Some nights I just really need time to myself to read. Other nights, I just really need a drink. Very often, I need both.

I love reading in cafes with a warm cup of coffee and soothing atmosphere as much as the next bookworm. But sometimes I need something a little stronger depending on my book (or day). I’m not really sure what the etiquette for reading in a bar is (or if there even is any?) but typically I just sit my ass down far away from everyone, order a drink, make no eye contact, and immerse myself in whatever book I’m reading.

Bar Louie recently opened down the street from my house, and its aesthetic instantly drew me in. It looked like the kind of place where you could sit alone or with another person and feel like there was no one else around and nothing outside your booth mattered.

The night I went I made the mistake of going around happy hour so it was extra crowded and extra loud (plus there was a game going on). Normally I don’t like super loud environments to read at, but luckily for me the book I’m currently reading is super interesting and I was able to tune out all the cheering. Despite the crowd, I still felt very comfortable reading there. Dim lighting, booth in the back, and a glass of red wine was all it took to get me settled. You feel secluded, like your seat is your own space.

While I didn’t mind the atmosphere too much, I plan on going again on another night that’s much less crowded and see if I enjoy it any more or less. Plus, there’s a really nice lounge area outside that I really want to spend time in (but wasn’t about to that night because it was 50 degrees).

I know bars aren’t typically places that are meant for reading, and sometimes it looks weird drinking by yourself, but a space is what you make of it. What matters is that you’re comfortable with yourself and what you’re doing. I look forward to finding more places that I feel comfortable being myself in.