Everyone is talking about the drinks but the food is really good. Â I had the gnocchi and my wife had the bourbon chicken. Â The gnocchi were so tender and the sauce they were in was light and went well with them. Â The bourbon chicken was nicely done and full of flavor. Â Also had apps of pickles and the eggs and each was very good. Â We were stuffed so we didn't have the chance to try any of the desserts. Â We dropped in on a whim and so we were too early for the sing-a-longs. Â Someone was showing up and looked like they would be playing the piano.
The sound level was nice. Â You could have a conversation and be quiet -- very romantic..... Â The waitress was very good at describing everything and overall the service was excellent.. Â She didn't come over unless she saw a plate or glass empty.
This is probably the coolest atmosphere of any restaurant I've ever visited. Â As the name suggests, the decor mimics a speakeasy. Â There's no knob or hardware on the door, you just push it open. Â Then there's a black curtain you pull to the side and step into the restaurant which is like a step back in time to the 20s during prohibition. Â There are candles everywhere, in fact it's quite dark. Â An old player piano is in the corner, your menu arrives between the covers of an old book - no detail is overlooked. Â Everything was so fabulous that I don't know where to start. Â I began with a cocktail - burlesque berry - which was delicious! Â The drinks are pricey, but they are made with all fresh squeezed juices and purees. Â App was chickpea popcorn with herb salt which was outstanding! Â My entree was citrus and herb encrusted mahi mahi - a very large portion with fingerling potatoes and matchstick veggies. Â It was perfection. Â I did not have room for dessert but the server suggested Terrence, the bartender, could make me an after dinner drink that i would enjoy - that he did! Â He made a wonderful brandy alexander-ish drink which when I sipped it reminded me of sitting in a ski lodge in front of a warm fire. Â It was really wonderful - again pricey, but you know what, it was worth it! Â This is not just a restaurant, it's an experience! Â Extremely romantic, which was too bad for me as I was with a friend instead of a handsome man. Â Otherwise, nothing could have made this experience better!!Review Source:
Best bar I've ever been to.
Live music, authentic speakeasy feel. I'm not much of a drinker, but I do appreciate anything that can bring me to the 20's and 30's. This place is phenomenal. I didn't have a drink, but my boyfriend did and he said it was the best he ever had. I did have a dessert there though - a chocolate torte that was out of this world. The bartenders are friendly, knowledgable, and are aware of how awesome their job is. THEY CRACK THE ICE IN THE PALM OF THEIR HAND. I've never seen someone do this, I just thought it was the coolest. Im getting excited just thinking about this place & I was there almost 2 months ago!
This was our first visit that involved food. Most of the food was really good. HOWEVER, Do not order the "Crabcakes Fancy", unless you're NOT looking for ANY crab meat. this was 90% breading/stuffing and kind of weird tasting, it came with two and I barely ate the first one, the shrimp and scallops were done nicely, however no real seasoning on them. Apps were delicious as were the drinks. We also had gift certificates, yet they somehow managed to charge my card for the entire amount, then again for the true balance. Perhaps if it were a bit lighter in there, the waitress would not have missed them! I mean the gift certs were pretty big, much large than my credit card. :(Review Source:
The drink menu is amazing. Â The decor and music is wonderful. Â I've tired maybe 20% of the food menu and have loved everything I've had so far.
Things you should know, it is a very dark restaurant with some stairs to get in and a lot of nooks, so if you're not up for navigating tight spaces, it's probably not the right place for you to visit. Â Also they charge if a band is playing, but I disagree with other reviewers, there are signs posted everywhere and it is mentioned in the menu, so they don't sneak it up on you.
Very Disappointing! I had heard about this place for a while, so I had been wanting to go. Â After we sat down, we weren't able to order anything for about 45 minutes. Â Wiling to let that go, we ordered a few cocktails (which weren't bad), and some food. Most of the food was in the $19-20, which I thought was reasonable. I ordered a shrimp ravioli off the special menu. Decent taste, but not much in the way of quantity. Â After listening to the band (not all that great) play for a bit, we got up to leave. Â The bill came back mostly reasonable, except for the $37 plate of shrimp that I had ordered. Nothing on the menu was close to that expensive. I could have had a steak for less! Btw, another hidden cost is that they will sneak the charge for listening to the band on the bill. Will not be returning.Review Source:
stumbled upon this place on random Saturday night.... and being from out of town... we had no reservation... proceeded to put our name on the list and received a call back in less than our 1 hour quoted wait time....
