A well-crafted drink goes hand-in-hand with the printed page. Bring them together and you’re in for a masterpiece.
92 Madison St., Seattle
Located on the ground floor of downtown’s Alexis Hotel, this neighborhood bar attracts a bevy of regular customers and out-of-towners drawn in by the wealth of spirits—both distilled and literary. DRINK: Six rotating taps highlight local craft breweries, including Maritime Pacific, Hale’s and Schooner Exact, but whiskey is king with more than 125 varieties—70 of them single malts. READ: Hundreds of books shelved in both the bar and adjoining Library Bistro (running the gamut from presidential biographies to Jackie Collins novels) are free to read, or $5 to purchase. TIP: A popular every-third-Monday-of-the-month whiskey tasting highlights rarities like specialty Irish single malts and Japanese whiskey. The happy hour is one of the city’s best, with a menu of small plates like three-cheese mac for $3 to $7.
251 Beach Ave., Cape May, N.J.
This hub of Cape May’s Congress Hall resort is a de facto gathering spot for both locals and tourists who meet here for a Yuengling or stop in after a day at the beach, mere steps away. DRINK: Sip from craft bottles like Yards Jefferson’s Tavern Ale, Flying Fish Hopfish and Congress Hall’s very own Blue Pig Tavern Ale. READ: Magazines, novels and beach reads fill a large bookshelf along one of the bar’s chocolate-colored walls. “Tommy’s Folly”—the story of Congress Hall titled for what locals originally thought of it—is a staff favorite. TIP: An open fireplace and plush couch offer repose for both boozehounds and bookworms during brisk winter months. To keep partying into the wee hours, hit up the resort’s basement Boiler Room.
10929 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
Dark-wood floors, leather furnishings and a game room with vintage foosball are things you’d expect to find in the English countryside, not West L.A. DRINK: When not sipping pints of Delirium Tremens or Strongbow Cider, customers go for classic pre-Prohibition cocktails, like the refreshingly light Pimm’s Cup, to pair with small bites. READ: Approximately 800 19th- and early-20th-century tomes line the walls waiting to be read, including an original edition of “The Count of Monte Cristo” and a 1930s “New Book of Etiquette.” TIP: On weekend nights, The Wellesbourne forgoes its usual jazz-filled demeanor for a livelier atmosphere, including spins by some of the area’s best DJs.