This post is part of a series on my favorite spots in Phoenix. To read the other posts, follow these links: Swansong (Best places in Arizona), UnderTow, Barber Parlor, Phoenix Breweries, Bonus Round, Renaissance Hotel, Camelback and Central.
You know what’s great? Books. The tactile nature of turning a page, the sound of your finger sliding along the paper, and the crisp snap of the page back into place are some of the small pleasures that continue to draw me to books. While the flagship shop is in Tempe, the Phoenix Changing Hands always stood as a wonderful place to peruse some books, find some good used deals, and even enjoy a pint at the bar.
Changing Hands Bookstore
The bookstore itself has a nice variety of offerings across multiple genres. They have a nice graphic novel section, philosophy and religion section, and a large wall of fiction from the past and present to pick from. They also sell lots of local knick-knacks and curios, as well as a few board games. The books on Arizona there are also great for anyone wishing to learn more about the area. The staff are all incredibly kind and the atmosphere is so smooth and relaxed that you feel instantly at ease when you walk in the door.
First Draft Book Bar
The main draw for me was the bar inside the bookstore. You heard right: A bar in the bookstore. First Draft, as it is called, offers beer, wine, and a few snack foods and baked goods for your indulgence. My wife was all about the sea salt chocolate chip cookies, which are super chunky and delightful! Their selection of beers is pretty good for a bookstore, and they offer growlers and fill-ups for a reasonable price. I would love going there after work in the evening to sit and relax, enjoy a beer, and take in the smell of the books and pastries.
They also have a common space where local groups would meet. I saw mixers, meetings, and even partook in some trivia hosted by Marshall Shore, the hip historian, who taught me many interesting things about Arizona. It’s a wonderful spot just off of Central and Camelback that is well worth the comfort on a blazing summer afternoon!