Community News


Originally published in the Winter 2022 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 67, printed February 3. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Winter 2022 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

By Ana Edwards

On Saturday, Feb. 5, The Book Bar, a new Black-owned, woman-owned bookstore, will open in Richmond’s Shockoe Slip at 1311 E. Main St.

Book Bar owner Krystle Dandridge is a New Jersey-born, Henrico-based therapist and lover of fantasy books. She’d always dreamed of owning a bookstore, but it took the pandemic shutdown to give her the time to figure out that she longed for “a bookstore that centered authors that look like me and characters I could relate to.”

The Book Bar speciaizes in BIPOC authors and subjects and features a subscription book club, comfy seating, an outlet for local vendors and a selection of wines for tasting and takehome.

Launched as an online shop in 2021, Dandridge already has a following. Her vision for the space is “to see culture, feel culture, and experience community” the minute you walk in.

According to the African American Literature Book Club, which maintains an up-to-date online database, there are only five other Black-owned bookstores in Virginia: in Alexandria, Martinsville, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. The last Black-owned bookstore in Richmond, One Force Books, closed in the early 2000s.

You can visit The Book Bar’s website here, and their profile on here.

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