Food & Drink

Soon You’ll Be Able to Drink (Legally) at Barnes & Noble

In an attempt to survive the brick-and-mortar-bookstore apocalypse, Barnes & Noble is finally giving the people what they want: booze. The company recently announced that it will serve wine and beer at several new stores, with plans to expand the program if it proves successful. The first store to offer readers a glass of wine with their Agatha Christie will open in Eastchester, New York, in October. Stores in Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California; and Loudon, Virginia, will follow soon after.

According to the LA Times, Keven Danow, a lawyer consulting with Barnes & Noble, spoke about similar plans back in December at a New Hartford, New York, location. Danow pointed out that alcohol could boost attendance at readings and other events held at the store.

The announcement was a boon to Barnes & Noble stock last week, making it a bright spot among the chaotic Brexit fallout, as CNN Money points out. Alcohol service—under the guidance of new restaurant group president Jaime Carey—is one of a number of changes Barnes & Noble has made in the last year in an effort to transform into a retailer of lifestyle goods and services along with paperbacks and clean, easily accessible bathrooms.  

We’re all for boozy book readings, but on the cold October night when the Eastchester store opens, we still might opt for a book and a bottle delivered right to our door. Plus, Amazon’s “customers also bought” section is really just a crowdsourced book and booze pairing guide. Now, if the new locations started serving well-crafted mixed drinks, we’d happy plop down with a book and an Old Fashioned in a Barnes & Noble bar. Maybe a book from the store’s extensive wine and beverage section or, more likely, the latest J.K. Rowling release.