Top Spots To Read Your Book With Coffee In Connecticut

September 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Many bookstores have coffee shops or even full cafes inside or attached; this is partly for the benefit of customers, but mostly because it is a good business model. Just as movie theaters make more money from the popcorn, soda and candy than the films they show, so can bookstores make a higher profit margin from coffee and cakes than from many of the books they sell – especially those they have discounted to compete with the online or big chain stores. Many Connecticut brick-and-mortar bookstores have extremely comfortable coffee/café corners. Here are five of the best.

Atticus Bookstore/Cafe
1082 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 776-4040

A dollar for a cup of coffee buys a reader a seat in the café at Atticus, a bookstore/café that also serves up great soups, sandwiches and salads – and caters to both vegetarians and “omnivores” as its website humorously notes. Lunching or snacking at Atticus is a delight in itself, but one made even more delightful because the café is inside one of Connecticut’s premiere independent bookstores. The selection on the shelves is huge and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and there are always special sales, promotions and events going on (as noted on its blog).

The store also features local artists (and not just the writing kind). Atticus is unique among bookstores in that its café has grown so popular that it not only has a takeout menu, but also a catering division. But while many might come for the food, most patrons stay because of the books.

Book Trader Café
1140 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 787-6147

Problems with its old provider have reduced New Haven’s Book Trader Café’s web print to a Facebook page, but the iced cappuccino is as cold and as refreshing as ever, and the vegan-friendly menu (as well as its silly signature “Tropical Ham Melt” with ham, pineapple and brie) continues to attract steady traffic from near Yale and the surrounding businesses. Sitting on the patio or sun room makes for a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city and the campus, as it provides a private place of reflection, a little getaway corner in the heart of New Haven.

As a used bookstore, the Book Trader is a necessary and welcome bargain for many students as well as readers who often balk at the price of print these days. The store has both trash and treasures (books cheap and dear) among its well-stocked shelves, and the food is superb, filling and affordable – much like the books themselves.

Related: Top Book Clubs In Connecticut

R.J. Julia Independent Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
(203) 245-3959

Beaches and books were made for each other, and R.J. Julia Independent Booksellers in the Connecticut shore town of Madison knows that – and has sweetened that mix by putting a café in its store. The R.J. Café and Bistro has Two Cousins Biscotti, Zen Coffee, Foxxon Park Soda and other delights from local vendors, as well as soups, sandwiches and other delights – along with live music on Friday nights.

During the day (or any other night except Friday), R.J. Julia is a quiet haven to sip coffee and thumb through a magazine, or a place to dig into a more formidable meal and an equally meaty tome. The staff knows its books, and the store features readings, appearances and book signings by local and regional authors of note several times a week (for a schedule of upcoming events and appearances, see the website).

ChristChurch Bookstore
254 E. Putnam Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06830
(203) 869-6600

“Nourishment for the journey” is the motto of the ChristChurch religious bookstore in Greenwich. While obviously this alludes to the spiritual sustenance found in its books, there is also a small café and a patio (in nice weather) to enjoy a coffee and snack while perusing one of the thousands of titles. Customers who time their visits right might even find a member of the clergy at a nearby table who is open to discussing the books or matters of faith over a cup of coffee.

This “Religious Bookstore …with a twist!” as its website quips, does not cater simply to a Christian audience, let alone parishioners of this Episcopal house of worship, founded back in 1749. The church, community and bookstore all take pride in welcoming people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs (there is even a “Shalom Center”), and the bookshelves reflect this broad and open-minded approach. The coffee isn’t bad either.

Cup of Praise
551 Wolcott St.
Waterbury, CT 06705
(475) 235-2457

Cup of Praise is a mostly religious bookstore, coffee shop and meeting place in Waterbury, and one that works diligently to live up to its motto of “Building relationships one cup at a time.” A community gathering place that has live music Friday and Saturday evenings, kid movie matinees on Saturdays, Sunday worship services, Wednesday night Bible study classes, board game nights and standing chess game tables,  Cup of Praise is above all, built upon a bookstore – and one with a good selection of music as well as books. The café offers assorted hot and cold beverages, pastries and desserts, and a “comfortable and relaxing atmosphere” to sit with a book, or THE book (the one which starts with a capital “B”).

Related: Top Coffee Shops That Go Beyond Coffee In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

Listen Live