You don't really need to read quotes on coffee from celebrated writers to know that the bean has been a staple of the literary diet for centuries, but it's just too hard to resist citing a few Hemingway sentences — seriously, who else makes cafes sound better?
From A Moveable Feast:
It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.
Whether Papa was talking about Les Deux Magots or some hidden gem in Oak Park, IL is sort of irrelevant. Writers and coffee shops go together like peanut butter and jelly, wings and ranch, Sriracha and popcorn ... you get the bite.
If you're a book lover on vacation, you're probably traveling with reading material. And that's why it's important to know where to get your caffeine fix. Whether you're looking for a spot conducive to reading, a counter that will inspire your next poem, or a table with mega-literary history, these seven places are must-hits.
1Sawada Coffee in Chicago, Illinois
Latte artist Hiroshi Sawada opened his first US cafe in Chicago's bustling West Loop neighborhood. In addition to serving up the bestest, beautifulest matcha latte you've ever sipped (get the Black Camo), Sawada Coffee is housed inside a vast, hip industrial space on Green Street. The communal tables are perfect for working, reading, or just eavesdropping.
2Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York, New York
Staffed by the coolest volunteer crew you'll ever meet, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe donates 100% of profits to Housing Work, an organization whose mission is to "end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts." In short? The place to begin your bookstore/coffeeshop tour of NYC.
3Crew Collective & Cafe in Montreal, Canada
Is it just me or do high ceilings make everything better? Crew Collective, located in a historic bank, is the perfect place to get a cortado and let your imagination soar.
4The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California
One of the largest independent bookstores in the world, The Last Bookstore is a two-floor, labyrinthine space in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Somewhere on the premises, there's rumored to be a cafe, but half the fun of visiting is getting lost in the stacks (yes, literal stacks--sometimes fashioned into archways). If you can't find the brew, Verve Coffee's just a few blocks down on Spring Street.
5Les Deux Magots in Paris, France
Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Picasso, Breton, Hemingway — can you get more cultural clout? When you're in the City of Lights, come to Les Deux Magots for a cappuccino (or an omelet) and absorb the artistic aura.
6The Den in Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.
Housed inside D.C.'s best independent bookstore, The Den is a great place for a bite when you're browsed out. Check out their cookbook-of-the-month special, where the cafe serves forth a recipe from a notable title. (This month? Cauliflower salad from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem.)
7Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Readers of Jorge Luís Borges and Federico García Lorca visit Cafe Tortoni — open since 1858 — where patrons could once get haircuts while they sipped.