Grab a good book, something boozy and get cosy at one of London's best library bars.
A seemingly ordinary bookcase at BFI Southbank hides the entrance to Benugo’s intimate cocktail bar, where hardback tomes line the walls. Order something whiskyish, grab your title of choice and settle in for the night. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. Waterloo.
This café-bar-bookshop-gallery has a ‘living room’ vibe that’s a welcome respite from modern Soho. The evenings are reserved for members, but in the daytime it’s open to anyone with a predilection for good books. 12 Ingestre Place, W1F 0JF. Oxford Circus.
The excellent Bush Theatre moved into the old Shepherd’s Bush Library in 2012. The walls are stacked from floor to ceiling with shelves of play texts to peruse with your pints. You’ll be slurring Ibsen and shouting Beckett at strangers before the night is out. 7 Uxbridge Rd, W12 8LJ. Shepherd’s Bush Market.
This sterling gastropub is full of surprises. As well as the basement cinema, there’s an upstairs library where you can curl up with a pint and a paperback. 29 London Rd, SW17 9HW. Tooting rail.
The explosion of garish Americana feels more like Vegas than the East End. Which makes Far Rockaway the perfect spot for a dedicated comic-book library. Settle in to read about superhero exploits, washing the adventures down with beers and burgers. KAPOW! 97-113 Curtain Rd, EC2A 3BS. Old St.
Or ditch the books and check out London's best pubs and bars with open fires.