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Niche Book Bar is opening a physical location in 2022

Niche Book Bar

When Cetonia Weston-Roy opened Niche Book Bar last year she said that the organization's goal was to bring all kinds of Black literature to Milwaukee. At the time, Weston-Roy was operating a mobile bookstore by bicycle and doing pop-ups in local parks.

However, with 2022 on the horizon Weston-Roy says she plans to open up a new physical location for Niche Book Bar. She explained that on top of primarily offering Black literature, the store will contain a cafe that will offer tea, wine, coffee, and baked goods.

When speaking about what she wants to accomplish with the physical space, as opposed to the mobile version of her store, Weston-Roy says she wants to cultivate a safe place for Milwaukeeans to come and diversify their literary interests.

“I want it to be a place you go to by yourself, with friends, with your family, with your kids, on a first date. Whatever it is, I want it to be an awesome community space," says Weston-Roy.

For Weston-Roy even the space itself fits the atmosphere she is trying to create as Niche Book Bar’s new home will be in a historic building on 1937-1939 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

“Whenever I thought of bookstores I always liked the sort of vintage look, that specific space is a historic building and it has a very vintage vibe to it and I think that’s what I wanted people to feel,” says Weston-Roy.

Beyond the atmosphere at Niche Book Bar, Weston-Roy wants to create a space that allowed books to be the propelling factor towards a more informed and inclusive future.

“I have always wanted Niche to be this sort of communal space where books are the focus, but there are a lot of other things you can add on to the experience,” says Weston-Roy.

As Weston-Roy prepares for a new future of Niche Book Bar, she hopes to build on the foundation she's already made.

“When I was doing park pop-ups, more so just reading books in the park, without saying anything just being able to have a little girl come up and say this girl looks like me or my cousin, it’s like yes, this was the point,” says Weston-Roy, “I don’t have to have it on the sign anywhere, you just feel it.”

Mallory Cheng was a Lake Effect producer from 2021 to 2023.
Beck Andrew Salgado was a producer with Lake Effect.
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