Kramerbooks: a DC Institution

If there are two things I love, it’s books and food, and at Washington DC’s famous Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, I can have the best of both worlds. When I first visited the store it was a Saturday night. I was walking outside with friends, and the red, neon Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe gleamed overhead. I peered into the glass window, looking at the rows and rows of books with childish excitement. 

“A late night bookstore?” I asked my friend. 

“Better,” he said. “A late night bookstore that sells killer food and drinks.” 

“We have to go in.”

Kramerbooks was founded in DuPont Cirlce in 1976 by three men (Bill Kramer, Henry Posner, and David Tenny) who thought eating and reading should go hand in hand. Since then, the store and cafe have expanded and changed hands. Now Steve Salis owns Kramerbooks, and he is making the two experiences (eating and reading) closer than ever. 

The bookstore’s front door is accessible by Connecticut Avenue and the cafe’s front door is accessible by 19th Street, yet the two stores are interlinked. You can walk in the door of a bookstore and out the door or a cafe and vise versa. This makes it easy to buy a book and devour it right there in the store while you drink a cup of coffee or eat a meal. 

Both the bookstore and the cafe are open from morning to late into the night. One of my favorite things to do is to meet a friend for dinner and literary themed cocktails, but arrive early so I can browse the books from classic to cookbooks to nonfiction. The cafe serves anything from coffee and omelets for breakfast to homemade sodas and salads for lunch to blackened salmon for dinner and Pumpkin Cognac Cheesecake for dessert. Both the bookstore and cafe sides of the store have a sense of personality and thoughtfulness to the experience. 

Kramerbooks also hosts events fairly often, including book readings and sip and paints. You can check out their schedule on their website here. Kramerbooks is only a 10 minute walk from our Washington DC lodging, so make sure to check it out during your next stay with us!

~Innkeeper Natalie 

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