Riffraff — Booze And Books

Always an unbeatable combination. And now with the news that packaging from our online shopping is overwhelming the recycling centers, we encourage our readers to get out of the house and support the brick-and-mortar bookstores in their neighborhood. The latest entry on the local scene is Riffraff on Valley Street in Olneyville where you can even buy a tote (see below) thus not participating in the earth’s demise.

Tom Roberge and Emma Ramadan, partners in life as well as business, moved to Providence last year to fulfill their dream of opening a bookstore bar. The couple’s credentials are certainly in order: Tom has extensive experience in the book world, having worked in New York as a bookseller at McNally Jackson, the managing editor at A Public Space, an editor at Penguin Books, and more. Emma studied literature at Brown University “before completing a master’s degree in translation in Paris. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Morocco, where she worked translating a number of Moroccan writers from French into English.”

As to the alcohol portion of the program: Tom’s favorite drink is scotch rocks, while Emma has recently become a big Mezcal fan.

Bar offerings include espresso drinks and basic snacks. The inviting space features exposed beams and duct work; the bookstore area is well-lit, the bar a bit dimmer. And those communal tables could lead to dynamic intellectual discussions with new friends . . . or, you can all sit around staring into your laptops. (Guess where I stand on this issue.)

Riffraff even has a happy hour:

In the spirit of a traditional bar happy hour, we offer a discount on books every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening, from 5–7pm: $1 off every book.

I went home with one useful little book for my reference library called “Fucking Apostrophes.” Unfortunately, this has me checking and rechecking the apostrophes here and I’m having trouble pulling the trigger. Looks okay . . . I think I got ’em all.

Riffraff Bookstore Bar, 60 Valley Street, Unit 107A, (directions)

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