Each city has its own iconic bookstore that means lot more than a simple retail place. This spot in Budapest is Írók Boltja (Writers’ Bookshop), located on the busy corner of Andrássy street and Liszt Ferenc square. Írók boltja is the place to go when you are interested in Hungarian literature as it offers a nice selection of books in English, German and French translation.
The store is special because it has a history of more than hundred years, always connected to writers and poets. Originally a café, it functioned from the 1890s as a legendary gathering place for writers and intellectuals until it was transformed into a bookshop in the 1950s. The members of the Hungarian Association of Writers could buy books on discount here and they organized public readings. Írók boltja offers literary and cultural events as well where writers and readers can meet in person.
I might not be a natural born businesswoman, but for me, a good shop is where I don’t feel compelled to buy anything. Here, I’m free to grab a book with a cup of tea or coffee and sit down in the corner. At the same time, I can peacefully enjoy the bustle of the outside world through the huge windows. Sometimes it feels like sitting in an aquarium full of books, magazines and literature fans instead of fishes and shells.
Finally, a secret: some parts of the café’s original decoration were discovered and preserved. If you cannot find them, just ask the super friendly staff!