Celestial Bar at Castle Street Cafe

Third Places are the real-world locations where we find companionship and conversation

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “third place” in his 1989 bestseller The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. He’s a Berkshire editor, colleague, and friend, inspiring our work and making us aware, day by day, of the ways we connect in the real world.

Creating third places (that is, places that are not home and not work) is something that city planners think about, and even some inspired developers like Ron Sher of Seattle. Third-place projects are in the works all over the world, and there are third places everywhere that need to be recognized and supported and sometimes rekindled. We love the fact that visiting pubs and bookstores is part of our research! Here’s the story of Ron Sher’s combined bookstore and pub, which is one reason we remain a little regretful that our April’s Fools Day 2016 story about moving to Seattle was just a joke. Click here to read an interview with Robert Sindelar of Seattle’s Third Place Books, and visit our Third Places image collection.