I went to the cutest restaurant/café/bar the other night. You’ve most likely heard of it, but if you haven’t, the Book and Bar is one of many coffee shops in Portsmouth, and is comfortable enough for doing some late-night homework.
I went with my friend Sam Percuoco, a junior psychology and justice studies major, on a whim; we both had work to do and wanted to escape campus for a bit. We had heard about it from quite a few people but wanted to check it out for ourselves. Conveniently, the café was open until 10 p.m., which was perfect since we left campus around 7:30 p.m. While we did take my car that I have on campus, the Book and Bar is easily accessible via the Wildcat Transit Portsmouth route. All you need to do is get off at the Market Square stop and walk down Pleasant Street, which is about a five-minute walk from the bus stop.
The restaurant is exactly what the name entails… books and a bar. There are about a dozen bookshelves filled with books of nearly every genre – even an entire shelf dedicated to architecture. While it is a bar, (yes, they serve alcohol), they do in fact serve coffee and tea. Sam and I decided on herbal tea since it was nighttime and we didn’t need the pick-me-up from the caffeine. I got the “Howl” herbal tea blend which contained calendula, lemongrass, cornflower petals, jasmine flower buds and some orange peel. It was a rather floral and citrusy tea and pretty good. Sam got the “Imagine” herbal tea blend that had white peony, strawberries, jasmine flower buds and orange peel. The tea itself is served in a tea bag attached to a coffee stirrer to make it easier to take out and control the steeping time. Both teas were about $2.50 per mug and $4 per pot of tea. The baked goods were a little pricy though.
We also indulged in a piece of chocolate chip zucchini bread which was scrumptious and perfectly moist. I should also mention that we took advantage of their free Wi-Fi. In the middle of our unproductive work session we decided to stretch our legs and take a gander at the variety of books. Sam was particularly interested in the criminal and the mystery genre. But I was more intrigued by the sale which was 50-70 percent off the original price of books. I didn’t buy any though. I already have a lot of books that I don’t read.
The café crowd was a mix of old and young couples and some people just enjoying their own company. The vibe overall was comfortable and inclusive. The baristas were not the nicest people in the world, but we may have caught them at a bad time.
If you’re looking to get away from campus and kill some time for a few hours, I would highly recommend checking out the Book and Bar. They have something for everyone, whether that’s food, a glass of wine, coffee, books or even various events. They hold an open mic every Wednesday night at 7:30. If open mics aren’t for you, they also have bands, individual performers and writers and poetry nights.