Dearest BookBar,

This, our last newsletter, is dedicated to all of you – our customers and readers of this past decade. Thanks a million for all of your support, friendships, enthusiasm for our sometimes wacky ideas; for making BookBar your home away from home, your work away from work, and your family away from family. It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to have served you all, whether it was a glass of wine or a personal book recommendation. I’ve been lucky enough to watch some of you form relationships right in front of our eyes, then go on to create families and brand new little humans for Miss Marilyn to read to. I know I’ll keep in touch with many of you, perhaps for the rest of my life (looking at you, Table 1 Crew). It is the random encounters that I’ll miss most and will never be able to recreate in a similar setting that attracts the sort of intelligent, fascinating, unique individuals I’ve been so grateful to cross paths with at BookBar. I’ll miss the busy weekend nights during events when the bar staff is bustling, people are listening raptly to spoken word, others are milling leisurely through the stacks with a glass of wine or cocktail in hand. The smell of mulled wine intermingled with that unmistakable ‘book smell’ will always instantly transport me to cozy, chilly nights in a warm bookstore full of laughter, music, and bookish chatter. 

There is no way this ending could ever be easy. But I’m grateful that it is an ending by choice and that we all have plenty to look back on and look forward to post-BookBar. While my focus will be shifting to The Bookies Bookstore, BookGive, BookBar Press, my friends, family, and myself (not necessarily in that order), my hope is that BookBar might have inspired more head-in-the-clouds entrepreneurs to open more community spaces. We need as many ways to engage with one another as we can get. In fact, as I allowed myself to envision the space ‘soon to be formerly known as BookBar’ after January 31st, I began to think about what is really, truly a need; not only on Tennyson Street but in my community, in my city, and beyond. We need more gathering spots but with more intention. I began to think about how much the world has changed in the ten years since opening BookBar (a lot!) and the biggest gaps left by BookBar’s closing. I started to imagine a concept much like the ‘conversation cafes’ that are popping up in libraries and some European coffee shops where people from various backgrounds and life experiences are encouraged to come together for conversation with the goal of finding common ground. If there is one thing I’ve learned from BookBar and a lifetime of reading is that every single one of us contains a relatable core of humanity. You won’t get to it through social media or the silos we’ve built up around ourselves and our personal ideologies. You certainly won’t get to it through dogmatism, shout downs, or call outs. You can get to it through respectful conversation, curiosity, openness, and humility. THIS is our greatest need right now. 

No sooner had I let my imagination run unchecked than someone walked into BookBar during a busy Saturday and proceeded to tell me about her multi-national nonprofit organization that has been, for more than two decades, implementing the types of programming, events, and workshops that I had begun to imagine could and should happen in this space. I changed her to-go coffee order to a mug and we sat down to chat. 3 ½ hours later we had the rough outline of how, together, we could give her organization a home in Denver, how she would implement it, and how she would hire me to coordinate community relations. I got a job, y’all! Just kidding. I have plenty of jobs at the moment but – this will be my first paycheck in nearly twenty years and that feels pretty good. This random encounter and everything that has sprouted from it further solidified my belief that face to face human connection can spark tremendous change. And positive change begets positive change. I hope you all will come along with me on my next journey – as we continue to grow, change and expand the 3 Bs (Bookies, BookGive, and BookBar Press) but also this new endeavor that we know will add so much value to our community and, hopefully, other communities as well. If you like art, music, food, beverages, education, conversation, collaboration, and connection you’re going to love what we’re bringing to Tennyson Street Fall 2023. We hope to see you at our farewell party at BookBar on January 31st. We’ll be celebrating a decade well-lived and well-read all day. At 7:30pm, we’ll toast to the past and the future with more details about what is around the corner. Hint: it’s a bridge. We’re building a bridge.