.... and let me start by saying it was worth every minute of the wait!
this place is perfect from beginning to end....
filled with old books and dimly lit by only candle light.... makes the ambiance and atmosphere extremely intimate.. classy and romantic....
there's not a bad seat in the house.... small tables perfect for dates or large settings for a group of friends....
an extremely extensive and pricey list of cocktails... that were handcrafted and delicious...
live classic jazz was softly playing... not overpowering by any means... I was still able to hear the waitress... and my date.. (lucky him!... lol)
unfortunately I cannot leave any remarks on the food.... as I didn't try anything....
our total Â of 4 cocktails came to $50.. give or take...
like I said previously.. worth every minute and every penny....
We went Â there on Valentine's Day and from the mystery of trying to find them on the side street to the magic of the decor, we'd highly recommend Bookstore Speakeasy. Espesh if you want cozy and candlelit ambience with intimate tables, amazing mixed drinks (definitely mixologists galore!), attentive service and yummy food cooked to perfection. That's how it was on Valentine's Day. A set menu with substantial portions. The Lobster bisque for instance had chunks of lobster in it that was a meal itself. And the Absyinthe Lavender Mixed Cocktail was shaken and mixed to new heights! Give it try and let the magic begin.Review Source:
This place is great! Â I have been going there for years now. Â It has changed a lot over the years, but it is still great. Â I do wish they would return to their roots a bit, but I still go whenever I get a chance. Â I cannot say how great it is to hear live jazz from local music. Â The drinks are always excellent.Review Source:
This place is as good as it gets. From the atmosphere, to the decor, to the savory food... you will enjoy everything about your experience here! The live jazz band (Ben Mauger's Vintage Jazz band) was also such a fantastic & authentic touch.
Our waitress took a very long time to come back to us & bring us our drinks, but we had such a great time soaking everything in that that didn't seem to matter.
We had a cheese & meat plate (the cheddar was phenomenal). The mussels, my boyfriend said, are the best mussels he's ever had. I had the burgundy chicken which was seasoned to perfection, however a sharper knife would have been nice.
We also enjoyed some applepie moonshine & armageddon!
Despite the number of changes the Bookstore has gone through over the past 2 years, this is one of my preferred bars in Bethlehem. Â The swank, softly lit interior is sensually sleek and so very conducive to several libations. Â The vibe is good here, real good.
Drinks are thoughtfully put together, pricey, and most importantly, delicious. Â If liquor isn't your fancy (and I wouldn't understand why not), the more than adequate beer selection should satisfy your brew craving. Â Plus the happy hour is great - $2.00 off everything on the menu.
The food offering has evolved quite a bit since their early days and that's a good thing. Â There are better, tastier choices and bigger portions. Â The burger is especially tasty as are the very addicting chickpea popcorn and the scrumptious grilled cheese sliders. Â There's a solid meat and cheese selection as well and it's served quite generously. Â On my last visit, I ordered the truffle chicken pate and I kid you not, it was the size of a baseball. Â That's a lot of pate for one person (not that I'm complaining!).
Service can be terribly slow and somewhat inefficient at times. Â I understand the concept of speakeasies and the pacing of drinks but even water glasses should be kept filled at all times (a personal pet peeve). Â
Overall, this is a fantastic addition to Bethlehem and indubitably warrants repeat visits.
Great idea. Â Awesome 1920s atmosphere and decor. Love the entry way. Great live jazz bands. Â
Service is meh. Â Took a while to get a drink, which are a little $$$, and when she brought it wasn't made how I ordered it but whatev!
One little detail I noticed that I chuckled at.... the menus are pasted in books/encyclopedias. Â I had an encyclopedia from 1975 at my table. Â Books from the future?!?!
Other than those things -- definitely a cool place to check out!
I went here last weekend with some friends of mine. Â We ordered drinks, and waited a long time before anyone asked us what entrees we'd like to order. Â We were going to take initiative ourselves, but thought perhaps they were very busy. Â When our waiter finally came back, he didn't ask us for our entrees but rather, "Would you like anything else?" Â I'm not sure why there was any confusion, but it just seemed ridiculous to order our meal ONE HOUR later.
