Upon joining as a co-owner of Bird in Hand in 2017, Emma Snyder said she saw the then-new business “was a really terrific model of merging a bookstore with a truly social space.”
Two years later, Snyder has fresh plans to capitalize on its social-literary potential. She recently applied for a license to serve beer, wine and liquor, a move she says can help make Bird in Hand “a more active space in the evenings,” particularly with longer hours and more events.
She also has a handful alterations planned for the space, including adding more seating inside to address what she calls “a lovely problem of it being very popular and crowded” throughout the week.
And outside, she’s eyeing a beautification plan for the patio, including enclosures and creating “more of a green space and making it feel like more of an extension of the interior.” That would also include more dedicated seating and, during the hotter months, some overhead protection for customers from the sun.
“I think there’s always been a lot more potential for the patio,” Snyder says.
Bird in Hand opened in 2016, a collaboration between then-Ivy Bookshop owners Ed and Ann Berlin and local culinary stalwart Spike Gjerde’s Artifact Coffee. Customers can order sandwiches, pastries and other snacks at the front, and peruse from shelves of books for sale and read or work in the adjacent space.
Snyder, who took over the 18-year-old Ivy Bookshop from the Berlins, said there may also be some menu changes in order, but declined to offer details just yet.
She did note the chance to serve booze—with an emphasis on beer and wine and some local spirits, “not a full bar by any stretch of the imagination”—can facilitate some new gatherings.
As an example, she teased plans for a supper club series starting in late spring. “You come in the evening and get a drink, and then there’s a communal meal with conversation with the author,” followed by coffee and pastries afterward, she said. “Just kind of a dinner experience where the culture is at the heart.”
Snyder has already been adding regular new events to Bird in Hand’s calendar. Recent additions include a monthly book club with WYPR-FM’s “Weekly Reader” (co-hosted by Baltimore Fishbowl columnist and author Marion Winik) and a series planned with BmoreArt, as well as the recent re-launch of a speaker series in partnership with Hopkins’ Alexander Grass Humanities Institute.
But she plans to keep ramping things up. “We see so many new opportunities and are excited to explore them,” she said.
Liquor board secretary Kimberly Kerns said Bird in Hand’s license application is on file and that Snyder has posted the required advertisement, though it likely won’t receive a hearing until April.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Snyder is the “sole proprietor” of Bird in Hand, when she actually co-owns the business with Spike Gjerde and Corey Polyoka. We regret the error.
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