Located at the foot of the Grove Arcade downtown, you’ll enter the Book Exchange to find a cozy bar and lounge, serving coffee beverages, 80 different kinds of wine, and locally sourced nibbles. As they say on their website: “Our store offers you the marriage of two of earth’s finest pleasures, books and wine, side by side.” Servers will deliver the wine right to your side as you delve into one of the store’s 60,000+ new and vintage books, with topics ranging from southern history to art and architecture. When hunger strikes, you can order a cheese tray, a dessert by French Broad Chocolates, or one of the house specials, a locally sourced Sunburst Farms trout dip.
The lounge is overlooked by a mezzanine, and as you wander a labyrinth of aisles that sometimes narrow to a shoulder width, you’ll discover little alcoves and conversation areas fitted with plush sofas and chairs. Rich red walls and worn oriental rugs call to mind a Victorian library.