Take a Peek inside the Impeccably Designed Beacon Hill Books & Cafe

Boston's newest bookstore destination opens soon.

the first floor of beacon hill books

Photo by Sarah Winchester

As though the picturesque red brick buildings and winding streets weren’t enough fodder to keep you strolling the streets of Beacon Hill, you’re about to have another reason to head to the neighborhood: the grand opening of the five story Beacon Hill Books & Cafe. The new shop, which takes over the building in which longtime Beacon Hill mainstay The Hungry I once dwelled, is planning to open in the next few weeks, but a sneak peek reveals a painstakingly crafted bookstore experience replete with thoughtful design touches and charming nooks and crannies for readers of all kinds.

Each floor focuses on something for a different type of reader, but the curation goes beyond that—the floors all have individual rooms, each painted a slightly different shade, geared towards a subset of readers, whether that’s teens, aspiring travelers, or interior design fiends. That last group will find plenty to enjoy here, given the store’s goal to be one of the premiere providers of interior design books in the Boston area, but also because of the thoughtful design of the space. Carvings of thematically appropriate items hang above shelves (look out for the quill and ink, or the easel), and the children’s floor features child-sized furniture, a sneaky side door into a hallway, and a train that runs between rooms (passing, naturally, over both the Longfellow and Harvard bridges as it goes).

The store will also open with the requisite adorable café. Visitors can skip the line at Tatte across the street in favor of a quick coffee and pastry on the back patio, then come back for a seated lunch in the café, take a break with a colleague during the afternoon English tea service, and then unwind at the end of the day over a glass of wine and some snacks. And yes, if you’re entirely smitten with the space, they’ll be hosting private events in the days to come, whether that’s in the café, or at a long table on the second floor that can seat up to 22 people among the books.

The staff, led by owner Melissa Fetter and manager Irene MacDonald, enjoys an airy space up top, complete with skylight, but for those who can’t get enough of the bookstore’s charms, a writing class will be meeting in that space as well.

And of course, on the way out, you don’t want to miss taking a look at the residence of the store mascot, Paige the Squirrel. A tiny dwelling, designed by children’s book author and illustrator Brian Lies, has been carved into the wall on the first floor, where you can spot a few local touches, including a box from Mike’s Pastry, as well as a painting that the Gardner Museum might want to know about. A children’s book, written by Sarah S. Brannen, explains her history with the place, but don’t expect to see her there during the day—she’s busy hanging out on the Common with the other squirrels.

71 Charles St., Boston,

a carving paige the squirrel outside beacon hill books

The store is easy to find, thanks to a mahogany carving of Paige the Squirrel outside. Photo by Sarah Winchester

children's room at beacon hill books

Kid-sized furniture in the children’s room. Photo by Sarah Winchester

The event space at Beacon Hill Books

The event space at Beacon Hill Books. Photo by Sarah Winchester

The gray books are from Persephone Books, which works to publish titles by 19th and 20th century women authors. Photo by Sarah Winchester

paige the squirrel's house at beacon hill books

Paige’s dwelling. Photo by Sarah Winchester

The secret door in the children's room at Beacon Hill Books

The secret door in the children’s room at Beacon Hill Books. Photo by Sarah Winchester