Coffee & Books


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "New Warsaw Express"

When I want a cup of coffee, I think latte. When I want something to go with it, I think about a good book. Friends can also be nice, but those I prefer to have around a dinner table or in a dark, smoky bar.
I'm a reading freak. I used to read everywhere and in every possible situation. I even managed to go through all of War and Peace during math classes in high school. I'm also a coffee addict. Since I became a full-time mom, I started celebrating those rare moments of quiet with my favourite hot beverage and a book.
Until last week, my favourite place for a coffee-and-book session was Antykwariat on Zurawia 45. It's been around for some time and, as the name suggests, it's located in an old bookstore. It has a magic atmosphere shelves full of books, old furniture and dim lighting. There's decent coffee and a large selection of teas, but it's the homemade szarlotka and fruit tarts that really do it for me. Here you can spend endless hours reading or going through their books.
They even have some in English, German and French in the back room. A Mexican friend of mine described Antykwariat as the warmest place in Warsaw (it was February when I first took her there). I couldn't have put it better myself.
Now its owners have opened a new place - Antrakt on pl. Pilsudskiego 9, in the back of the National Opera building. It has the same inviting atmosphere but much more space and natural lighting. Here you can have coffee and tea, but also appetisers and lunch dishes. And of course there are bookshelves full of art albums and poetry. It gets an eight on my ten-point coffee-and-book scale.
My new big love is Czuly Barbarzynca on Dobra 31 (corner of Zajecza). Named after a book by the famous Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, the "Tender Barbarian" is a revelation. This bookstore-and-cafe is set in an old brick building on the riverside, near the Warsaw University Library. "Czuly", as the regulars call it, sells new books, great latte-macchiato, espresso, tea and several kinds of pastries to go with them. The interior is very welcoming - big windows, purple-painted walls and cosy sofas. The staff is friendly and relaxed. You can take any book you like and flip through it while sipping your coffee. The publications are mostly in Polish, but those who missed out on their English classics will find the Penguin paperback collection there. This place is perfect for getting down to a caffeine-laced reading session. I'm planning on becoming a regular, and I heartily recommend it to you also.

MARGO CYGIELSKA

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