Hidden Hangouts: Bard’s Books In Church Street

Fourth Estate/Peter Njoroge

Explore the Bard’s Books in Church Street


Located in the heart of Vienna, Bard’s Alley provides much-needed quiet and ambiance for anyone looking to find a workspace away from their workspace. 

Let’s face it. We as college students know that most coffee shops aren’t what they used to be. Finding a quiet, secluded place to hammer out an essay or tear through an assigned reading is becoming more and more challenging. 

Today, many coffee houses can be packed, squished, noisy and uncomfortable. Bard’s Alley offers a welcome alternative to dealing with these problems.

At this bookstore turned cafe workspace, opened recently on Vienna’s bustling Church Street in 2017, there is no need to scramble for a seat or to max out the volume on your headphones to avoid obnoxious chatter. The store is beautifully quiet and can be a fantastic change from studying at Fenwick or setting up at your dining table.

The space is mostly a bookstore with a few bar seats accompanied by a simple list of drinks and snacks sourced from local businesses, including coffee Caffe Amouri, a well-known Vienna staple. They have tea, light sandwiches and adult beverages, and are serving it all during their open hours. 

The place is a haven filled with an exciting collection of contemporary books along with an assortment of classics, especially Shakespeare, laid out beautifully throughout the store. You can find everything, from Chef José Andrés’ new cookbook “Vegetables Unleashed” to Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”

What makes Bard’s Alley, named for a combination of Harry Potter and Shakespeare, special is the studious environment available that we as college students need to survive. 

Intimate is the ultimate way to characterize the space. The building is small and filled to the brim with books, making each seat feel cozy and comfortable. Don’t expect to stroll into Barnes and Noble and keep your eyes peeled for the right entrance.

The owners also encourage patrons to look through titles while enjoying one of their beverages or snacks. So, during a break from your study session, pick up a title from their carefully curated selection.

Unlike most retail stores, Bard’s Alley is a space meant to be used. Going there feels like stepping into the town’s newest secret. For study, pleasure or peace, head to this cool retail space. Whether joining in one of their many book clubs, grabbing a drink, a snack or a book, stop by this secretive nook.