Open the door and a sweep of steep wooden stairs disappear into a glimpse of shelves filled with books and, incongruously for bookshops where hallowed silence for the canon is the norm, the very rafters are buzzing with conversation.
In the days of literary salons, effete and troubled poets would have drunk absinthe here, snorted grains of coffee and lamented a lack of money. Today, it is peopled with well-heeled creatives from Falmouth university probably planning their next gap yah and as a student, I can’t think of anywhere better to have drunk away this very best of times.
Tucked away at the sides near the open fire in armchairs are a few locals and one is propping up the bar, complaining in mock outrage that he can’t buy the handled pint he is drinking from. I order from a string of beers on tap, none of which I know but any of which I am invited to try. There’s an impressive coffee machine, old wrought iron stools to balance on and lovely low-key attentive service.
I wonder if I can somehow live here, like I once did in a bookshop in Paris, sleeping on a bug-ridden mattress among the books, free on the condition of reading a book a day. We never managed a whole book, mainly because the drunk antiques dealer next door was far too entertaining and the bug bites, cockroaches and bells of Notre Dame were eventually left far behind for the lavender-filled south and some friends in St Tropez.
If you visit, you may well want to sleep here, drink here, even hug the owners for setting up a new concept venue that is so understated, so, I hate to say it, quietly cool. It’s such a relief to find literature finally disassociated from the multi-national clutches of Costa coffee, whose only literary credentials are a few fake leather armchairs, and returned to its alcoholic roots and what’s more, to that most democratic drink of all – beer – the great leveller.
It’s unlikely that wives will be sold here but look out for some Mayor of Casterbridge extras alongside rosy-faced students by the fireside who will be sharing their words at various evenings dedicated to the spoken word, such as the aptly entitled, Morbid Verbesity. Only a rudimentary etiquette is required to negotiate yourself around this pub/salon/bookshop/music venue. No one wants their pants on fire now do they:
For more (well only a little) go to beerwolfbooks.com.