Books, cafes and coffee are the perfect trifecta you just can’t go wrong with. Lucky for us, Sydney is home to some fantastic cafés and bookshops which provide an excellent retreat when the weather outside is a little grey and soggy. With rainy days predicted in Sydney yet again, we suggest curling up with a book at these cosy cafes around town. These charming spots are also ideal if you’re seeking some rest and reflection.
Here are some of our absolute favourites that book lovers in Sydney should check out.
1. Ampersand Café & Bookstore
Ampersand Café is a beloved Paddington spot with ample outdoor and indoor seating. It’s the complete package when it comes to great food along with an ambient reading space. Think big, comfy seats, a great collection of books, homey vibes, and of course, great coffee. Every corner of the café is lined with classic and contemporary titles and many picturesque corners to nestle into. The café also offers great breakfast and brunch options like bircher muesli and 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
Gertrude and Alice is a Bondi staple. 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, you’ll find hundreds of books lined on every corner and wall of the shop and excellent coffee to boot. It’s also located in a coveted Sydney spot with sweeping ocean views just a few minutes away.
📍 1/46 Hall St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
3. Sappho Books, Café & Bar
Sappho comes with a courtyard and outdoor space which is excellent for morning catchups. 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 bite into while you read. To top it all, it’s also a wine bar and live music venue that regularly provides a platform for local talent. Their impressive menu is comprised of interesting dishes named after books, such as Mice and Men which is an open cheese and tomato melt and Romeo and Juliet which is an all-day dish of free-range ham, Swiss cheese, rocket and tomato on Brickfield’s sourdough. If you’re visiting, don’t forget to take a detour and fill your bags at the Glebe Markets.
📍 51 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037
4. Books Kinokuniya
With over 300,000 titles in English, Japanese, Chinese, French and German, Books Kinokuniya is famous for its extensive collection of Asian books and magazines along with DVDs and stationery. Located opposite the buzzing Queen Victoria Building, Books Kinokuniya provides a quiet sanctuary for bibliophiles to withdraw to in the heart of the CBD. We also recommend their popular watermelon cake at the café garnished with delicious lychee slices and edible flowers. If you’re an avid comic book lover, you should definitely have this store on your radar.
📍 The Galeries, 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
5. Berkelouw Books
Berkelouw Books has several locations spread out across the city. Right from the quaint 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, you don’t have to go too far to stumble upon one of these gems. Founded in 1812, Berkelow Books continues to be an age-old and revered institution in Sydney.
6. Café Noun, Green Square Library
Green Square Library is quite a hit on Instagram and for good reason. The contemporary architecture complete with several playful and vibrant spaces give it a unique quality that makes it a standout in the hospitality space closer to the CBD. Café Noun — the coffee house within the café, has a simple and neat aesthetic and serves great coffee and an excellent atmosphere for a read and a quick bite.
📍 355 Botany Rd, Zetland NSW 2017
Located near the beautiful Avalon Beach, Bookochino is a favourite amongst coffee lovers and readers. 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.
📍 66 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach NSW 2107