The literary cafés in Santiago offer an entertaining cultural panorama to the inhabitants of and visitors to the metropolis. These locales provide delicious coffee in combination with a good read.
Chileans also seek out these literary corners as attractive places to meet, engage in social life and/or reflection. In addition, the infrastructure and welcoming décor of these urban spaces make it possible to find peace and get away from the city noise for a while.
In the variety of literary cafés existing in Santiago, it is also possible to find novels autographed by their authors, galleries displaying works of famous writers and recommendations or summaries of the best reading material.
In this sense, the Chilean government makes ongoing efforts to promote reading in the country. Campaigns have been launched to encourage people to read, and last year a Meeting of Policy-Makers for National Reading Policies and Plans in Latin America and the Caribbean was held in Chile.
In terms of dissemination, in 2009 a Communications Campaign to Promote Reading was launched, which included television spots and radio messages. During the same period the Ministry of Culture’s Leo 2009 campaign to promote reading was set in motion to further strengthen this habit.
Chile has also taken part in Bookcrossing, a very particular kind of mobile library or reading club where books are placed in public places so that the first person who finds them can read on an inside label: “This book is free. Read it. Record it on www.bookcrossing.com. After reading it make it available for somebody else to read”.
This intention is also shared by the literary cafés in Santiago. If you want to visit one, there are various alternatives in different parts of town.
Café literario Mosqueto
In an atmosphere of old buildings and large houses in one of the most European-style streets in the center of Santiago, in the bohemian neighborhood of Lastarria, is where this welcoming cafeteria and bookstore is situated.
Inside, avid readers enjoy a good book and take the occasion to taste a foamy coffee or a dessert such as lemon pie. Photographs of renowned writers decorate the walls.
Café literario Balmaceda
This space offers an enjoyable environment with an excellent selection of coffees. Worthy of note is its collection of more than 30,000 books.
Inaugurated in 2001, it is situated in the district of Providencia and is part of what currently constitutes the literary circuit of the municipality.
Av. Providencia 410.
Café literario Bustamante
This is a truly remarkable and attractive architectural statement. It is located inside the Bustamante Park and has ample interior spaces that give it the look of a large bookstore. It has armchairs for those who wish to concentrate on their reading, and tables in other places for people to experience something from the menu while they read their favorite book.
Av. Bustamante, corner of Juana de Lestonac, 335.
Café literario Santa Isabel
This cultural corner is very interesting to visit on weekends in Providencia, because it offers artistic activities and workshops that make the afternoon go by very pleasantly.
It has a significant selection of books placed in a very agreeable décor with good lighting to promote reading among its visitors.
Santa Isabel 1240.
Café literario Hamoody
This literary café stands out for its personalized attention, because on many occasions the owner himself is in attendance to welcome visitors. This space has a very attractive atmosphere, ideal for social gatherings.
It is located in Providencia and is often rented out by its clients for birthday parties and reunions. Its followers value its European style, elegant décor, tasty food and exclusive coffee, including Italian-style brews.
Santa Magdalena 90, locale 4.
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