The best of both worlds.
Sydney is home to some amazing cafés and book shops. Make the most of the chilly weather by curling up with a book and a cup of joe at these incredible spots around town. A perfect sanctuary when you’re after some much-needed solace, these cafes are also ideal for a conversation and when you need to just slow down and recalibrate. Here are some of our absolute favourites. (Featured image: Ampersand Café & Bookstore.)
1. Ampersand Café & Bookstore
Ampersand Café is a cosy café in Paddington with ample outdoor and indoor seating. Its the complete package when it comes to a great café plus reading space. Think big, comfy seats, great collection of books, comfy vibes and of course, great coffee — Ampersand has them all and then some. Every corner of the café is lovely, lined by both classic and contemporary reads. The café also offers great brunch options like a breakfast bowl comprising burnt fig and almond bircher, berry and apple crumble, coconut and chai spiced sticky rice, yoghurt and fruits or Turkish inspired labneh eggs. Slow down with a great read or catch up with a friend — this café won’t disappoint.
📍 78 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021
2. Gertrude and Alice
A visit to Gertrude and Alice while in Bondi is an absolute must. Named after literary giants Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, this café is a dream for book lovers. A quiet place to unwind amidst the bustle of Bondi, the café is loaded with hundreds of books lining every corner and wall of the shop and seriously great coffee. Gertrude and Alice is an institution in the world of bookstore and cafes in Sydney.
📍 1/46 Hall St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
3. Sappho Books, Café & Bar
Sappho comes with a courtyard which is a great place to retreat to and pour over your favourite book. Tucked away in a tiny corner of Glebe, Sappho also offers a great range of food and drinks with ample vegan and vegetarian options. To top it all, Sappho is also a wine bar that regularly plays host to live performances by local talent. No surprises that it is such a staunch favourite among Sydneysiders. Their impressive menu is comprised of interesting dishes named after books, such as Mice and Men which is an open cheese and tomato melt on sourdough rye and Romeo and Juliet which is an all-day dish of free range ham, Swiss cheese, rocket and tomato on Brickfield’s sourdough.
📍 51 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037
4. Books Kinokuniya
With over 300000 titles in English, Japanese, Chinese, French and German, Books Kinokuniya is a mega bookstore popular for it’s extensive collection of Asian books and magazines along with DVDs and stationery. Located opposite the bustling QVB, Books Kinokuniya provides a quiet place for people to retreat to in the business and noise of the CBD and also offers a great selection of gifts. We highly recommend their popular watermelon cake at the café garnished with delicious lychee slices and edible flowers. If you’re an avid comic book lover — add this bookstore to your list asap.
📍 The Galeries, 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
5. Berkelouw Books
With several locations around the city, right from the cosy café and reading space in Hornsby interestingly located in a glass bridge to Café 1812 in Paddington, a trendy bookstore and bar all in one to the Newtown bookshop and café, you don’t have to go too far or struggle too hard to stumble upon one of these gems. Founded in 1812, Berkelow Books continue to be an age-old and revered institution in Sydney.
6. Café Noun, Green Square Library
Green Square Library is Instagram famous for more reasons than one. The urban and contemporary architecture and playful and vibrant spaces give it a unique quality that makes it a standout in the café/library culture this side of town. Café Noun — the coffee house within the café, has a simple and neat aesthetic to it and serves great coffee and an excellent atmosphere for a read and a quick bite to eat.
📍 355 Botany Rd, Zetland NSW 2017
Located near the picturesque and tranquil Avalon Beach, Bookochino is a classic stop for coffee lovers and bibliophiles. Owned by Raymond Bonner, a Pulitzer prize winning former foreign correspondent and author, you can rest assured the books are curated by people who know what they’re doing. Spend an afternoon flicking through a new book and sipping on some seriously great coffee while taking in the excellent views at this lovely little café — you won’t be disappointed.
📍 66 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach NSW 2107
Looking for more reading inspiration? These are the 5 Sydney-Based Female Authors To Add To Your Reading List asap.