tree, Mt Hawthorn, WA

The Bodhi Tree is not your regular new age hippy joint, even if the name suggests otherwise. Yes, the food is healthy and organic – 90 per cent of the menu is vegetarian – the music relaxing, the books focus on wellbeing, and there are philosophical lectures and creative workshops. But this place also offers cinema nights and a fantastic music corner, where both amateur and professional musicians play. And we all have a little free spirit hiding in us somewhere, right? 416-418 Oxford Street, Mt Hawthorn; 08 9444 9884; bodhitree.net.au

5 PARISIAN ABODE: Gertrude & Alice, Bondi, NSW

Inspired by Parisian literature and culture of the ‘20s and ‘30s, this cosy bookstore café has become a Bondi institution since opening eight years ago. Since then, the locals have gone from regulars, to friends, to family, says owner Jane Turner. The warm lighting, rustic bricked walls and nostalgic photos lure in passersby. But it is the huge range of second-hand books stacked haphazardly around the store and the delicious homemade chai tea served in old china tea cups that bring people back again and again. The wine selection isn’t bad, either. 46 Hall Street, Bondi; 02 9130 5155; gertrudeandalice.com.au

6 COFFEE AND COOK BOOKS: The Book Kitchen, Surry Hills, NSW

If you need a jolt in the morning, the locally-sourced coffee at The Book Kitchen in hip suburb Surry Hills is said to pack a punch. But the fresh and seasonal menu featuring organic and bio dynamic food and wine will undoubtedly tempt you to linger a little longer. Gastronomic delights don’t stop in the kitchen, either; The Book Kitchen specialises in an extensive range of both second-hand and new release cookbooks, which can be perused before purchase over your caffeine at the communal table. 255 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills; 0420 239 469; thebookkitchen.com.au

7 COUNTRY INSTITUTION: Hardback Café, Orange, NSW

This pre-World War II bookstore has come a long way since it first began. What was once a straight bookstore has become a spot to sit amongst fine books and decadent desserts, sipping coffee and listening to the home-grown acoustic entertainment that fills the aisles on weekends. A percentage of all sales from books and coffee are used to purchase trees to plant in the local community. Customers can even host their own private function amongst the vintage books. 172 Summer Street, Orange; 02 6362 8699; hardbackcafe.com.au

8 CUTE AS A BUTTON: Mockingbird Lounge, Glenelg South, SA

Old-style soda, homemade treats, and fine teas… this delightful second-hand bookstore is as cute as a button, as is the shop dog Harper, who potters around the stacks of books that tower over her. High tea is available for private functions or book clubs, and budding novelists can refine their skills in the creative writing workshops. The store is decorated with local art and photography, stationery and gorgeous handmade gifts, all available for purchase. 63a Broadway, Glenelg South; 08 7007 2242; mockingbirdlounge.com.au

9 SWOON FOR MACARONS: The Mac Factory, Adelaide, SA

For those who can’t get enough of the sweet stuff: this is your bookstore. The Mac Factory specialises in handmade macarons in countless flavours (Turkish Delight, Watermelon and Peanut Butter to name a few), which promise sugary deliverance while you sit in the ‘Book Nook’ and peruse their extensive range of gorgeous literature, all cooking and food related. Of course, if you’ve reached your sugar limit, there’s also a weekend breakfast menu, which includes savoury options such as scrambled eggs with potato pancake, and tomato tart with basil and ricotta. Delish. 190 Hutt Street, Adelaide; 08 8223 3887; themacfactory.com.au

10 RIVER VIEWS: The River Read, Noosaville, QLD

Most of popular coastal town Noosaville oozes casual style, but it’s this little charming bookstore café that has our attention. The owners are a sister-team affectionately known as ‘the book sisters’, who have a passion for books and coffee. A simple premise, yes, but their little shop offers more than that. The location is idyllic – a sun-filled courtyard overlooks the river – and they promise that amongst their treasure trove of second-hand books, you will find something to keep you enthralled long enough for a second cup of coffee. 6 Thomas Street, Noosaville; 07 5473 0483; theriverread.com.au

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