Escaramuza: A Charming Bookstore Café in Montevideo, Uruguay

A photograph of the interior of Escaramuza looking up toward the intricate stained glass skylight
Photos by Laura Hernandez

Nestled on a quiet street in the Cordón neighborhood of Montevideo, Uruguay, is Escaramuza, a combination bookstore, café, and cultural events center. With ornate tile floors, high ceilings, and a beautiful stained-glass canopy in the foyer, this bookstore has taken over a 1903 house in the most stunning and thoughtful way. 

A photograph of a book shelf next to a window
Photo by Laura Hernandez

The expansive front windows usher in picturesque views of rows upon rows of books. Once inside, you can peruse the first few rooms of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves before making your way further through the house to the café. You’ll pass a bakery nook with pastries and treats encased in artisanal glass domes where you can buy to take away if you don’t have time to sit. But if you’re looking to relax with a beverage or snack, there are plenty of seats inside or out. The backyard is breathtaking, with a vine-encrusted outer deck that sparkles with subtle lights at night.

I visited the bookstore, which offers book in both Spanish and English, a couple of times during my stay in Uruguay. I couldn’t get enough of the quaint and inviting atmosphere. I took the opportunity each time to sit down at a table and read while ordering a tasty morsel. Their café menu featured everything from small plates to delicious sandwiches to decadent desserts. The overall atmosphere was enthralling, with snippets of muted Spanish conversations mixing harmoniously with the sounds of drinks being prepared at the coffee bar. Whether you are planning on hunkering down with a book or meeting a friend, the café has space for everything. I witnessed both boisterous family gatherings as well as college students tucked away at tables in quieter corners studying.

A photograph of the bookstore window from outside
Photo by Laura Hernandez

Escaramuza offers in-person and online events with everything from writing workshops to reading clubs to children’s cartoon drawing classes to author talks. A full list of events can be found at 

A city no stranger to librerías, I counted dozens of used and new bookstores when meandering through Montevideo, and it’s clear that this country values literature and has a strong sense of community. I cherished the time I spent at Escaramuza, soaking up the chance to sit for hours with a book and a slice of cake. I know if I ever find myself in Uruguay again, this bookstore is the first place I’ll go.

Laura Hernandez lives and writes in Brooklyn. Working in the book-publishing industry has only made her book-hoarding tendencies worse. When she’s not reading, she’s gallivanting around the globe, eating tacos, or exploring New York City.