The food was disappointing. Â My friend's gnocchi fell apart, as though there wasn't enough flour. The sauce was bland. Â My mussel dish was so salty, it was like I was eating them out of warm ocean water. My other two friends ordered a pork dish. Â They're only complaint was that the meat didn't rest long enough.
It's a shame because the atmosphere here is neat, but I certainly did not have the great experience others had.
Knocking these guys down a star as they continue to increase their price while at the same time lowering their service. Â It's still an interesting place, but $12 for one drink is over the rationale line for Lehigh Valley. Â They do have good music, good drink selection and decent beer selection but the prices are just too high for the average service you get. Â No one there knows anything about the beer they serve for $9 a glass! (not a pint). Â They need to lower prices and bring in more experienced beer personnel.Review Source:
A great place to just chill at. I like the way it feels when you are in there. Tries to set an atmosphere of decades gone by. Very friendly staff along with great service. Only had appetizers but they were very good. Good beer selection and extensive drink list. The drinks were excellent. Th only downfall with the drinks is that they are very small and pricey. ($12 for a very small drink). If they dropped it to $10/drink it would be more palatable. The live entertainment was great was well. definitely a place to to check out.Review Source:
I tried this place last night for dinner with my husband and loved it! Ambiance is intimate and candlelit, music is great, drinks are perfect, and food was fabulous. For dinner, we had the duck pirogis, chick pea popcorn, and tried a few cold meats: smoked trout and the pate. My son had the house club sandwich with homemade chips (he's 10 and loved it). Â All were creative and wonderful. The only problem was that I wanted about 12 more pirogi!
On the cocktail side, I highly recommend the Fizzy Lizzy. They use real egg white for the foam on top and it makes it creamy and wonderful. My husband had a dirty martini with olives and was happy with his choice as well.
Also, Â I think I should address the matter of price -- my husband and I ordered one cocktail a piece, had three small plates (lots of food on those plates), two deserts and a meal for my son, and the grand total was just above $80. Really not bad for the quality. I think we would have paid way more for a comparable experience in Philly or NYC.
We will definitly hit this place again. Set to be a hometown favorite for us.
My sister had raved about the cocktails at Speakeasy, so when we got a chance to visit her I requested this place for dinner.
With reservations secured for 4, we arrived promptly at 7:30 and were seated immediately. Â You enter an unobtrusive doorway marked "Bookstore", very cool and in keeping with the speakeasy theme. Â If you are in a small group and just want drinks you can take your chances at the bar, but otherwise skip the uncertainty and make yourself a reservation, you won 't regret it.
The menus are presented inside encyclopedias, again totally in keeping with the theme. Â Take your time and peruse the old school cocktail list, 20+ choices or they will concoct anything to your specifications. Â Our group sampled the Sazerac, the Sidecar, Old Fashioneds, Aviators and Martinis. Â Yeah, they were all incredible. Â I don't think you can go wrong.
Some recent reviews had slammed the food here so we were a bit nervous. Â We think those people must have eaten somewhere else because from menu description to presentation to the last finger-lickin' bite we truly LOVED everything we sampled.
The chickpea popcorn...I woke up thinking about it this morning. Â Crispy, salty, just awesome. Â You could just eat several orders of this with some amazing cocktails and be totally happy. Â We then did the meat and cheese plate, you get to choose your varieties and quantities. Â Chicken liver pate is excellent, smooth and rich. Â We also had raclette, cheddar, salami and cappacola, all good. Â Beautifully presented on a piece of slate and served with housemade stoneground mustard and maraschino cherries marinated in brandy...yeah!!!
Our group opted for more small plates but the entrees sounded great too, they had everything from burgers to osso bucco. Â We sampled duck stuffed pierogies, stuffed mushrooms, and PEI mussels that were on special. Â Everything surpassed expectations (esp the mussels, portion was huge).
Honestly, we are some pretty foodie type people and serious eaters to boot and we were delighted with everything we ate. Â Just not sure what others were not liking. Â Esp for this area, it was satisfying and we felt very reasonably priced.
