How to Choose a Good Bar for Reading

Sometimes you just want a quiet night to read your book and nurse a beer or a glass of red wine. Some nights you need to vacate the house for a night to let a housemate have the run of the place and other times you are just looking to get out of the house for a while and get a change of scenery. If you're looking for a place to read outside of the house, here is how to choose from the best bars in town for reading.

Lighting levels

Lighting is vital for easy reading. Pools of dim light can be very atmospheric, but don't help too much when trying to read fine print. At the same time overly bright bars tend to have people rapidly moving in and out of the bar ('churning') and don't tend to like readers sitting at a seat and staying put for a while as they read through their books. Look for a bar with low room light and good overhead or table lighting for the sitting areas.


Pick the wrong bar to read your book and you'll find yourself answering questions about that book, the kind of books you enjoy and whether you are single all night long. That's great if you have chosen a book as a conversation starter to meet new people but if you are looking for a quiet night of reading then you want to find a seat that is out of the way. While booths are ideal, in some bars with quiet bars and not overly chatty bartenders, sitting at the end of the bar can also be useful and relatively private.

Noise levels

Loud and noisy bars don't tend to be great as reading venues. Look for some light background music, or a live band that tends towards the folk or lighter music. If there is live music, you can often avoid the noisy area around the stage and find quieter areas towards the back of the bar. Equally, bringing along an portable music player and headphone can help you to set your own music and will definitely send the message that want to be left alone.

Traffic levels

One of the best indications that a bar will let you sit for a while and read is if it's a quieter bar with low traffic. For this reason it's much easier to head out for a night of reading at bar on a quieter night such a Tuesday where the customer throughout is lower.