Even in this digital age and the efficiency of online shopping, there is nothing that even remotely approaches the slight rush of walking into an actual bookstore and the tactile sensations which characterize browsing through very real–i.e., paper–pages.
Add an excellent restaurant, a helpful and knowledgeable staff, late dining on the weekends, live music, and a well-stocked bar with cafe seating, and what you have is heaven on earth. What you have in other words is Kramerbooks and Afterwards Cafe.
Located on Connecticut Avenue, just north of Dupont Circle, this Washington institution is one of my favorite places in the city, partially because bookstores are so rare, and partially because the food and drink is so good. One can spend hours browsing through the books and periodicals; or, grab a beer or mixed drinks during happy hour in the adjacent bar; or, dinner in the cafe which features an excellent variety of well prepared dishes, like crab cakes, desserts, omelets, pastas, and small plates; or, end the evening with some great live music. Or, all the above. There is great outdoor seating, too, and the people-watching is second to none.