Backroom Books turns Red Hook Brewery into bookstore

There's more than just beer for sale at Strong Rope Brewery's Red Hook taproom. Thanks to Backroom Books - a small pop-up hidden in the back - there's also a bookstore.

Greg Thompson

Apr 12, 2024, 11:09 AM

Updated 47 days ago

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There's more than just beer for sale at Strong Rope Brewery's Red Hook taproom. Thanks to Backroom Books - a small pop-up hidden in the back - there's also a bookstore.
"It's a little speakeasy bookstore," jokes Gordon Taylor, who works at Strong Rope and co-founded Backroom Books. "People come in on the weekends or something and they'll notice and then they'll go up to their friends and be like 'oh, this bookstore around the corner! Go check it out'."
Taylor says he and his partner Shasha realized that there was no real place to get books in the neighborhood, especially with the library closed for renovations.
He had seen artists do pop-ups at Strong Rope, and thought a bookstore could follow the same model.
Starting with books from their own home collection and then adding donations, they were able to fill up a few shelves with different sections - including one for kids.
Taylor says so far, the response has been supportive, as customers "can't believe nobody's ever put a bookstore in a brewery - it's such a large space, there's a lot of community and like events like that, it's a very family-friendly place too, so it seems like kind of an easy fit." Without anyone staffing the area, it operates mostly on an honor system, asking people to track what they buy on a clipboard, and Venmo what the books cost.
After two months in business, Taylor says they've sold more than 125 books.
"A lot more people are excited about books than I realized, so many people have been just encouraging, and really into it, and it's great to see that that many people don't only love beer, but they love reading. It really shows that like oh, this is an idea that could work in other places too," he says.
Eventually, they would like to host some readings highlighting local authors at Backroom, which is open any time the taproom is.


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