There’s no greater indulgence in life than an hour or two of solace with one of your favourite books while sipping on a steaming mug of chai. It’s a chance to escape the hustle and bustle, take time for yourself, and let the rest of the world melt away. We love the company of a good book so much that we’re forever swotting up on a plethora of titles to read next.
Between the cramped streets and hectic roads in Guwahati, it can feel impossible to get a moments peace. However, we’re willing to let you into a little secret. If you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find the city is dotted with quiet corners of paradise, packed with plenty of reading material and offering mouth-watering gastronomic delights. These havens are your passport away from the maddening crowds. So, here’re our top 5 picks – book cafés in Guwahati offering visitors pleasurable, relaxed and bespoke browsing experiences.
The Bibliophilia Cafe (TBC), Pan Bazaar
Booklovers brimmed with joy when this popular bookstore re-opened in January 2019. TBC started as a social initiative to get more people into the habit of reading. Framed pictures of famous authors and eminent people along with posters and covers of books adorn the walls here. The tall racks filled with books add an old-world charm. It also offers free Wi-Fi for access to several e-books, journals and online libraries from around the world. The menu features coffee, as well as a selection of loose-leaf tea served hot in cute mugs, and then there’re warm cakes, burgers, sandwiches and more, balancing delicate combinations of flavours.
The Zouq, Beltola
Popular with the local crowd, The Zouq – Resto-Café is a cosy library-cum-cafe where you can read to your heart’s content. Creating a serene environment with soothing color schemes, the ambience gives a homely feeling. Grab a cup of Black Coffee or Jasmine Tea, and order in the best-sellers. Some of the must-try include Herb Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Fish and Chips Loaded Biryani, Roast Chicken Platter. The books on rent at the cafe tend to have less of a classic bend and will appeal to readers who prefer newer, more popular releases.
NEthing is Guwahati’s first multilingual bookstore, tea-shop and event space. It is the go-to place for book lovers who want to scan through a massive assortment of books while indulging in a variety of teas and grubs such as Veg Maggie, Creamy Pasta, Spicy Noodles and more. With author talks, poetry readings, book releases, writing and art workshops, and signing events a norm in here, there’s plenty to look forward to. It is also an ideal place to visit if you have children, as they have a wide variety of children’s books and comfy chairs. Other than that, it hosts lifestyle products including household items, food products, jewellery, clothes and accessories made by independent designers and groups of women, farmers and producers in the North East.
With a dreamy and chic ambience, Verandah is amongst the cutest cafes in the city that puts out delicious plates of food and wonderful reads. From Sidney Sheldon, J.K Rowling, Jeffrey Archer, Charles Dickens to Ruskin Bond, R,K Narayan, Amitabh Ghosh and more, you will be spoilt for choice. Tea lovers might want to try out their Kashmiri Kahwa or Oolong. To go with your beverage, opt for Cheesy Fries, Hummus and Egg Sandwich, and Black Bean Burger. They also have a lovely selection of Pancakes, Waffles, and Sundaes.
The Steaming Mug, Uzan Bazaar
A lovely cafe with a homely vibe, The Steaming Mug is the go-to place for the youth. They have two seating options- a regular one and a lower seating. The menu consists of café bites such as Chicken Pops, Masala Pita Pocket, Dawat-E-Bao, and served by friendly staff. You can easily spend hours reading a book from their little library, stacked with English classics and new releases by young authors while enjoying your hot cuppa of Coco Creamy Coffee or Ginger Tea.