On January 31, Book Bar hosted a closing ceremony to celebrate its 10 years of business and to support the owner, Nicole Hann Sullivan’s next steps. Old and new friends and staff joined together to not only mourn, but to rejoice that they experienced Book Bar in their lifetime.
“There’s no other bookstore that has a wine bar, like just a combo of a wine bar and bookstore where you can come and get a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and leave, “said Susan Dunn who has been a guest at Book Bar’s Tennyson Street home for a decade.
On the final day of business, Book Bar held an all day bash that consisted of a 40% off book sales, story times, an author event and an open mic event in the evening. Guests expressed their fondness towards Book Bar in the form of poetry, song and written pieces at the open mic which was emceed by Miss Shirley Delta Blow, longtime friend of Book Bar and third grade teacher at the Studio School in Northglenn.
“We cry because we are here,” said Blow as she started the open mic and encouraged guests to gather around.
Kids who grew up reading and learning at Book Bar participated in the open mic event. One child, Scout, wrote a song inspired by Book Bar, one of her favorite places to go. Another volunteer named John, presented a written piece called “The Final Run,” about appreciating Book Bar as a favorite place to write.
“We hoped that the long summer evening at the Book Bar would never end,” said John. “These moments are transitory, fleeting at best. I got to be here in this place and that’s no small thing.”
Guests throughout the evening spoke about their favorite memories at the Book Bar. One guest speaker spoke about hosting Halloween talks around the fire at Book Bar’s patio where people could come and talk about their experiences with the paranormal. Kristina Atsalis, Book Bar guest of two years, also remembered a fond memory on the patio.
“It was a random day on my own. I got a glass of wine and a book and sat by the fire outside. There was this one other lady there and we chatted for a little bit, but it was peaceful. It was my first time back there. It was kind of magical.” said Atsalis.
“One time, it was probably five, six or seven years ago, some of my girlfriends and I had a book club and we met here,” said Susan Dunn. “The author of the book actually came to our book club to meet with us. I read her book and loved it and she came and met with us so we could have wine and snacks and meet the real author!”
Performer, hostess, and drag queen Miss Shirley Delta Blow, spoke about how important it is for bookstores to host all kinds of social events for the community.
“I think everybody should have a little drag queen story time. I mean, because seeing someone like me, you know, exposing kids to people who are different from them, it opens worlds of possibilities. Just like opening a book! If I read a story about someone that I don’t know or something that I’ve never experienced, then my life is richer because of that,” said Blow.
In a September annoucement, Sullivan said that she was closing the Book Bar because of rising costs and a desire to slow down and spend more time with her family. Her attention would shift to her other bookstore, The Bookies, and the non-profit Book Give, which donates books through the community. She also has yet unannounced plans for the space which will continue building community. Guests hope that the future of Book Bar’s space continues to inspire dialogue and the sharing of ideas.
“I hope it continues to do that type of thing where people come together from different experiences or different backgrounds,” said Blow. “If somebody says, hey this thing is really important, then I can start to expand my thinking and understanding and can be a neighbor, ally, partner or fighter or whatever I need to do. I think that’s an important thing: places to continue dialogue so that we can continue to find that common ground as opposed to continually being us versus them kind of mentality.”
As guests drank, read, talked, and cried (just a little), the time finally arrived for Nicole Hann Sullivan to step up to the mic for a final toast.
“I really don’t want to take up a lot of time because I want to talk with all of you and you talk with one another because that’s what this place is all about,” said Sullivan as she pulled up her glasses to the top of her head.
Sullivan thanks her staff for giving her space and holding down the fort which allowed her to navigate these past months more smoothly.
“It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but also it’s necessary. Change is good, it’s not always bad, even if you are changing something that has been a very good and positive thing. Sometimes good things end and that’s not a terrible thing because other good things can come out of that,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan was planning on announcing what’s next for this space on Tennyson which she owns but changed her mind.
“I don’t want to talk about what comes next. I want to talk about right now and the past and all the good things that have happened in this space that we really need to have time to mourn and appreciate. To think about what these walls have seen in the past 10 years.”
Sullivan reflects on the many beginnings that Book Bar has seen and how first dates led to weddings then baby showers.
“I don’t know what comes next after baby showers,” said Sullivan.
“STORY TIME!” someone shouts.
Sullivan laughs and the crowd cheers. Before starting again, Sullivan takes a deep breath.
“And now we are all here for an ending.”
Sullivan continues through her toast thanking everyone who has helped her along the way.
“I have one more thing to say and I might get in trouble,” Sullivan said. The crowd encouraged her to say it anyway. “Open bar for the rest of the night!”
With that, guests ran to the bar for one final drink and others scattered around to have one last conversation as the story ended inside Book Bar.