Since when was going to the bookstore cool? Aside from the prodigal student, the Starbucks junkie or a grad student most people would not go out of their way to spend an extended period of time in a bookstore. But this notion is evicerated when you spend some time at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Gill.
Located right off Dupont Circle this cafe is a beehive of activity. Whether it be on a Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning or even a Friday night there is always a sizable crowd gathered at Kramerbooks. I would know because I have been here on all of the aforementioned times.
(Image brought to you by Brooklyn Nomad)
Taking a look inside you will see a wide variety of literature, from bestsellers and classics to cooking books and book about DC.. Their vast book selection along with long hours and dining options create a heterogeneous cliental which line their shelves every day.I personally love going to look at their selection of humorous literature which have included a parody on Where's Waldo (Osama Bin Laden edition) to a number of books about cats. I also enjoy the local literature as well as their staff's pics.
What separates Kramerbooks from Barnes & Noble is that they have a bar and restaurant. Yes you heard correct a bar, the place where people gather to have a cold one. When I first discovered this I questioned whether it could be a good pairing. I mean you always associate a bookstore with a quiet atmosphere synonomous to your experiences as a child in a public library (back when kids used to go).
But I was pleasantly suprised at how well the the two divergent atmospheres blended. I only went the bar once to have a drink with a friend after purchasing a novel. I enjoyed my time there especially because I channeled my inner child and went against the notion of being quiet in a bookstore. Attached to both the bookstore and the bar is a restaurant that offers a wide variety of gourmet food.
Whether it be a small appetizer which they call sharezies, a full meal, or a sweet desert to go along with your reading Kramerbooks offers it patrons with an array of dining options. I have eaten here a number of times and for a number of different occasions. My favorite two times came during some of our more prominent snow storms, I enjoyed a warm class of hot chocolate to go along with the scrumptious macaroni and cheese you see below you.
(Mac & Cheese)
While it was not spectacular in any discernible way it did render a homy feeling. I also enjoyed their mini crab cakes which were fairly delightful. Some of my other favorites include the Mozzarella, tomatoes and capper mini salad as well as their steamed mussels. They also have the distinguished honor of serving the Obama family chili recipe. I myself have not tried it mainly because I am not that big of a chili fan.
(Mini Crab Cake Duo)
Aside from their sharezies Kramerbooks also offer a wide variety of entrees. One of my favorite dishes here is the tuna & avocado salad which you see below. It is both light and refreshing and with a price tag of $14 it is a good deal. I also enjoyed their butternut squash ravioli which was very flavorful.
(Sushi Tuna & Avocado Salad)
While all the food I have tried has meet my standards the only thing that keeps me coming back is their wide variety of delicious desserts. As you can see from the case they offer a wide range of scrumptious pies which are paired with a scoop of ice cream.
Of the various desserts that I have sampled I would have to say my favorites are the apple crumb pie, wild berry pie, and their red velvet cake. These desserts are great on all occasions. Whether you are by yourself reading a book, with a friend or even on a date.
The cosy atmosphere along with the food and accompanying patrons truly makes Kramerbooks unique. You shouldn't go here just to visit the bookstore or just to get food and drinks because you may be disappointed. If you focus on a single element you may be swayed to go elsewhere. Instead you should visit this place because you want the full experience of this unique store.
All and all Kramerbooks is a fantastic place to visit. If you want to just look at books then go to Borders, if you want to go to a bar or get some food there are plenty of options available all around. But if you want all these at the same time then go to Kramerbooks. The food is good but a bit pricy, the desserts are awesome, and the book selection is solid. All in al a great place to go any time of day and any day of the week.