In this week’s edition of “news that should be more exciting than it really is”, last-bookstore-standing Barnes and Noble announced that it will be testing the waters for serving alcohol at four new stores this year.
What we should be saying is, “finally! No longer do I have to wait until my next book club meeting or Gatsby-themed party to go full Owl-Eyed Man. I can get tipsy in a bookstore without having to sneak in a flask and people can just deal with it!”
Before we get too excited over the dream of B&N turning into a literary frat house, let’s keep a few Debbie-downer details in mind. These new ‘concept stores’ aren’t going to be like some Dickensian public house, where roustabouts drunkenly argue over Foucault and scribble down the next great American novel on napkins. Instead, it will feel more like a sophisticated bistro, with a full wait staff serving food all day, and wine and beer to pair in the evenings.
This is a development that we give our full support – it might get the Amazon-only crowd back in stores, plus who needs to be blitzed while reading? – but is it really news? Starbucks has been tinkering with adding a little sumthin-sumthin extra to their coffee for ages (and in case you were wondering how that’s going, the result is still far from common after more than five years of experimenting).
Even though this pump-fake announcement leaves us a little deflated, we can’t say we won’t see for ourselves what it’ll be like (and how much we can get away with drinking there). The limited roll-out begins this August, starting with the metro area outside of New York and moving on to Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.
Featured image courtesy of the Everett Collection.