Amidst the bustle of city lives, urban spaces and digital clutter, we rarely have the time to stop and stare at the crisp pages of a book, letting our worries float away as we engross ourselves in an escapist world of fantasy, fiction, reality, or whatever else grabs our attention. With characters from across the globe and different eras as company, all book lovers truly deserve a safe haven to snuggle up with the latest novel and live vicariously through the author’s pen. A space far removed from the daily rush, a quiet and personal spot meant for just you and your reading pleasure. Well, it’s time to thank us in eloquently worded notes of gratitude, because we might have just put together the holy grail of bookworm safe havens. Walls lined with hardbound treasures and paperback gems surround cosy, welcoming seats, with tables to hold up your steaming cup of coffee or tea. Step into any one of these 20 cafes across India that double up as reading spots and book stores, and escape the world as you know it, even if it’s just for a few minutes. A good, riveting read while sipping on some liquid warmth? Now, that’s the perfect way to spend a weekend. So scroll on for a compilation of warm and cosy book cafes from around the country, and bookmark them for later too.
- Atta Galata, Bengaluru
- Book Café Song, Pune
- Books N’ Brew, Chandigarh
- Café CMYK, New Delhi
- Café Fiction, Gangtok
- Café Story, Kolkata
- Café Turtle, New Delhi
- Café Wanderlust, Gurgaon
- Illiterati, McLeodganj
- Ivy & Bean, New Delhi
- Kitab Khana, Mumbai
- Kunzum Café, New Delhi
- Leaping Windows, Mumbai
- Literati Café, Goa
- Namgyal Café, McLeodganj
- Pagdandi Cafe, Pune
- Spell & Bound, New Delhi
- T-Pot Café, New Delhi
- The Café at Moon River, New Delhi
- The Coffee Cup, Secunderabad
134, KHB Colony, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru | 096325 10126
Atta Galata in Bengaluru began as a regional bookstore. Today, it’s a café and bookstore that satisfies the mind as well as the stomach. Atta Galata is especially known for its homemade breads—the fruit bread and the masala bread are the most popular ones. As for its cerebral corner, the bookshelves hold over 10,000 titles in languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and English.
18, Stellar Enclave, Opposite MSEB Office, Behind McDonald’s, Aundh, Pune | 084462 52589
Book Café Ssong is named after its chatty, enigmatic owner. And this two-storey bookstore-cum-café in Pune is a haven for bookworms and those who crave a warm cuppa between their hands.
1st Floor, SCO 8, Udyan Path, Sector 16D, Chandigarh | 0172 254 1616
Chandigarh’s Books N’ Brew is a hot favourite with the city’s youth because it serves up some legendary Maggi, or so we’ve been led to believe. Frankly, we think that’s a good way to lure youngsters back into reading so we’re big fans of this gimmick. But on a more serious note, Books N’ Brew does also have some great books. Stop by next time you’re in Chandigarh.
15 & 16, Mehar Chand Market, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
CMYK is a sleek, modern bookstore at New Delhi’s Mehar Chand Market that has a very special niche. You’ll find no fiction paperbacks or best sellers here. Instead, CMYK stocks books dedicated to art, design, photography, performing arts, architecture, monographs, travel, lifestyle, erotica, cooking, fashion, and gardening, amongst others. What’s more, the store hands out free coffee to customers. So walk in, shake off the Delhi dust, grab a cuppa and browse through some of their titles that include the links of reputed international publishers such as Phaidon and Taschen. CMYK knows that some art books can get pretty expensive, so they even have an EMI option for purchase. That’s a big plus, in our opinion. CMYK’s café is upstairs on the terrace and its menu options range from Southeast Asian to Continental, and of course, Indian.
Development Area Rd, Gangtok | 03592 204 336
Café Fiction Gangtok shares its premise with Rachna Books, which is a pretty perfect symbiotic relationship. The café serves delicious local fare and some decadent desserts and Rachna stocks a huge variety of books. It’s hard to find two establishments more suited to each other.
8, Lala Lajpat Rai Sarani, Sreepally, Bhawanipur, Kolkata | 098304 70000
Café Story is located inside STORY, one of Kolkata’s most-loved bookstores. The interior is dotted with blue and white tables and has bookshelves lining the walls. So pick a title, settle down at one of the tables and order something off the menu.
Shop No. 23, 2nd Floor, Middle Lane, Khan Market, New Delhi | 011 2465 5641
New Delhi’s Café Turtle was set up to compliment the Full Circle Book Stores. Like the other entries on this list, it too was born of a need to have a space where people could relax and catch up on some reading while enjoying a meal. Café Turtle also has two other branches in Delhi, one at Greater Kailash 1 and the other at Nizamuddin East. The food they serve is fresh and organic, and in winter, every Saturday has a special lunch.
SF 53-54, First Floor, DLF Galleria, DLF Galleria Road, Gurgaon | 084479 44345
Café Wanderlust is a big hit with those who love to travel. Their collection of travel books and magazines will have you flipping pages for hours. We advise going in the morning and demolishing one of their amazing breakfast platters while leafing through a book.
