Surrounding the Custom House in the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire are restaurants, a gourmet grocery store, a handful of banks, and charming greenery contrasting the red brick of historic buildings. It’s like a lovely daydream, really, spending a sunny day in Portsmouth.
What turns that daydream into a Utopian reality, however, is what is inside the Custom House. Blending the beauty of a bookstore with the refreshments of a bar is one of the happiest places on Earth: Portsmouth Book & Bar.
Step inside this wondrous place and you will see a couple of table-height bookshelves as well as a few full-length shelves that lead the way to tables and chairs, where, when you’re not browsing the rest of the bookstore, you can sit and enjoy a beverage of your choice.
The menu features a plethora of teas, but you may be more (or equally) drawn to the beer and wine lists like I was on this first visit. You can also get food at Portsmouth Book & Bar, but I stuck with a beer while I browsed for books.
Though I say “while I browsed,” I did not carry my beer around as I looked for some new tomes to take home. I’m not sure if it’s allowed, but I could not pull as many books off of the shelves and into my open arms with one of my hands preoccupied, so my boyfriend supervised my beverage until I made my selections.
There are cook books, historical books, books about art, children’s books, comic books, classic and new fiction; really, something for everyone at Portsmouth Book & Bar. They also host a variety of events like readings and band performances, which in conjunction with their rich history, makes this a must-visit bookstore that I will definitely be journeying to again (and again).