When Changing Hands Bookstore opened its Phoenix location in May of 2014, it brought with it a new spot to relax, grab a pint, and gather with fellow book lovers. Since then, First Draft Book Bar has expanded its offerings to include more than 40 craft beers, 20 wines, local mead, and a full range of coffee drinks and food.
In March of 2020, Changing Hands Bookstore and First Draft Book Bar temporarily closed to the public for the first time. Through incredible local support, both Changing Hands and First Draft withstood the COVID-19 pandemic, finding creative ways to serve the community even as our doors remained closed. Changing Hands would later reopen for socially-distanced shopping, and First Draft reopened for dine-in in the late summer.
First Draft Book Bar continues to serve the community with curbside pickup, take-out, and dine-in! Check out our homepage for current hours of operation. Although our in-person events remain on pause, we have partnered with Phoenix College and The Virginia G. Piper Center at ASU for our monthly writing workshop series, Write Here Write Now. USA Today Books Editor Barbara VanDenburgh also continues to host our popular First Draft Book Club (virtually) every month.
Van-Lam is the bar manager and natural wine lover. When not behind the bar she is eating some tasty food with her chef husband and listening to k-pop or watching anime or Korean dramas. If you need a fantasy or romance novel recommendation ask Van-Lam! She also hosts a romance/fantasy book club, Bangin' Bookclub.
Cameron is our assistant manager and beer buyer. When they aren't slinging craft beer and coffee behind the bar, they can be found writing on their typewriters, cooking delicious vegan meals, or giving their cat lots of love. They also host a podcast, Pod Part Deux, with their wife where they brainstorm fake movie sequels.
Kelsey is our head baker here at First Draft. She's a vintage enthusiast/Disney Adult/Star Wars fanatic who WILL talk your ear off about Rebels, so be prepared. When she's not up to her elbows in flour, you can find her tracking down new food adventures with her daughter and eating both their weights in dumplings.
Call Nicole a dreamer. If she's not dreaming about a croissant, the next book she's gonna read, or Adam Driver, then she's either recording her podcast (The Film Crawl) or writing her blog (MediaCrush on Substack). You can always talk to her about what anime you're watching, any new Korean recipes you've found, or a funny meme. After work
Call Nicole a dreamer. If she's not dreaming about a croissant, the next book she's gonna read, or Adam Driver, then she's either recording her podcast (The Film Crawl) or writing her blog (MediaCrush on Substack). You can always talk to her about what anime you're watching, any new Korean recipes you've found, or a funny meme. After working at First Draft for 2 years, she's found the joy in awkward moments, so feel free to break the ice by asking about her cool Tsunade tattoo. I heard she's really great at making matcha too...
When not at work Ryan may be found hiking and spending time with his wife Kalyn. Ryan also enjoys spending his time reading about and exploring topics ranging from literature, poetry, painting, and sculpture, to matters of the human condition, to his deep love of Dungeons and Dragons, board games, and drinking delicious beverages.
Karissa is a dreamer, a creative, who believes in the magic of all things beautiful and unique. She sings in the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, designs vibrantly-colored clothing for her tie-dye business, and supports local artists and venues in the Phoenix area. If not behind the bar, on a stage, or elbow deep in dye, she’s probably soaking up the refreshing mountain air somewhere up north.