Hungary pub lets clients drink between the lines

Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:00am EDT
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By Gergely Szakacs

NAGYKOVACSI, Hungary (Reuters Life!) - On the way home from a hard day's work, Ferenc Nagy often gets the urge to pop into his favorite boozer for another round of binge reading.

Nagy, 42, is something of a regular at the Gyopar, a small, Communist-era pub in this village just outside Budapest, where customers can quench their thirst not only for ales and spirits but enjoy some intellectual refreshment as well.

"I come in, grab a book and just read into it for an hour or two, depending on how much time I have," Nagy said.

"I have a cool drink, I see a bunch of colleagues sitting around, so I join them by the table and read a bit. It's good."

It is now more than three years since the manager, Peter Maurer, came up with the idea of this unique communal hybrid of a public library inside a pub, and, if customer satisfaction is any measure, the project has been a success.

"We just had a lot of unused books and we kept discussing with the bartender how we should not let them go to waste and how good it would be to launch a library somewhere," said Maurer, 56, himself a former librarian.

After a quick call to a fellow entrepreneur who provided the shelves, the library was launched over a weekend with about 1,000 random titles ranging from biographies from ancient Greece to modern sports encyclopedias.

"We had a debate during the World Cup the other day on who had actually won the first one and we found two books that had the answer ... so the debate was decided," Maurer said.   Continued...