San Francisco

'The Bindery' Bookseller, Café, & Event Space Debuts On Haight

The Bindery, a new concept bookseller, café, and event space pioneered by the folks behind independent bookstore, The Booksmith, has opened at 1727 Haight St. 

Book buyer (and Hoodline contributor) Camden Avery told us that while the new business is "currently open on a soft opening basis and books are on the shelves, we are already up and running for events and even serving drinks."

The café will be be open full-time sometime in October, he said.

"Embarking on this project, we were really trying to create a space for the neighborhood that feels inviting for people to hang out in," Avery added. "To linger and meet each other to read, work, and to experience the space in a way that a lot of communal spaces in the neighborhood don’t afford the opportunity." 

As for the organization of the books, Booksmith co-owner Christin Evans is calling it the Arcana Project, and will add about 10,000 titles to Booksmith’s existing inventory, curating each title based on a chronological timeline. 

"It's an experiment in a bookstore." Avery said. "We build a space where [the books] are all organized chronologically based on the date they were written in a continuum of world literature so that you can experience it differently." 

The selection is designed to be an incomplete and ever-evolving "index of converging and diverging stories that lead towards our literary, cultural moment," he added. Customers can add titles they wish to see to a suggestion box.

"It will really broaden our selection and focus on areas where we want to fill it out a lot more, in a much more focused fashion. Like adding more literature, memoirs, and science," Avery said. 

Evans noted that the Booksmith celebrated its 40th anniversary just last year, and was awarded legacy status by the city, but the expansion is the first since the 1980s. 

The Bindery will also have space for a gallery shelf where staff present books from the collection that harmonize with each other, "like works on counterculture from ancient Egypt and Greece up to the present," said Evans.

Once a theater and eventually home to Second Act Marketplace and Events, The Bindery's space was divided into two with the front end of the shop dedicated to retail. The rear holds the bar and event space with "a full audio and video setup," Evans said.

The Bindery obtained a liquor license and will be serving beer, wine, and cocktails once the space is fully operational in October. 

"We wanted to make it available for community members for their social needs," Evans said. "The front of the store has the books and purchasing counter and the rear of the space has the bar and more books and seating for lounging and for hanging around."

There's a good number of events already booked for August, Avery told us, and the list of evolving events is growing. "We've added some movie nights, some live music, and an experimental music night along with indie film screenings and classes for filmmakers," he said.

With other literary events planned at The Booksmith and at The Bindery, Evans said that the number of events being offered each year which hovers around 200, could double. The space, Avery added, is available for folks to rent for private events as well. 

The Bindery is open daily from 2–8pm, potentially later when events are occurring in the evening. 


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