Things to do

Mamey Librería Book Cafe in Santo Domingo

Mamey Librería, Santo Domingo

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Every cafe has its own charm. If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for someplace different that's going to make the perfect cup of coffee and lend just the right setting for your mood. In Santo Domingo, book cafe Mamey Librería is one of my favorite spots.

 

On Calle Mercedes, opposite the historic Our Lady of Las Mercedes Church, you’ll find a wrought-iron-decorated doorway set into a blue archway. The unassuming entrance to the cafe blends into the facade of the building - as if the owners are saying that too much attention isn’t what they want.

 

There’s no commercial bustle here, no conspicuous rattle of coins and cups, and no waiting in line for your macchiato. The smell of coffee wafts through the air, blending with the fragrance of teak and freshly-printed paper.

 

As well as traditional espresso coffees, iced tea and top-notch desserts, the cafe serves up specialty coffees made using a chemex or cold filter drip - is there any better way to drink coffee on a hot Caribbean day?

Mamey Librería bookshop, Santo Domingo

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Before you order, though, take a moment to wander the extensive historic building - through the library room, bookshop, art gallery and lush Spanish courtyard - so you know exactly where you want to sit. You’ll see other patrons scattered around reading, browsing the gorgeous bookshop and art gallery or playing backgammon.

 

Part of the historic Zona Colonial, the building is an exhibit in itself, partially retrofitted to create a modern cafe and partially left traditional, maintained in timeless colonial-era elegance. The Spanish courtyard is surrounded by colonial walls, thronged with greenery in the form of hanging vines and pot plants, complete with wrought iron seating, a romantic well centrepiece and a bubbling fountain.

 

As one of the few independent booksellers in Santo Domingo, Mamey cultivates a loyal following of coffee-lovers and bookworms as well as aspiring writers and artists - and some successful ones, too. The space hosts book signings occasionally, and even has its own cinema. The bookstore reading room carries the current work of Dominican and other Latin American authors. There are classics as well. Browse through biographies, short stories, poetry, novels and photography books.

 

The art gallery is spacious with gorgeous filtered natural light. The gallery is dedicated to local artists and Mamey staff displays the works with great care. You’ll see fixed and temporary exhibitions of graphic art forms, photography, paintings and ink drawings. Collections are curated to reflect the island’s mixed culture. Speak to management for prices.

Need to know

Mamey Librería has free wifi and is LGBTQIA+ friendly.

Mamey Librería art gallery, Santo Domingo

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Getting there

Mamey Libreria and Cafe bookstore and art gallery is located on 315 Calle Mercedes in the colonial zone of Santo Domingo. It’s an easy walk from anywhere in the Colonial Zone, if you download the Google Maps app onto your cell phone.

 

Mamey Librería opens at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays and at 10:00 AM on Saturdays and Sundays. They stay open until midnight on all days, except on Mondays and Tuesdays, when Mamey is closed.


Written by G. Abdullah.

 

Published August 2020



Find Mamey Librería

External Links

Dominican culture and customs: know before you go

If it's your first time visiting the Dominican Republic, a little knowledge about Dominican culture and customs will boost your confidence to go out, meet the locals, find your way, order off the menu, and browse and haggle.

Fruit seller in Constanza

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Looking for more things to do in Santo Domingo?