No detail has been overlooked in this charming indie bookstore meets coffeeshop meets watering hole on Berkeley’s hip Tennyson Street, from poems sealed into the bartop to handwritten staff reading recommendations. Round up friends for monthly literary trivia and local beers, bring the kids for story time every Thursday (4:30 p.m.), or treat yourself to an evening spent snuggled up on an armchair with a Kent Haruf novel, a glass of Bonacquisti’s d-Red, and the Steinbeck flatbread pizza (truffle oil, garlic, rosemary, red potato, and crumbles of bacon). That’s what we call happily ever after.

Tattered Cover Book Store

Whether it’s hosting a signing by a national best-selling author, a poetry slam, a travel lover’s book club, or a dramatic reading of your kid’s latest bedtime favorite, this local institution (14 Top of the Town readers’ choice awards and counting) is so much more than just a bookseller—it’s a community. Multiple locations.

Tattered Cover

How do we love thee, Tattered Cover? Let us count the wins: 13 years of Top of the Town supremacy. Multiple locations. 

Park Hill Community Bookstore

In the age of the e-reader, it's easy to find specific titles. Sometimes, though, you want to leisurely thumb through a few paperbacks to figure out what you want. That's where this charming 42-year-old Park Hill co-op comes in. Its three stories are packed with new and previously loved tomes—classics, cookbooks, children's standbys, you name it—categorized by genre. Members ($15 per year for individuals, $20 for families) get 10 free used volumes annually and can trade in their own books for credits; guests can score hard copies at bargain-bin prices.

The Hermitage Bookshop

We know we’re not alone in loving the smell of old books. That old leather and yellowed paper aroma hits you as soon as you walk into the Hermitage, an underground bookstore with 22,000 volumes, including rare copies, first editions, and exciting finds. We picked up a copy of Thoreau’s Walden the last time we ventured below; with its worn jacket and bright red binding underneath, it adds a timelessness to our collection and looks so distinguished on our bookshelf.

Tattered Cover Book Store

Our office is on the same block as the LoDo branch of this venerable palace o’ books, so we spend a lot of time browsing the shelves, drinking coffee from the cafe, and lounging in the armchairs. But we felt a little awkward about reading from our iPads in the store. Not anymore. The Tattered Cover is hip to the changing literary world, meaning that as of December, Google eBooks are part of the LoDo site’s inventory.