When Las Vegas’s first and only independent bookstore closed last September, I immediately felt the loss, even though I knew the closure was temporary. From the time The Writer’s Block first opened its doors in 2014, the shop was a literary oasis that attracted not only a dedicated local crowd but tourist bibliophiles from around the globe. It defied all kinds of odds, occupying as it did a nondescript little storefront surrounded by defunct old residential motels on East Fremont Street.
The surroundings became irrelevant the moment you stepped inside. Scott Seeley and Drew Cohen, The Writer’s Block’s founders and owners, had created a seductively inviting environment within which to peruse their skillfully curated selection of new books. Even though I live on the south side of town, I visited the store at least once a week to attend a reading, participate in a writing or reading group, or simply to shop. I enjoyed seeing the renaissance taking place downtown, but it was The Writer’s Block that drew me there.
And now, at last, it’s back! Aided by a partnership with local philanthropist Beverly Rogers, Scott and Drew have reopened The Writer’s Block inside The Lucy, a brand new mixed-use development at the corner of Sixth and Bonneville. The new store is about three times larger than the old one, and all the new space has been filled with books. While the old store was bursting at 7,000 volumes, the new one is easily accommodating around 20,000 in a variety of genres and categories. Codex, an adjoining events center with a stage, a baby grand piano, and a great sound system, provides space for readings, discussion groups, performances, and classes.
Remarkably but not surprisingly—given the talents of its two owners—the new Writer’s Block still has the intimate, whimsical, and inviting feel of the original. A spectacular hand-painted mural covers the wall facing the door. A large wrought-iron “bird cage” recreates another feature of the old shop: the “artificial bird sanctuary.” Artificial birds abound inside The Writer’s Block, along with one very real rabbit. And the inventory is not limited to books—an-ever-changing selection of art, cards, toys, and other creative and book-related merchandise make it a wonderful place to shop for gifts.
One thing I always longed for in the old store is a reality in the new one: coffee. An espresso bar offers all the usual caffeinated beverages along with a selection of pastries. Hmmm. I just might find myself driving downtown even more than once a week.
If you ever patronized the old Writer’s Block, you’ll be pleased with this new and improved version. If you never got around to visiting the original, just be prepared to enjoy a well-designed and well-stocked bookstore with a friendly personality and knowledgeable staff. Oh, and there’s plenty of parking.
The Writer’s Block Book Shop
519 S. 6th Street, Ste. 100
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Coffee Shop: Monday-Thursday, 8 am–5 pm; Friday–Saturday 8 am–7 pm; Sunday 9 am–5 pm
Book Shop: Monday-Saturday 10 am–7 pm; Sunday 10 am–5 pm.