The newest addition to Portsmouth’s literary and food scene is Book and Bar located in the heart of Market Square. Housed in the old Custom’s House Building with tall ceilings, spectacular moldings, and deep windows, this new bookstore combines the sale of like-new books with a cafe atmosphere.
Arranged around the perimeter of the cafe and in the back section are bookcases filled with over 17,000 books from fiction to science, philosophy to cookbooks, biography to travel. Another 70,000 volumes await their turn on the shelves. In the center of the space is an 8 to 10 seat bar overlooking the small food prep area. There are also 10 tables for two, numerous cozy armchairs and a small sofa for curling up with your coffee while you check out a few books or visit with a friend.
The small menu includes three breakfast items for the early birds, Book and Bar opens at 10:00 a.m. Lunch items include salads and pressed sandwiches. I had the Brie and Quince sandwich with sliced apples and a small watercress salad. At $7.00, it was a great light dinner or afternoon snack. Dinner items include small, tapas like dishes as well as cheese and charcuterie plates. Prices range from $4.00 to $10.00.
Beverages include an array of locally brewed beers on tap and bottled. A variety of red and white wines can be paired with the cheese plate. For those cold, wintery afternoons, you can enjoy coffees, teas, hot cider and cocoa.
Located just a 10-15 minute walk from the Martin Hill Inn, I think our guests are really going to enjoy Book and Bar while they explore Portsmouth. In between shopping, after touring the Strawbery Banke Museum or even after dining out at one of the local restaurants, this is a great place to relax, unwind, recharge and buy a good book.
Book and Bar is located at 40 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801. Telephone: 603-427-9197.