Muse Lounge is located in the basement of Symphony Mall, Salmiya; next to Trapped Inn Escape Room.
I’ve passed this place several times wondering what it was. From a distance it doesn’t look like a bookshop. The place is decently sized although oddly enough not many bookshelves are there. The place has a coffee shop in one section offering refreshment, hot drinks and cake. One corner of the room has a slightly elevated surface functioning like a stage with an electric piano. Another section has a gallery of art pieces.
According to the staff, the bookshop functions as a cultural space. Anyone can sit down, enjoy their coffee while browsing their books. The gallery section is intended to display and promote the work of young Kuwaiti artists while the stage section is used for bookshop events such as poetry reading, live classic music and lectures.
I hardly found any English books but there were a lot of translated works which is nice. The philosophy section is the biggest along with translated novels and poetry, followed by sociology, religion, and historical studies. Their best selling section is the philosophy and history.
When asked what makes their bookshop unique in comparison to other local bookshops, they told me it’s their quiet reading space, which I have to agree with. Symphony Mall is considerably less crowded than many of the other shopping centers. I imagine particularly in the morning it’s a good spot to sit reading or even working undisturbed.
The other thing they related that makes them unique is the free cultural events. The bookshop has around 6 reading clubs meeting on a weekly basis, in addition to the bookshop’s own reading group. On weekends, cultural and artistic events take place which seems to be attracting people.
I asked them if they could expand their shop, what would they include and the answer was- a movie projection space.
The bookshop staff shared that there’s a lot of competition in the book industry for a small country like Kuwait. Interestingly enough there are a lot of customers but not as much sales.
Overall it was an interesting visit. I can’t speak for the quality of cultural events but the one thing that did stand out to me was the spacious seating area. It was a tad bit cluttered for my taste with a bit of everything in the way but I imagine if you’re looking for a quiet space to work, this might be a good spot.
***Update: The bookshop has closed down.
Disclaimer: My Bookstore Tour Series are part of my personal blog and reflect my personal opinions. I am not affiliated with any of the bookshops I visit, nor am I getting paid to review them.