Live 20's style jazz band were excellent, and not so loud you couldn't talk. Â Along with the decor this really made you feel like you'd stepped back in time. Â A wonderful night out on the town that I hope we get to repeat soon.
Fun, fancy, quite large 'speakeasy' in the heart of Bethlehem. The first time I went we had reservations so... it worked out OK. (Still had to wait to be seated with our party, apparently you can't just walk in- and the wait was like 20 minutes, so that was a little awkward.) Â Drinks were tasty!! Â The band was FANTASTIC! Â
Second time we tried to go there was a 45-60 minute wait. Â What do they think this is ? A real speakeasy in 1930's NYC.... we declined their offer to wait by the door. Â (Yes, my NYC snobbery has made a rule that I do not wait more than 10 minutes to be seated at a bar.... oh wells.) Â
The bathroom was neat--- you should check them out. I like the details! Â
Fun concept indeed. But a speakeasy is supposed to be small and you're supposed to be quiet. Â This place was pretty big.... and it was loud.
A must try for anyone in the area!
The theme, decor, music and drinks are all on point with what you would find in an actual Speakeasy. You even order from a menu hidden in a book. I love it!
Drinks are pricey but stiff. You won't find any "rail" booze here. Nothing but top shelf liquor in their hand crafted custom drinks. Every one I tried was absolutely amazing. A great rare beer selection too!
Let's talk food. Where do I start. Probably some of the best food I've eaten. We started with the chick pea popcorn. Salty, crunchy and delicious. Yum!!
For the main course I had the bookstore burger. I'm not much of a meat eater but was convinced to try this based on others raving reviews. Let me sum it up...if I was on death row this would be my last dinner request. The burger melts in your mouth. It's covered in this amazing bacon gelato that left me begging for more. This is a must try for everyone.
I will agree with most that the prices are high, but in my eyes you get what you pay for...a stiff crafted drink and a very satisfying meal.
The first thing I thought when I walked in the door was "Wow... they are trying WAY too hard". The speakeasy thing hit its peak years ago, so since Bethlehem is late to the party on this one, I was surprised that they had gone all out. But they did.
However, once I sat down and ordered my first cocktail, I was converted. The drinks really are spectacular. Pricey? Yes, especially for Bethlehem. However, I'm willing to pay more for a cocktail when the bartender has skills that go beyond a simple liquor + mixer formula, and these cocktails really were great.
The food was also good. It has a very limited menu (as of my visit in September), but I don't mind that, as long as what you do make, you make well. My fiance and I split a cheese & meat plate, which was delicious, and just the right amount of food for a light dinner & cocktails kind of night.
So, I would recommend you check it out, for the cocktails alone. The bartenders are skilled & friendly. Once the music gets cranking, though, the place fills up, so get there early if you just want to enjoy a few cocktails before being swarmed by the college kids.
I was so disappointed with this place when I went. Â First off- the person in the front was so snobby and pretentious I felt like I was back in NYC at a door I didn't know. Â The decor is great, the owners definitely did a great job of turning the space into a retro feel, but it is a little stuffy and when I went the place was packed and very hard to move around. Â We also ordered one of the punch bowls, as everything on that menu is much more sophisticated (and expensive) than the usual Bethlehem bar scene... expect whiskey drinks and hard to make cocktails. Â The punch bowl was huge and we couldn't finish it, plus was really strong- can't complain about that though.
Just not my kind of place when I'm out in the lehigh region, very different from the other local places.
Well Kats and Kittens, this is the spot for me! Its wicked inside. My retro look, I slipped right into the decor! The jazz music that follows just brings my feet a tappin.
The drinks are the main thing here how ever, a dazzling assortment of the old time 40-50 classics and a few that made its way to the hit list of the 30's during prohibition.
If you are looking for some dinning - weellllll - maybe not so much. The food was good but just not enough for my big fella how had the honors of taking me to this place. So I recommend this as a drinking and snack kinda place. The food was top notch, and superb.
See you there kats
Quite a surprise for Bethlehem! Very nice cocktail bar with good food and live jazz music. Atmosphere-wise: some kind of basement, fairly dark room lightened mostly with candles and filled with books. (No need to worry about forgetting where you are, though: People's casual clothing will remind you that you are in Lehigh Valley, not in NYC.)
