What better way to spend a day than by flicking through your new favourite book in one of Australia’s best bookshop cafes?
Creating the perfect oasis, with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other, these independent Australian bookstores combine the best of both worlds and the perfect way to waste a lazy afternoon in.
From secondhand books to new titles, fresh pastries and gastronomic lunch menus, these 10 Australian bookstores provide the ultimate escape in taste and imagination.
New South Wales
Gertrude and Alice
Bondi isn’t just a beach, it’s a perfect excuse to go to Gertrude and Alice. This quaint secondhand bookshop is a book-lovers dream with thousands of used and new books covering walls, floors and tables. It’s easy to lose yourself within the shelves but make sure to resurface for a cup of coffee and scone at their adjoining cafe.
Whilst it looks like an ordinary bookshop at first glance, Sappho Books is actually a bookstore, a cafe and a wine bar, hosting everything from live mic nights and poetry readings. This eccentric venue is a treasure trove of discovery with over 30,000 titles stacked within its shelves, with some out of print or ‘hard to find’. If you’re looking for your next literary hangout, Sappho Books is a strong contender.
Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore
Spread across three levels of their Oxford Street abode, Ampersand Cafe takes the bookshop cafe to a whole new level, literally. With a menu boasting their famous Apple and Berry crumble and Coconut, Berry & Chai Spiced Black Sticky Rice ($19), their food alone is worth a visit. Whether you’re looking for a quiet space to escape and read a book or connect with someone at their communal table, Ampersand provides an atmosphere that suits.
Fullers Bookshop is one of Tasmania’s leading independent bookstores and is still going strong after 100 years in business. As a known presence in the local literary scene, Fullers is the home for curious readers, avid bibliophiles and, of course, the Afterword Cafe. This cosy venue is situated right next to the books providing an aroma of coffee and freshly baked goods whilst creating the most comfortable atmosphere to curl up and read.
Hares and Hyenas
This Fitzroy space is more than just a bookshop cafe, it’s also a literary hub for members of the LGBTQI+ community. Boasting titles for queer, gender- and sexuality- diverse people, it also hosts a selection of kids and young adult books with needed representation. Bookshop by day and fully licensed venue at night, Hares and Hyenas provides the best of both worlds offering literary events and musical performances welcome to everyone.
The Mockingbird Lounge is a lot more than it seems as a cafe, bookshop, art gallery and community space. This is a bookshop that does it all, with book clubs, creative writing classes and knitting groups all happening within its walls throughout the week. Mockingbird Lounge is more than just about the books and its cosy atmosphere, but it’s the perfect space for those just looking to read or connect with the community.
South Sea Books and Trading
South Sea Books and Trading is an independent bookstore in Port Elliot providing ultimate comfort. This homey adobe sets the scene with comfortable sofas, warm coffee and a large selection of books from crime, fantasy and cookery to suit anyone’s taste. Take in the ambience and browse the shelves with a coffee in hand to make for a perfect afternoon.
Bodhi Tree Bookstore Cafe
Known as Perth’s most unique bookstore cafe, Bodhi Tree is a vibrant literary hub stocking purposeful and uplifting books. Their philosophy to ‘feed your soul’ is not just a reference to their books, but also to their delicious vegetarian-friendly cafe serving fair-trade organic coffees and traditional herbal teas. With a healthy selection of bagels, salads and more, Bodhi Tree Bookstore Cafe is the place to feed your mind, body and soul.
Riverbend books is a local favourite in Bulimba with its leafy deck and cosy ambience, that makes it a perfect go-to on a slow afternoon. Their floor to ceiling shelves are stacked well with plenty of material to browse focusing on Australian authors and children’s books. Or, if you’d rather take a break, settle into the cafe and enjoy an all-day breakfast or a gourmet sandwich for lunch.
Clarence Corner Bookshop
Located in a historic building and specialising in secondhand books, Clarence Corner Bookshop has an old-timey charm that can be hard to find these days. Within their countless rows of books lies a mix of contemporary, classics and obscure finds to satiate curious readers looking to discover something new. For tired wanderers looking to settle down, simply order a coffee to sip on and take a break outside in their courtyard.