The Time We Rented an Entire Bookstore for Date Night

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Mike is notably difficult to buy gifts for. He doesn't want, need, or care about stuff, & he rarely gives me any semblance of a wishlist. This year, as we prepared to celebrate his 35th birthday amid the pandemic, he wouldn't even tell me what he wanted to do that day, so I was left to my own devices.

Enter Visible Voice Books, an independent bookstore in our neighborhood. It's located on the top floor of a building that also houses Crust, a popular pizza joint, & Proof, a new BBQ spot. 

When the pandemic began, Visible Voice paired up with Crust to begin offering 90-minute private browsing sessions: For $50, you get one large, two-topping pizza, a bottle of wine, & an hour & a half of private, unfettered bookstore browsing for up to eight people.

By the time I thought of the gift, Mike's actual birthday wasn't available for booking, so I wrote him an IOU that I stuck inside of a handmade book safe, one I made myself out of a Sherlock Holmes book. I loosely used this tutorial, & it was really easy to do – just a little messy, with strips of book pages everywhere!

The evening of our bookstore date, we arrived promptly at the back door of Visible Voice, sort of like we were headed into a speakeasy. We chose a seat near the back windows, which overlook Proof's massive back patio & were left open on a warm fall evening. We didn't end up with many pics because, well, we were busy enjoying ourselves!

Crust's entire menu was available to us, so we went with a Spanish Chorizo pizza (garlic, rosemary, red peppers, Spanish chorizo, smoked mozz, & goat cheese) & a side of fried mozzarella balls. Mike chose a red wine, & we settled in for dinner. We've ordered that pizza many times before, & we always love it. Everything from Crust is good.

The manager, Aaron, was in the store most of the time we were there, but for the most part, it felt like we fully had the place to ourselves. It was nice to chat him up, though, when we wanted one-on-one book recommendations, & he was both knowledgable & friendly. 

When we weren't eating, we browsed the bookstore, wine in hand, looking for our next great read. Mike ended up buying six books by Isaac Asimov, & I got a book about J.D. Salinger that's now sitting on my bedside table, waiting to be read. We also left with an extra bottle of wine to enjoy from home while we watching The Wire.

I know this was my gift to Mike, but it felt like a gift to myself, too. After so much time spent at home & trying to avoid other humans, it was just so nice to spend time together, out & about someplace other than home, while safe & secure & not worried about other people's germs. (Visible Voice staff sanitizes everything between appointments.)

In all, this was one of the best nights we've had since the pandemic began. I love to see independent local businesses getting creative with their business models during trying times, & I'm always thrilled to find new ways to support our favorite spots as the pandemic continues.

Visible Voice's Create-Your-Own Night in the Bookstore appointments are sold out for the rest of 2020, but dates are available through March 2021. Even those dates are going fast, so if you're interested, jump on it!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE THIS! What a great date idea!!!! Kudos to the bookstore for thinking outside the box, too.


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