Opposite the Palace Verona Cinema on Oxford Street is Paddington’s other great cultural hub, Berkelouw Books. It’s one of several shops in the thriving Berkelouw chain, but this one is the retailer’s crown jewel for good reason – it’s a bibliophile’s dream, with a massive selection of new, rare and secondhand books spread out across three storeys full of reading nooks and warm timber floorboards.
Downstairs, you’ll find staff picks of the best new-release titles, an extensive range of kids’ books, plus a good smattering of literary-themed knick-knacks. The top floor’s second-hand collection is one of the city’s grandest, with over 600,000 titles to peruse.
But best of all is the mezzanine cafe and bar. It looks like a set-piece from a Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle) flick; full of local literati enjoying a coffee (or a wine), and a good book, naturally. Pull up a seat next to the street-facing window and dig into that Murakami novel you’ve been pining after.