Five book cafes to visit in the Valley

If you find solace in the company of books as much as your own thoughts, here are places that offer both good food and great books.

Manushree Mahat

Manushree Mahat

The Kathmandu Post


Photo of Ektafe Brew Manor. PHOTO: COURTESY

October 11, 2023

KATHMANDU – There’s something magical about flipping through a good book or wrapping up your work in a cosy cafe. Maybe it’s the gentle hum of the coffee machine, not too loud, or the sense of escape from the cacophony of daily life, finding solace in a space that is new yet strangely familiar. Here, you can immerse yourself in reading, enjoy delicious food, sip on your favourite drink, and relish precious moments alone.

For those who cherish the companionship of both books and their own thoughts, here are five places in Kathmandu where you can savour the pleasure of good food and great reads.

Ektafe Brew Manor
Ektafe Brew Manor appears unassuming at first, its white exterior blending seamlessly with its surroundings. Upon opening the door, you’re greeted warmly by its cosy brown furniture and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Designed to be a reading space, the cafe offers the ambience and aesthetics of a Pinterest library. Its shelves are filled with special edition vintage covers of classics, fiction and non-fiction novels.

Established in July of 2023, this cafe was created to offer a serene space for readers and writers to dive into the world of words. Everything in the cafe soothes the soul from the hubbub of everyday life: the soft strains of classical music, the scent of Nepali coffee beans, and plush couches set against the aesthetically pleasing interior. It’s a haven for reading, writing, working, or simply enjoying a quiet moment with friends.

Situated within the premises of Ekta Books and Distributors, the cafe is separated into two openings. The general door leads to a comfortable space perfect for a casual chit-chat with friends, where delightful pastries like brownies and doughnuts are on display. The second entrance opens into a more secluded area with shelves proudly displaying an array of books against the wall.

BIA Cafe
BIA Cafe, situated on Kimdol Marg in Swayambhu and established in 2015, can be best described as a cosy vegan haven with books. What sets BIA apart is its focus on serving vegetarian and vegan dishes, catering to a specific clientele. One of their unique features is the secret method of roasting coffee beans, creating a stronger flavour, perfect for coffee-loving readers.

The cafe was founded under the guidance of Chogyal Rinpoche, a yoga teacher, meditation expert, and spiritual leader. Its collection of books reflects a blend of spirituality and finance, aligning with Rinpoche’s teachings. Over time, as younger customers started frequenting the cafe, its selection of books expanded. This growth was in harmony with the founder’s vision to promote meditation and financial awareness among the younger generation.

Coffee at Anu Books
Established in 2021, Coffee at Anu Books has a simple aim: to nurture a love for reading and make a positive impact on society. The cafe’s menu lists traditional Nepali delights, including Thekuwa, Buckwheat muffins and Gujiya and Amir Thapa, the curator, proudly states that everything offered at the cafe is organic. Thapa further reveals that the cafe wants to provide a taste of home for those Nepalis who’ve ventured to Kathmandu in pursuit of their careers.

Nestled in Satdobato, Coffee at Anu Books spans two floors. The ground floor hosts the cafe, while the upper floor houses the bookstore. Here, the cafe hosts engaging book events and reading sessions in collaboration with authors and schools, fostering a vibrant reading community. The cafe stands as a welcoming space where the warmth of home and the joy of reading come together.

ThebaLa Books with Coffee
If you’re craving traditional Tamang dishes, a steaming cup of coffee, and a wide selection of books all in one place, then ThebaLa Books with Coffee is the ideal spot. This cafe offers a unique atmosphere with its book jacket-inspired bulbs and is specifically designed as a haven for readers and writers to connect and discuss their literary creations.

Inside, you’ll find a diverse collection of books neatly arranged on a giant wheel-shaped shelf. The selection includes historical novels about Nepal and the Tamang community, as well as fiction and non-fiction works in both Nepali and English. Located on Kushlechaur Marg in Thamel, ThebaLa attracts not only locals but also tourists, especially due to its connection with ThebaLa Treks and Expedition, a travel company associated with the cafe. It’s a place where food, coffee, books, and travel enthusiasts come together to enjoy a delightful experience.

Reader’s Hub
Reader’s Hub lives up to its name, with its interior resembling a library more than a cafe. It’s a popular spot within the reading community, so much so that its first cafe in Kaushaltar’s success led to the opening of two more outlets in Dhapasi and Hattiban. True to its name, Reader’s Hub was created to bring together authors and readers. The main outlet hosts reading events and sessions with writers, emphasising its dedication to supporting readers.

The cafe offers a unique service: monthly subscriptions. Customers can choose a reading room tailored to their preferences, exclusively reserved for them throughout the month. The interior is designed with readers in mind, featuring ‘reading rooms’ partitioned off for extra quiet, allowing customers to work and read peacefully.

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