Apr 26, 2012

Ler Devagar

I have a deep fondness for Ler Devagar (Read Slowly). This junction of a bookstore/library and a café/bar/restaurant proves that there are certain barriers that exist for no reason and that prohibition only makes breaking rules more tempting. There is a belief that food doesn't go with books. But library goers are smart enough to appreciate and respect the book as an object. Who doesn't like to read while sipping a coffee? There is nothing wrong with placing a coffee plate over a Dostoevsky, Calvino or Boris Vian.

This bookstore offers trust and people feel it, that is what makes it so good. If by accident we ruin a book (accidents do happen) then we know the price to pay.

The beauty of this place is to submerge in the old books. It is virtually impossible to reach some, as the highest shelves are way beyond human reach. If you are brave enough you can try to ask for the library stairs, but the temperament of the owners is unpredictable. Sometimes they are darlings, others not.

The good part of this indiference by the owners is that we can sit quietly without asking anything and they wont bother, each one on its own, which I kind of like.

The price is a though bone to chew on, it is one of the most expensive places maybe in terms of coffee, but the space is so amazing (and they know it). I already have my prefered place near the window and the cheeses. And there go 3€ for a galão, and more 3.5€ in a tiny weenie sandwich.


This old printing factory was considered one of the prettiest libraries in the world. On the top floor you can still see the rusty printing machines, and this is also an exhibition place.

There is also what I like to call the Moustache Chilling Room. Maybe to dark to read inside but it is relaxing for sure. On the ceiling there is a rope that when pulled triggers a mechanic hand that hits a drum or plate and makes a small sultry sound. There is no point here, but the silliness of it all is pleasant and addictive.

Under the big stairs there is another surprise: a space reserved for small children to play (yes, in a library).

There is also a small exhibition/conference room, with a big piano that anyone can play (at least we did). The funny thing is that some people join sometimes, if you are a good piano player, and it may end up in some very interesting moments.

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Open tuesdays to thursdays from midday to midnight, fridays and saturdays from midday to 2h and sundays from 11h to 22h.

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