Left Bank Books
321 N. 10th St.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Left Bank Books is everything an independent city bookstore should be. The ambience is clean and bright, the staff is knowledgable and friendly, lots of reading groups and events help build its sense of community and the coffee is fresh and hot. The store has been visited over the years by Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Salman Rushdie and, just this year, Marcus Samuelsson, Walter Mosley and Khaled Hosseini. Left Bank Books has a strong presence in the city, with locations downtown and in the Central West End.
The Archive Bookstore
2903 S. Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118
The Archive is struggling. In June, the bookstore announced that it would begin liquidating its merchandise. A massive sale and rally of support allowed the store to pay off its back bills, and the owners are looking for a more affordable location. In mid-August, the store was still there. The bookseller is currently located in the perpetually up-and-coming Benton Park neighborhood, dominated by hipsters and artists. The store offers coffee and tea alongside a collection of used and collectible books.
Legacy Bookstore and Cafe
5249 Delmar Blvd.
St Louis, MO 63108
Legacy is a bookstore, cafe and soul food grill. It’s designed to be a comfortable gathering spot where patrons can relax and get to know each other. The store is located between the U City Loop and the Central West End on Delmar. Legacy has hosted Friday night poetry events for 14 years, starting with the Spoken Word Groove for the first 10 years and now the UrbPoetry event, with an UrbSlam on the final Friday of each month.
The Zen Tree
8088 Watson Road
St. Louis, MO 63119
If you’re looking for a crystal, a state of the Buddha or a book about meditation, this new-age bookstore might be just the place for you. Enjoy free coffee, tea and cookies while you browse the collection of local artwork and spiritual books and gifts. The store offers spiritual groups, chakra readings, reiki balancing and other events and classes for spiritual seekers.
Concordia Seminary Campus Store
801 Seminary Place
Clayton, MO 63105
The bookstore at Concordia is intended for students, but it is open to the public. Stroll through the breathtaking seminary campus to its center, right across from the Chapel, to locate the Campus Store. Here you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat while shopping for faith-centered gifts and greeting cards and books written by Concordia faculty members. You can even enjoy some Ted Drewe’s custard in the Campus Store. What’s the connection? Ted Drewes was Concordia’s tennis coach for 25 years and is a supporter of the Seminary.
Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com