Across the globe, bookstores, beauty salons, and even laundromats are incorporating full bars into their ethos. And we’re not talking about attractions with a drink menu, or themed bars. These brilliant watering holes are true hybrids that patrons hit up for quality beverages and an additional service, whether it’s groceries or manicures. Bottoms up!
BookBar: Denver, CO
This bookstore-slash-wine bar is a match made in heaven. Unlike book-themed bars where no one actually reads, BookBar highly encourages guests to sit for a while, either with a title from the store or their own bookshelves. There’s no pressure to buy a book, so feel free to kick back with a local or international glass as you unwind from a long journey, do some journaling, or mingle with the locals and pick up some travel tips. If you’re craving something a little more high energy or structured, time your visit with the bar’s poetry readings and book discussion happy hours.
Bart: Orlando, FL
Craft beer and classic video games? This bar has both. This family-owned bar boasts a friendly, hip vibe and expert knowledge of brews. The menu comprises 81 different bottles and 20 cans. The distractions are just as robust, with arcade favorites likes Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and if you can tear yourself away from that, there are displays of local art, guest bands, and screenings of hit films from the 1980s, all delivered in the decor and vibe of that same era.
Wasbar: Antwerp and Ghent, Belgium
We’re not sure how many people use the 18 washers and dryers here daily, but Wasbar is a fully functional laundromat. If you do find your wardrobe needing a little refreshment during a Belgian foray, skip the pricey hotel services and put that money toward very reasonably priced beer, wine, or spirits. Hungry? Come here for a brunch-time waffle.
Drink Shop Do: London, UK
This cheery venue, which focuses on shopping and crafting, is the perfect antidote for a rainy spring afternoon. Choose from a menu of 18 cocktails, 12 kinds of wine, 10 beers, and three ciders. As you sip, browse curios like handmade throw pillows and vintage furniture – pretty much everything in the store is for sale – or try your hand at tote bag printing or other crafts. There’s also a healthy assortment of breakfast and lunch dishes, including some vegan and organic options.
Beauty Bar: New York, NY
Other beauty bars have popped up, but this haunt, housed in a former beauty parlor, is the original. Since 1995, martinis have been served alongside manicures, the latter of which can be had for a mere $10. Of course, you don’t actually have to get your nails done to enjoy a strong drink or dance with abandon to 80s music. The venue draws a relatively young crowd, unsurprisingly, but is great for anyone looking for an experience that’s at once dive-y, energetic, and very East Village.
Whole Foods: Various
Ok, this isn’t technically a bar, but we couldn’t help but include it. At various Whole Foods across the country, shoppers can buy wine by the glass in the afternoon, and are welcome to carry their glasses through the grocery aisles. In fact, the price of drinks is so affordable that shoppers have been known to turn up after work just for the wine. We hear that in Arlington, a residential neighborhood just west of Washington, D.C., happy hour drinks go for $3 or $4 and come with gourmet nuts.