Inside Austin’s newest book shop, Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar

The East Austin bookstore offers a cozy environment + book and wine pairings.

Taylor Jenkins Reid's newest book on a table in front of the background of Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar

Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar will stock new releases across a variety of genres.

Photo by ATXtoday

Table of Contents

For as long as she can remember, Jean Buckner has wanted to open up a bookstore.

As she grew up, she watched big box retailers put indie bookstores out of business one by one. Then, she watched many of those big box retailers shutter their doors as well.

But Jean couldn’t shake the thought: What if she opened a bookstore anyway? And what if she added … wine?

After years of work (and a couple decades of dreaming), Jean’s shop, Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar, is officially opening this Sat., Oct. 15. A labor of love for the former advertising professional, the East Austin spot is a cozy + colorful home for wine lovers and readers alike, nestled in a 140-year-old building Jean has dubbed “Austin’s living room.”

Here’s what to expect from the new bookstore + wine bar.

Jean Buckner sitting in a yellow chair, under a painting at her bookstore, vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar,.

Jean Buckner has dreamed of opening a bookstore since she was a child.

Photo by ATXtoday

A historic setting

Jean was still working in advertising when she realized what she really wanted to be doing was connecting with people.

“I really liked my career a lot … but it just got to the point where I realized for the rest of my life, I don’t want to be in a corporate environment,” she said. “It was really important to me to be able to engage with our community and to be involved with our local neighbors.”

She’d been sitting on the idea for Vintage for years — she just needed the space to carry it out. That space turned out to be the Haehnel building, at 1101 E. 11th St. The stately, stone-lined building is has had a long legacy in the community for 100+ years, formerly housing a grocery store, saloon, bar, and office building.

“The building is well loved. It’s well lived in, it’s seen a lot of life,” Jean said. “That’s kind of the inspiration for the branding and the furniture.”

Jean took on the task of transforming the building into a bookstore (with a little help from her husband and mom, a writer and book-lover herself), carrying out the interior designing, planning, staging, and weed-pulling on her own.

The space is furnished with pieces from Facebook marketplace, estate sales, and the Austin Antique Mall. In effort to keep Vintage as local as possible, she has partnered with an Austin-area antique furniture dealer to offer some pieces in the store for sale, and decorated the walls with works by Austin artists, also for sale.

“It meant a lot to me, to be able to contribute something that’s quirky and local back to the Austin scene,” Jean said.

A close-up of the staff recommendation card at the bookstore, which also features a suggested wine pairing.

Staff recommendations at Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar also come with suggested wine pairings.

Photo by ATXtoday

Find your next read

Vintage isn’t your run-of-the-mill big box bookstore: it’s designed to wander in.

Jean points out Austin already has a great book shopping resource in BookPeople, and that readers looking for something specific like a cookbook, travel book, or “how to” book have plenty of places to do so. As such, Vintage will primarily stock new releases across several genres, such as fantasy, contemporary fiction, and graphic novels.

“We really want to facilitate the browsing experience,” Jean said. “We’re hoping to create an environment for the people who want to see what their new favorite author has just released, or something else that might be in the vein of wanting to relax and read for entertainment.”

A reader of fantasy, mystery, and romance, Jean also set up spaces in her store for book clubs, who can reserve rooms in advance to host their regular meetings.

She’s also starting a combination Vintage book club and loyalty program, which includes 15% off bites and beverages at the store, plus access to a monthly members-only book club party with wine tastings. The books club starts in November, with the first book announcement at the end of this month.

The central space of Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar, featuring several soft couches, rugs, and a floral patterned wallpaper.

Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar is furnished with pieces from antiques dealers, Facebook marketplace, and estate sales.

Photo by ATXtoday

Pairing books and wine

Another thing Jean is passionate about? Texas wine — and giving it the recognition it deserves.

“I think there’s this stigma about Texas wine that it’s not as high quality as it actually is,” she said. “But Texas has come so incredibly far, and the Texas wines that have been produced — not even just in our state but 30, 45 minutes outside of Austin — have become extremely well known and very celebrated.”

Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar will always have Texas wines on the menu, Jean said, and feature information about and deals on one local winery each month. October’s featured wine brand is Skeleton Key, from Hye-based William Chris Vineyards.

In case you’ve ever wondered what book goes best with a merlot, in addition to a diverse, approachable wine menu, Vintage’s bookshelves are also stacked with staff recommendations for book + wine pairings.

A closeup of a typewriter that says "Check out these local authors"

Find books, art, and wine from locals at Vintage Books and Wine Bar.

Photo by ATXtoday

Attend the grand opening

Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar officially opens this Saturday at 11 a.m. Expect live music starting at noon and a raffle with wines, signed Franklin Barbecue cookbooks, BOXT wine subscriptions, and Lovecraft gifts up for grabs.

Starting this weekend, the store will resume regular hours of 11 a.m-10 p.m. from Tues.-Sun., with late hours to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Noting her history of reading in bars, dog parks, and anywhere else she can find a seat, Jean said she’s excited to open a space that will be approachable and comfortable for Austin readers.

“If you go to a bar and you read a book by yourself, sometimes you might think, ‘oh people think this is weird’ … there’s just so many reasons that people can be self-conscious,” she said. “You can be as comfortable here as you want in your own living room. It’s welcoming to everybody, no matter who you are.”

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