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Try This: Don’t miss the latest chapter of Thompson’s Bookstore

The newly-renovated downtown bar has an old fashioned, library-themed bar, underground speakeasy, light-filled event space, and luxurious cigar lounge.

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Photo of a library-themed bar with plush lounge furniture and a wall of alcohol bottles.

The old fashioned, library-themed bar is located in the former Hell’s Half Acre and has new finishes and details.

Photo by FTWtoday

Table of Contents

City Editor Kate here. I stopped by the newly renovated Thompson’s Bookstore for a sneak peek of the downtown bar — and y’all don’t want to miss this.

Falling back on the history of Hell’s Half Acre, the establishment that was once a bookstore and pharmacy is once again a place for books and medicine — except the reading material is a cocktail menu, and the medicine is top-shelf bourbon.

The fan-favorite bar at 900 Houston St. reopened at the end of July, expanding its cozy interiors to include an underground speakeasy, light-filled event space, and luxurious cigar lounge that hold 65-70 people each.

Photo of a sangria cocktail in held up in a lounge space

Stop by for Happy Hour Sunday-Friday and try one of the creations from the master mixologists.

Photo by FTWtoday

What we tried:

Each space has its own signature drinks. You can’t go wrong with a “100 Years of Solitude” (made with bourbon and a blow torch) from the bestseller menu or the summery, Sangria-like “The Blood of Flowers.”

Photo of dark speakeasy space with metallic accents.

The basement-level speakeasy serves gangster-inspired drinks in the low-light space.

Photo by FTWtoday

What not to miss:

The basement-level speakeasy is fully renovated with plush seating, glittering metallic accents, and drinks inspired by infamous gangsters like Al Capone. For access from the inside of the building, select the just right book on the main floor, and the bookshelf swings open like a secret passage. For exterior access, keep an eye out for the red light on the West 8th St. side of the building.

Photo of a white and gold Art Deco-style bar with windows on both sides.

The glittering second-floor event space is the perfect place for a party — plus, guests can stay next door at the new Sandman Hotel.

Photo by FTWtoday

Pro tip: Check out the second-level rentable room for events, and wow your guests with a charming Art Deco space.

Photo of a plus cigar lounge with leather and velvet furniture.

Settle in for a VIP experience with signature cigars and rare liquors in the top-floor lounge.

Photo by FTWtoday

What we’re still talking about:

The top-floor cigar lounge — once a brothel — offers Thompson’s signature hand-rolled cigars and whiskey + bourbon flights. Keep an eye out for an upcoming VIP card that grants you access to the bar’s selection of rare liquors.

Photo of an 1800s brick building

Come in through the corner entrance or take the 8th Street staircase down to the speakeasy — if the red light is on.

Photo by FTWtoday

How you can experience this:

Check Thompson’s social media accounts every Wednesday for the speakeasy’s secret password and sign up for the newsletter for specials and deals.

Pro tip: Parking downtown can be a hassle, so check out the FTWtoday parking guide before you head over.

Things to know if you go:

  • Experience: An evening at Thompson’s Bookstore
  • Price: No entry fee; drinks vary in price
  • Website:
  • Address: 900 Houston St.
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
  • Social: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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