Two Sisters Bar and Books – a place for couples and not books

A look at the Two Sisters Bar & Books in Hayes Valley.
A look at the Two Sisters Bar & Books in Hayes Valley.

Soft jazz, low lighting, yellow wallpaper with Japanese families dressed in kimonos, and the amount of couples are the first things that one notices when they enter Two Sisters Bar and Books.

The self-proclaimed reading bar is tucked away in Hayes Valley and was opened in 2011 by sisters Mikha and Mary Diaz with the aspiration to create a relaxed atmosphere where reading and conversing over a cocktail or a cup of coffee was the norm.

I visited Two Sisters on a Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the place was filled with couples, age group ranging from late twenties to early thirties.

With the proximity to fit three-fourths of a Muni bus, all seven of the small circle tables big enough to sit three lined up against a wall were occupied by the classic “boy-girl” scenario. A built-in table on the parallel wall was long enough to fit twelve seats and was filled with more people on dates. The table rested on top of a bookshelf whose books were untouched and hidden behind peoples dangling feet.

The bar, settled in the heart of room and able to seat six, was almost full with only two extra stools available.

Two bartenders were on staff, a man in his late twenties, casually dressed in a green T-shirt and black jeans, with blonde, scruffy hair and a five o’ clock shadow, and woman, also in her late twenties, with shoulder-length jet-black hair, full lips painted with red lipstick, a black T-shirt, and fitted blue jeans.

Both of them had a standoff-ish attitude, only talking to people when taking drink orders.

The drink menu consisted of gin, whiskey, and bitters. I ordered the house special, “The Two Sisters,” made with rye, Punt es Mes, and bitters. The flavor was smoky with a tinge of sweet, and smooth, but not worth $10. All of the drinks on the menu ranged from $10 to $13. Besides cocktails, the bar also had a selection of local beers on tap and a selection of wine.

After ordering my drink, I walked over to a bench big enough for two, near the entrance of the room, framed by pulled back maroon, velvet curtains. A mound of books surrounded the perimeter of the bench. The genre of books ranged from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” to “Anna Karenina.”

Yet with a plethora of books readily available to be cracked open and devoured, no one in the room was reading. People were more interested in their conversations with their partner.

The bar was set up for intimacy, with dim lighting, small tables, big enough to seat two, with lit candles in the center, and soft jazz playing in the background.

Dates were taking place all over the bar, and I was the only single and alone person in the room, but at least I had my cocktail and Harry Potter to keep me company.

After noticing all of the “googley eyes” and seeds of love beginning to sprout all over the room, I realized that The Two Sisters, while trying to be a place of literary adventure, is, in reality, a place for lovers.

If you are looking for a quiet, cozy place to sit down, sip on a drink, and dive into a Stephen Chbosky or Sylvia Plath, this probably is not the place for you. You will most likely be distracted from the cheesy pick-up lines, high pitched giggles, and the spotlight of being the only single person in the proximity.