We had a platter of cheeses and cold cuts and some sweet breads, which turn out to be reasonably good (not to die for, of course). Food prices are reasonable (~16 for an entry).
But you should go for the music and the cocktails. Cocktails are pricey for Lehigh valley (12), but the list is extensive (from the sour types to the more fizzy ones) and those I tried were very good. I liked the green lady (very grassy). Â
The jazz was not adventurous (no free jazz there, it seems - perhaps for the best: hoes does free jazz fit with a cheese platter?), but well done very enjoyable (not some kind of horrible jazz for supermarkets and elevators; I would have run away).
Only issue: there is apparently only one AC there, and with yesterday's incredible heat it was not enough to cool the room.
Update 09 26: I knocked down one star. I was there recently, and while the place is still very nice, I do find the price of the cocktails a bit too salty for the lehigh valley.
Now open on Tuesdays!! Tuesday night is Industry Night so all industry members get special deals.
Under new management, the Bookstore has revamped the drink menu and is again offering dinner service! Real, actual meal-sized plates with more to be added soon. Nate is back is head chef and is still whipping up foods to dream about. On my last outing at the Bookstore, I had the Duck Confit flatbread which in addition to the duck features a plum BBQ sauce, roasted corn and gorgonzola. YUM!
The new cocktail menu has some fun, adventurous cocktails as you'd expect. There are a couple variations on the favorite Sazerac along with some new favorites of mine including the Golden Girl and the Havana.
I really want to Love The Bookstore - like, capital L love. Unfortunately, I only capital L Like it.
On one hand, it's completely refreshing to have a semi-trendy, upscale bar in Bethlehem. As a recent transplant from a *painfully* cool city I go here to feel a bit at home. The food is good, the drinks are tasty, the music is even better.
I feel like their drinks are a little overpriced/overhyped, but I still end up enjoying myself each time I've gone. Â
The service here also leaves something to be desired. I'd describe the waitstaff as anywhere between "frantic" and "aloof." They overbook themselves consistently and kind of treat the seatings like some sort of bizarre cattle call. I was once there with three other people, eating a bunch, drinking a bunch and our already crappy waiter told us that we'd need to leave so that someone else could have our table. We would have been happy to keep eating and keep drinking until closing time, but I guess that our money stopped being good after a certain point? It was rude and really off-putting.
I highly suggest just taking your chances on a bar seat. There you have the bartender who has been absolutely flawless each time I've been so lucky to sit there. There's the same menu, the same tiny, tasty drinks and less of the hassle.
Very impressed! I live in San Francisco and wish we had the Bookstore here!
We called around 9pm and they were full but they called us back around 12am and we were sat right away - so nice not having to wait around!
They had a nice three-piece band playing. Fun and jazzy but not too loud.
The staff is wonderful! Super trendy, friendly, helpful and not pretentious!
The five of us ordered different drinks and passed them around to taste - all unique and great!
The kitchen had just closed when we arrived (10 min before their posted 1am closing) so we weren't able to try the food but it looked great!
I'm excited to visit Bethlehem again so I can visit the Bookstore!
Of course this had to spring up AFTER my boyfriend moved away from the Southside. Â It is mere blocks from his former stately mansion residence, and we would have visited often. Â Whyyyyy can't we have something like this in Reading, which had a thriving speakeasy scene long ago? I guess I will have to be the one to open it, and good luck to me on that!
Finally, something nice and dark with atmosphere, and the owners clearly know their vintage drinks, a culture I once dabbled in and read widely about. Â I expected to see one in everyone's hand, but people were mostly drinking beer. Â Check out the menu online ahead of time, because it is seriously dark in there, and you won't be able to easily peruse the interesting menu without a flashlight. Â Or get the flashlight app if you have a smartphone. Â The place seems to be lit only with gas lamps and candles and makes you think about what nighttime living must have been like before wide-scale electricity.
We went on the weekend when there was live 1920s jazz, a real treat, but because of the low ceilings, even music at normal decibels makes it hard to hear your friends. Â There was no cover when we were there, a nice surprise, though they do pass the hat around, so bring a little cash. Â This is the place to wear your cute vintage or mod outfit and bright red lipstick, no hippie stuff! Â The book theme is both kitchy and cool. Â I must tell my librarian friends.
