A place for literacy has finally returned to the Bronx and its called The Lit Bar.
Marking its official opening on 131 Alexander Avenue, the years-long brainchild of Soundview’s own Noelle Santos pairs the borough’s only bookstore with a snazzy and fun, spirited bar for all.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. watched and cheered along with Santos as she cut the ribbon on her revolutionary ‘book and bar’ concept along with many notable Bronxites on Saturday, April 27, better known as National Independent Bookstore Day.
She took her inspiration to open the borough’s only independent bookstore some years ago when Barnes and Noble in the Mall at Bay Plaza closed permanently at the end of 2016.
It was a concept that began like many start up businesses, utilizing ‘pop up’ shops to gain interest and financial backing.
In Santos’ case, she started her quest at the Bronx Museum of the Arts at the same time that B&N had left the Bronx.
The Lehman College graduate won the New York Public Library and Citi Foundation’s NYStartUp business plan competition over 358 startups within the same period of time, propelling her concept forward.
Some time after that, her crowd-funding campaign to “bring a goddamn bookstore to the Bronx” ended up raising a whopping $170,000.
Fast forward to 2019, the little book kiosk evolved into a 2,300-square-foot beautiful, decorated space of shelves that comprise a rolling library that the borough has been so long deprived of.
One of the borough’s most talented artists, Andre Trenier was called on to do the lifelike mural of a woman holding a book titled: ‘The Lit Bar by Noelle Santos’.
In the back of all that is where the more fluid portion of the store begins. That’s where a hybrid bar and café sets an ambiance unique to that of many other bookstores.
From a bar with the décor of stacks of books, to comfortable upholstered and cozy chairs, to smartly placed tabletops, the Lit Bar is ready to do business Bronx style.
Santos’ Lit Bar joins a revitalized corridor of unique Bronx businesses, like next-door neighbor Beatstro, a hip hop-themed restaurant that pays homage to the south Bronx.
Most of all, it returns a much needed opportunity to encourage reading in the Bronx.