So, if you love books, live in LA AND HAVE NOT BEEN HERE YET, that’s problematic. From the seemingly 60s and 70s throwback staff to its architecture to the antiquated bag check as you pass over its threshold, The Last Bookstore is something you’ll think was built on sacred land where time stood still. The floor boards are barely intact in some places, the upper and lower levels both feature special “vault” collections (the building was formerly a bank and looks every bit the part as well even beyond the vaults due to its cathedral ceilings and semi-obscured columns), and crank windows line its more industrial upstairs collections. Eclectic and book-informed art is overtly displayed (think: things with tusks) as well as hidden in nooks in crannies (odd little prints and things with Edison bulbs). Magnifying glasses serve as mobiles, a mannequin works double-time as a sort of bizarre ad-post for the store and greeter for the stairs leading to the second floor. Actual books have been crafted into various Harry Potter-esque sculptures around the store including a tunnel and a (now) famed portrait (perhaps, “selfie” these days) arch.
If you’re looking for kids books, comic books, books on art… or anything in between – and I do mean anything (check out the dollar section upstairs for the true definition of “anything”) – I can’t imagine they would not have it. You can also sell books with them or sit for a spell (maybe several) in oversized and well-worn leather chairs scattered across the store.
The vaults are an interesting place to spend some time, especially the upstairs one as it is home to countless Stephen King titles (a personal favorite) and horror, in general. The vault doors are particularly compelling as far as shaping the character of the store.
For those art-inclined, there are several artists spaces upstairs, and they are so funky that they deserve their own time to peruse and appreciate. The artists chosen for the space are all, to me, consistent with the funky uniqueness of the overall store.
The next time you’re in DTLA, spend some time off Spring Street among the rows and rows of every genre you never knew you could love… at The Last Bookstore.