Alas, the house cocktail was too sweet for me. Â I asked the waiter for a recommendation for something less sweet, and the next drink, while creative and good, was... still too sweet for me. Â It will be a martini next time, and I am sure it will be well made. Â I see the point of the sweetness, authentically speaking: cocktails became the rage during Prohibition because a lot of juice and flavorings were needed to cover up the horrible and sometimes deadly quality of unregulated liquor.
I hope you like gin. Â Don't expect to see vodka cocktails here -- that would be incorrect for the 20s, according to the menu, because vodka didn't come into vogue until the 1950s in this country. Â They use Bluecoat gin, from Philly, beautiful and fragrant, as their house pour. Â The glasses seem vintage -- my drinks came in what looks like a small glass dessert cup like your grandmother might have high up in her dining room cabinet.
Wine is not mentioned on the menu, and I called ahead to make sure they even had them, but there is a small thoughtful selection of wines by the glass, mostly French.
We noshed on pickled vegetables, olives, hummus, and a few other snacks. Â There is not a lot for herbivores on the food menu, but do you really go here for the food? Â It's the atmosphere and music all the way. Â
Make a reservation if you are going on the weekend, and don't wait when there is going to be music. Â They open late during the week at 7pm (and swear never to close earlier than 1am, even if it is slow). Â You would never know what it was by just walking by and seeing the black door with "Bookstore" stenciled on it. Â I read (maybe here?) that this space was formerly a family Italian restaurant for many years.
The Bookstore comes to the Lehigh Valley near the end of the vintage cocktail craze, but it is still a lovely, cool, and romantic place to relax that is unlike anything else around for many miles. Â We normally stick with BYOBs unless it is a special occasion, but this was a nice dual birthday splurge -- warning though, the bill ratchets up quickly. Â
Keep rising up, Southside Bethlehem! Â What are you doing that my town can't do?
Was in Bethlehem for the evening and somehow managed to stumble upon this lovely gem of a bar. It is bar far the best bar I have ever been to in the Lehigh Valley. We walked in and we greeted by a gentleman at a desk surrounded by books and curtains. They checked to make sure there was room for us at the bar and led us towards the back.
The dining hall and bar area is very very chique and reminiscent of a lovely 1920's library. We took our seat at the bar admiring the copper topped bar and paroosed through the bar menu located in a book. Their list of craftsmen cocktails was extensive and impressive. I went for the Bookstore Cocktail with an aquavit substitute. This was bar far the most dynamic and thoughtful cocktail I've ever had, my girlfriend had the French 75 which was crafted by the master bartender with love and affection.
We ordered up some chips and guacamole (which i thought was an odd serving for a place like this) the chips were good and the guac fresh, although it lacked any semblance of heat. But that's ok not a lot of people in the northeast likes spicy food so it was ok.
All in all this is a very very nice bar and with the cocktails costing around $10 it's actually a steal for the level of service your getting.
We ate here for the first time with the new menu. I have to say I was a little nervous (I REALLY liked the fixed price "dinner hour" menu) and was worried we'd be disappointed by the new a la carte menu. We weren't let down, although if I have one beef it's that the website menu does NOT match the restaurant menu - is it really that hard to update?
Grilled cheese & Kobe burgers were amazing and honestly not that out of line price-wise at $12 for comparable restaurants. Drinks are super-interesting and hand crafted - but not cheap. New selections were $8 each but are much smaller than your average bar pour so you may find yourself ordering another.... and another. It's not the kind of place you're going to sit and get sloshed cheaply so bear that in mind.
It's still dark in there. We learned to use the flashlight app on the phone to read the menu. Still love it here.
Go here for the drinks. Whoever designed the drinks menu really is a pro. I had a Manhattan, which was the best I've ever had. It's not something I usually drink, but the atmosphere called for one. Loved the hand-carved ice. It didn't melt the way ordinary cubes do; it kept the drink cold without diluting it. Great touch.
I came here with a group of 5 around 10pm Friday night. We were seated at our own table and very well served. We got a round or cocktails and then ordered a punchbowl for another. I tasted a couple of my friends' drinks and they were all excellent. You can't get these drinks anywhere else in the Valley, and probably couldn't make at home either. The waitress forgot to tell us that we ordered the punchbowl too close to last call, and then proceeded to comp us a bowl made for someone else who changed their minds.
