Welcome to a new bi-weekly article! As the blog director and freshly termed Bridlit Explorer, I will be featuring a selection of the country’s finest, most peculiar book shops. Without further ado, enjoy the first instalment…
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A steep street winds back from between two high street shops in the heart of Falmouth, Cornwall. At the end of this tiny, hidden hill, is Beerwolf Books, appearing much like J.K. Rowling’s Room of Requirement; unexpectedly large and quite astounding to imagine that you could have missed it before. ‘Beerwolf‘ is what the locals and students nickname it, and it does (as the name suggests) combine a desire for a softly-lit, bring-your-own-food bar, and the insatiable hunger for a good book to disappear with into the folds of an armchair.
The bar itself is rustic and bizarre. In keeping with the rest of the eclectically-unified interior design, one may see fairy lights, modified dolls hanging from exposed beams and vintage posters of cult-favourite books peppered across the walls. There is an arrangement of well-worn cushions, squeaky barstools and a ping pong table for the entertainment of patrons. All of this, however, is eclipsed by the crown’s main jewel.
Poised cooly atop the imposing staircase that seems plucked from the architecture of a Jane Austen novel, the bookshop sits. Book-alcove, possibly. As I stroll between the shelves, I can’t help but be surprised at the brazen lack of bestsellers upon the stacks. No featured novel from a popular author, no highly anticipated sequel to a successful franchise, no corporation-sponsored display. Beerwolf steers clear.
When I ask, the barkeep tells me that the owner is a woman with discerning taste who “actively tries to avoid bestsellers”, and that this year marks Beerwolf’s fourth. Situated close to two universities, it is a clear favourite among bookish students and professors alike, and more discover it each year. The attitude of the management must be something that resonates with these people. Perhaps the appeal lies in an appreciation of things that take effort to know and to understand, or perhaps it’s simply the uncomplicated fun of anachronism; the ‘no cards accepted’, creakily floorboarded, an are-we-in-a-tavern atmosphere. Regardless, it remains a well loved destination for those that know the route.
Beerwolf Books is a hidden treasure. Go find it, wayfarers.