The Book Cellar
If no such thing as a bookstore existed and you were left the charge to create it, you’d be hard-pressed to outdo tireless but always-cheerful owner Suzy Takacs’ beloved shop in Lincoln Square. Though it’s only been open since 2004, it’s hard to imagine a Chicago without it. The store is a classic well-stocked indie bookstore, with narrow aisles stuffed to the ceiling with books and staffed by lovers of the written word who are eager to help you find the perfect gift for a nephew who likes to read or the next book you should tackle now that you’ve finished “The Art of Fielding.” Like the internet, it’s open everyday, with late hours till 10pm five nights a week, but unlike the internet it includes an in-store cafe that offers beer and wine alongside the usual coffeehouse fare. But perhaps most important of all for literary Chicago, the store is the city’s biggest bookstore supporter of literary events, from important touring authors to virtually every release by a Chicago writer to a bevy of book clubs and even performance-oriented events like Essay Fiesta and The Kates.
The Book Cellar, 4736-38 North Lincoln, (773)293-2665, bookcellarinc.com
Audience choice: Quimby’s, 1854 West North, (773)342-0910, quimbys.com
Best of Chicago 2012