The jazz was impressively good too. The speakeasy theme was just a little silly with the racks of books in the entryway, and a girl dressed like a librarian. But the decor inside was great. It was rather dark, a place you could hide in and not be bothered. The furniture was old, but comfortable. It's got an almost cozy feel to it.
Can't wait to try the food next time I'm back in town.
I love this place. i can't say i know everything about restaurants but i think i know enough to say that this place is great. i have been 4 times and it keeps getting better. Â they are always looking for ways to improve everything and make things better than they were the last time i was there. Â the first time that I visited was 2 months after the opening...the last time last night on my wife and I's wedding anniversary #5...thanks. Â It was the perfect environment for us to have some good quality time and get away for a little while. Â the unique environment makes you feel like you are on a vacation far away ...far from normal and familiar. Â i like that. Â the food is great. Â the apps...great. Â the drinks....best i have ever had! Â i like the Manhattans the best at this point...but is the only drink i have a had so far. Â
Â so what are you waiting for? go already!
I went there 7/2/10 with a few other friends, was the first time in Bethlehem for my and was told that this was a cool little lounge. Well, I was sorely disappointed, tired concept and horrible customer service, and too top if all off the drinks are crap. Wow they have hand carved ice, big deal.
I'm from Philly where there are a number of great bars and restaurants and most pride themselves on great service, atmosphere and most of all food and drinks. This place fell short on everything.
To sum it up don't go there with a group 'cause you may inconvenience the servers. Secondly, Â god forbid you had a couple friends show up later, then the severs whine about their numbers, in front of your table. Lastly, the manager talks down to you like you don't know what your talking about, there is never an apology or asks how can we make things right. Just bad all around.
Thank god Prohibition came to an end and there are real lounges to go to.
A friend of mine really raved about this place to me, so I found myself trekking out to the middle of nowhere to go to a bar. Â I admit my bias, I hate leaving Philly, so this place had an uphill battle to get into my good graces. Â What kind of cool bar can there really be an hour drive from the nearest regional rail line, anyway? Â What's nearby, some kind of pricey party school? Â Cows?
When we arrived, I was actually impressed. Â I love the entrance, through a fake "bookstore". Â Kitschy, but it worked in context. Â In the dining room, 97% of the lighting is from candles and kerosene lamps. Â It really makes you realize how bright electric bulbs are, especially in the bathroom, which was a dark color and lit by a few candles, one of which was out. Â But if you think of it as "mood lighting" instead of "dim" it becomes fun, and finding the toilet paper becomes an adventure.
My friend and I had a cheese plate. Â Some of the cheeses fit our tastes, some did not, but they were all flavorful and pungent, and quality cheeses. Â The cocktails we had were very yummy, I had a last word (which I now have everywhere, you know, to compare) and really enjoyed it, plus a few other gin-based drinks, one of which had basil. Â This seems to be a new trend in drinks, but I like it. Â
All in all, the atmosphere was fun and the drinks were good. Â I don't know that I'll be making the long trip out there time and time again, but I'm glad I left Philly for it, just this once.
So the whole speakeasy thing has finally made its way to the Lehigh Valley, a few years after it made a splash in NYC.
These sorts of places are pretty gimmicky, so it really needs to really excel in the food and service departments, which this place does not.
First of all, the draft beers were served in what I am pretty sure were 12 ounce containers, which was not noted on the beer list. One of them was not a high alcohol brew so it should not have been a 12 ounce pour (and the high alcohol brew should have been advertised as being a 12 ounce pour). All of the draft beers were $1-$2 too pricey for what they were (and I am comparing the prices to crazy high NYC beer prices).
The food was decent, but was too expensive and problematic. The kobe beef burger was good, but wasn't cooked properly (rare instead of the medium well I ordered). The foie gras sandwich was insanely small. Having ordered foie gras at many different restaurants before, I expected it to be really small, but this was crazy small. Plus it was a bit too rubbery.
The service was good, the exception being that after being open for 15 minutes their was no one at the front desk to let us in the "secret" entrance.
I wish I could give it more stars, but beyond the speakeasy gimmicks (menus hidden in books, "secret" entrance in fake bookstore, etc.) the food and beer don't really make it all that special.
