Novelist, Bookstore, Wine Bar, Brooklyn, Liz's Book Bar

Liz’s Book Bar Is Now Open For Book Lovers And Wine Connoisseurs

Novelist Maura Cheeks recently opened Liz's Book Bar, with the Black-owned entity offering good reads and good sips.

Novelist Maura Cheeks has officially opened Liz’s Book Bar in Brooklyn, New York. The bookstore offers good reads and good sips from coffee to beer and wine.

The Black-owned establishment, located in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood, offers a communal space for book lovers and wine enthusiasts to connect. For Cheeks, the business pays homage to her upbringing, with her grandmother Elizabeth Parker inspiring the name.

“We were always going to bookstores when I was younger,” she told Brooklyn Magazine. “She was always handing me a very thick book to read, and is part of the reason that I’m a writer as well. So it just felt like a great way to honor her legacy.”

An avid reader and writer herself, Cheeks just released her debut novel, Acts of Forgiveness. The story touches on the fictional Forgiveness Act in Philadelphia, offering reparations to Black families. Guests to Cheeks’ bookstore may see her new venture as her way of reclaiming reparations.

“I’ve always wanted to create a public space where people can connect with strangers and neighbors and just hang out,” the entrepreneur explained. “A place that’s not home, that’s not work, where you feel comfortable just spending time, is really important.”

Cheeks’ journey to opening up the business took years. After quitting her marketing job in 2019, she began working at the Manhattan-based Book Club Bar to gain insight for her own version.

What makes Liz’s shop unique, however, is its focus on building community and remaining true to the owner’s history. Cheeks is not about stocking new releases, but wants patrons to rediscover their love of books; perhaps while enjoying a glass of wine.

“We’re not emphasizing new releases,” said the novelist. “I would love for people to discover old books that they perhaps haven’t read before.”

As for its popularity, customers find that supporting a well-intentioned, Black-owned book store benefits everyone.

“I came across a post on Instagram and I was like, Black-owned, woman-owned bookstore? Done and done,” shared Brooklyn resident Alysha Hall. “You know, we’re losing small businesses left and right. It’s so nice to be able to support an establishment in this time that supports reading and learning, and is owned by someone that maybe the chips are kind of stacked against. So yeah, it was a no-brainer — we were coming, and we’re probably gonna be here a lot.”

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