770 Hart Street (Google Map)
A coffee shop that is also a used bookstore that is also a place where people hang out to talk about the merits of Democratic Socialism (I’m assuming) calls Hart Street between WIlson and Wyckoff its home. The affordable iced coffee is advertised in handwriting on a chalkboard up-and-to-the-left of the register and served in Mason jars. To my immediate left were not one but two copies of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King and a half dozen plays by Sophocles. With a quick glance around the room I spot at least three moleskine notebooks. All this to say, these are my people.
But the charm of Molasses Books—besides the fact that one time when I was here, everyone seemed very chill about a gas leak in the building—is that it is a used book store that itself feels like a used book, well-used and lovingly broken in. Everything here seems to have a slightly coffee-soaked, off-white quality to it.
One can only hope that the bathroom does not botch this charm, and upon entering I was pleasantly surprised to be pleasantly not surprised that it did not.
Pasted on the aqua green wall to the left is a checkerboard of cartoons (medium: Sharpie on paper) that bring forward themes of mystic and animalistic erotica. Paired with the doodles are cryptic messages like “They Breathe And Resist Touch”, “Walls Erect They Stay Put”, and “Harsh Voices Are Trapped”. Honestly, this bathroom would have been a perfect location for the first season of True Detective.
The other two-thirds of the bathroom walls are covered with what appear to be pages from a German book about biology, specific the study of cells. I only know this because I thought this was a photo of Jupiter but after using Google Translate found out it says, “Among the specific inflammations, tuberculosis is the most important.”
Maybe I am a bit of a masochist in the loo, but I enjoy a bathroom with a bit of an DILLIGAF? factor. And Molasses Books is clearly not wanting in this sense. The mirror is missing a corner on the bottom right, the paper towel dispenser is paper towel-less, and the lighting situation probably violates some kind of safety code.
However this bathroom is not cruel or unkind, it just doesn’t beg you to like it. Sure it gravitates towards the fatalistic, but that broken paper towel dispenser? There’s paper towels on a spool above it. And just look at this little hook. Love a little hook. Hang whatever you want to hang on that little hook.
Rubbie Duckie Rating:
To me, this is a near perfect bathroom. Not only does it feel storied like one of the books on Molasses’ shelves, but it elevates the entire Molasses Books experience. Congratulations Molasses Books, you just got the full five!
5 / 5 Rubber Duckies!