Here we go with another one of my dipshit stories. I grew up in the 1970s & 1980s eating at this address, every week, with my family, at a wonderful down-n-dirty red-sauce Italian restaurant called The Grotto. Â
So when I parted the black drapes of The Bookstore, my jaw hit the floor. Gone was the jumbo screen TV, replaced by a player piano. No dingey wall murals of Venice, no Lehigh wrestling banners. It's beautiful and lamplit and instantly relaxing, yet energizing.
If you wanted to carry on an affair, you certainly could get away with it here. Not that I'm looking to do that.
The cocktails and service and food were delicious. The drinks cost more than normal but you're paying for something that is perfectly mixed and might include housemade ingredients. The food is reasonably priced. Â Live jazz musicians add to the ambience.
Note to other former Grotto patrons: the rest rooms are the same, but the graffitti is gone. No longer does it say "Annette Loves Jeff" all over the ladies' room but it's still tight quarters. Â :)
And, if you have issues with low vision, this isn't the place for you. Even I had a hard time reading the menu (that's why it's 4 instead of 5 stars.)
The bookstore/speakeasy is a good "gimmick" executed flawlessly. Check out the prix fixe weeknight dinner specials. Don't be a drunk douchebag, keep it classy here. It's for grown-ups.
Wonderful gem tucked away in the SouthSide of Bethlehem.
This cocktail oasis truly understands how a speakeasy style bar is meant to be. While some have complained of rude staff or lack of tolerance for childish behavior, try to remember their goal. Keeping the charasmatic standards of old fashioned bars that understood the art of tending bar. Aiming at excellence from drinks to food, down to perfecting the dim decor. Music faintly plays subltly in the background with the familiar scratchy phonographic sound of that era.
The mature crowd tries familiar cocktails along with the wonderful signature drinks. The beer list, draught and bottle are unbeatable no matter where you go, bar none. The informed staff can help you select a beer to your liking based off a few questions. Not sure? Just ask for a taste of a few of the draughts to get a better idea of what is up your alley!
Gentlemen, leave the Converse and destressed jeans at home. Wear your favorite suit and sit at the bar and enjoy a world class beer.
Ladies...classy and chic will be perfect. Don't pass on the house martini.
So I'd heard a little bit of word-of-mouth in the past few days and I needed to check this out. Let me say for starters that I'm into the early 20th century. I study Modernist lit & enjoy a lot of its trappings, which is very important at a place like this. So just keep in mind that I'm a little predisposed to all of this stuff.
The Bookstore is a bar masquerading as--yup--a bookstore. The small room you enter off the street is well-lit, crammed with books and completely dull. What awaits behind two black velvet curtains is beautiful. This place is fantastically low-key: very dark, blackout curtains over all the windows, little gas lamps on the tables. There's occasionally live music and it fits the theme, too: old-timey jazz standards sung (the night I was there) through a Â megaphone (not the electric kind) and played nicely. The place is completely gorgeous, don't forget to check out the copper bar.
Down to the drinks (and a bit of food). The Bookstore's biggest downfall is that it's kinda pricey. For 2 people--4 (great) drinks, one appetizer and tip--it came in just over 50 bucks. Â This might not be an every night kind of place, but the quality is great. This isn't the sort of place where you can get a Bud Light, or where you order a Gin & Tonic and they pull out the Banker's (barf) unless you tell them not to. They make real hig-quality cocktails and stock awesome beer. The beer list tends a little too heavy toward the Belgians for my taste but that's what's hot right now so I can't blame them. Some of the drink specialties (their signature cocktails) are a little too sweet, but definitely not by the standards of the chocolate-cosmo-apple-daqri-tini crowd. None of that here.
I did have a little bit of food: a plate of tater tots. Seriously. Served with an aioli and a zingy little sauce i forget the name of. These were no frozen grocery store tots. They were pretty great, i gotta say.
Finally, the staff was kind & the service was quick. Our waiter was playful and helpful with suggesting drinks & pointing out some of the high points the bar offers. They also dress real snappy, too. Don't worry, you don't have to, but you'll fit in okay if you do.
This place is a great fit for me at least. I can't wait to go back, once my wallet recovers (or maybe i'll just skip groceries...who needs 'em?).