Jogibara Rd, Dharamshala | 097364 79352
It’s no secret that mountains and books make wonderful companions. Illterati, in McLeodganj is high up in the hills of Himachal and its large windows and balcony overlooking the surrounding green hills is every bookworm (and let’s face it, novelist’s) wet dream. It doesn’t hurt that their walls are lined with towering bookshelves positively crammed with books, either. Fiction, photography culture, biographies—take your pick, it’s all available. And the in-house café will take care of any munchies you might have with it local, organic fare.
119, Sishan House, Shahpur Jat, Siri Fort, New Delhi | 011 4109 0119
Ivy & Bean is a cosy café in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat and is a mecca of sorts for egg lovers. It’s also known for its varieties of coffee and tea. Though we have to admit that our favourite thing about this place is their bookshelf. It’s got tons of tomes that are perfectly partnered with long, languid breakfasts. The concept here is simple: for every book you take, replace it with another so that the shelf is always full. If not, then be sure to bring back the one you took.
375, Veer Nairman Rd, Fort, Mumbai | 02261702276
Kitab Khana sits in the busy office district of Fort (or Fountain, as it’s also known). It doesn’t matter that the street outside is one of the busiest—as is the pavement with its jumble of shops. But the minute you walk into Kitab Khana, everything external melts away. All you can smell is the aroma of books mingling with fresh coffee. From contemporary work to classics in English, Hindi Gujarati, Marathi and Urdu, Kitab Khana has something for everyone.
T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi | 011 2651 3949; 09650 702 777
New Delhi’s Kunzum Café has a selection of travel books that you can thumb through as you sip some coffee and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. And that’s not even the best part. The best part is that Kunzum is one of those pay-what-you-like places. So being broke can never be a valid excuse to not visit.
3 Corner View, Dr. Ashok Chopra Marg, Off Yari Road, Opp. Bianca Towers, Versova, Andheri West, Mumbai | 097699 98972
Leaping Windows is India’s first and only library dedicated solely to comic books. If you’re a comic book fan, you can bet there’s a good chance you’ll find whatever you want here. And we’re not just talking about mainstream stuff like Archie or Tintin—we’re talking real comic book gold: Manga titles like Vampire Knight, Usagi, and Lady Snowblood, and graphic novels spanning the Marvel and DC universe along with other titles like John Woo’s Seven Brothers. Plus, the café serves good, honest, home-style food. Talk about a win-win.
E/1-282, Gauravaddo, Calangute, Bardez, Goa | 0832 2277740
Literati Café is located in Calangute and housed in one of those delightfully old-world Portuguese bungalows complete with a shaded veranda and red-tiled roof that oozes Goan charm. From October to March, Literati runs a café that serves a selection of pizzas, pastas and desserts along with tea, coffee and even wine and beer, if you feel like a little afternoon tipple.
Namgyal Monastery, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj | 01892-221040
Namgyal Café is tucked away in a corner of McLeodganj’s Namgyal Monastery and it’s a delightful little eatery done up in bright, cheery tones of red, blue and green. It only has a few tables and is usually perpetually full. Try and snag a window seat to get a spectacular view of the valley beyond, but if you can’t, don’t worry, the café’s multi-lingual library will keep you occupied.
Shop No. 6, Regent Plaza, Baner - Pashan Link Road, Baner, Pune | 077559 08525
Pagdandi is a café-cum-bookstore in Pune that focuses on promoting small independent publishers. Its café dishes out a selection of healthy eating options alongside rather more tempting choices such as brownies and milkshakes.
C11, SDA Market, 2, Hauz Khas Enclave, Hauz Khas, New Delhi | 011 4102 7728
Spell & Bound has you the minute you walk through the door. It’s split over three levels. The ground floor houses bookshelves, a rotating book case and (our personal favourite) a wall that’s covered in framed photos of authors such as Vigrinia Woolf, Anton Chekhov, Salman Rushdie and more. The basement contains more books, in case you don’t find what you’re looking for above ground, and the first floor is where you’ll find Spell & Bound’s café that’s known for its kaathi kebabs and milkshakes. Spell & Bound’s collection is actually pretty staggering, so no matter what your interests are, you’ll find a book to suit them.
Plot No. 7, Opp Kotak Mahindra Bank, Shivalik Road, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi | 0 1141420516
New Delhi’s T-Pot Café is a cute little place in Malviya Nagar that’s popular with youngsters. It’s got boardgames, guitars, and, of course, books—mostly fiction bestsellers. Stop by when in Delhi next and get some of their excellent masala chai to go along with the latest chartbuster.
D16 Defence Colony, New Delhi | 11 4161 7103
Moon River is a pretty popular design store in New Delhi and it’s café, named after the theme song of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is beautifully cosy. With its oversized rattan chairs, large paintings, and densely packed bookshelves, The Café at Moon River is one of those places that’s very hard to leave. Especially once you’ve tried their double chocolate chip cookies.
Behind BP Petrol Bunk, Above Canara Bank, Water Tank Road, Sainikpuri, Dr A.S. Rao Nagar, Secunderabad | 080196 61369
Our favourite spot at The Coffee Cup is the outdoor terrace, where on a good day, you’ll only have the resident potted plants for company. If you need a breather from the heavy tome on your table, The Coffee Cup also has a selection of boardgames to keep you busy.