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Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,482 ratings  ·  669 reviews
A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Quirk Books
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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Start your review of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

“The best way to keep a secret is to make sure no one knows you're keeping one.”

Last call at the Nightshade Lounge is a debut, ownvoices story, staring an Asian main character, who is forced to move back to her hometown after graduating college, and is in search for work, with or without her degree’s help. Her high school friend offers her a job as a bar hand, but she soon discovers an underground network comprised of magical cocktails made by bartenders who also keep the streets of
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Unfortunately, my high hopes for this book were not met, possibly a case of “wrong book, wrong time” or I’m simply not the right audience for this kind of urban fantasy (which I think is probably more likely).

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is billed as a “new adult” paranormal UF about a secret society of monster-hunting bartenders who gain super powers by imbibing their magical cocktails. The story stars Bailey Chen,
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Never trust any complicated cocktail that remains perfectly clear until the last ingredient goes in, and then immediately clouds."

----Terry Pratchett

Paul Krueger, an American author, pens an incredibly exciting and gripping young adult fantasy tale in his new book, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge that unfolds the story of a young female college graduate goes back to her home city where she starts working as a bartender for her long time friend's bar, with little idea that the bartenders as
May 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
In reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, the first thing I noticed was the emphasis in the promotion to call this a "New Adult" Novel. Once I figured it was a targeting ploy and not a "new novel for adults", I endeavored to find out what it meant. Goodreads to the rescue. Their explanation: "New Adult fiction bridges the gap between Young Adult and Adult genres. It typically features protagonists between the ages of 18 and 30". So okay. In our status-focused and age-focused civilization, I ...more
Amy Risner

Read during March for the Dragons & Tea Book Club!

I LOVED the idea of demon-fighting bartenders, and I actually still enjoyed the premise very much! This book follows Bailey, a Chinese-American college graduate who just moved back home to live with her parents. She’s still searching for a job; her parents keep nudging her toward a career path, but Bailey ends up reconnecting with an old friend (and crush), Zane, who presents her an opportunity to work in his bar.

But Bailey soon learns tending a
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
"College grad Bailey Chen has all of the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend still around when she moves back home. But her demons become a lot more literal when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders."

I appreciate that the description for this novel doesn't pull any punches about how straight-up silly the premise is, and doesn't try to dress it up as something more complex than it is: this is a book abou
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Read the full review on my book blog, The Quiet Pond.

A wickedly fun story about modern-day monster hunters who gain magic powers from cocktails!

- Follows Bailey Chen, fresh out of college, not quite sure what to do with her degree and her life (oof), who picks up a bartendering gig through her best friend from high school. Little does she know, he is part of a secret society of bartenders who protect their Chicago city from monsters.
- This book absolutely has my type of humour - totally dry, de
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jeannette Nikolova
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

Well... here's for trying. I mean, Mr Krueger certainly tried to make this different and interesting. But I think it turned out just a bit too different.

First of all, I tried explaining this to several people and most laughed me off at "supernatural, demon-fighting bartenders". In an age when everything has been written, it is true that one needs an original idea, but the point is for it not to be so original that it is laughable. I gave it a chance,
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: debut
2.5 stars maybe? This was a very clever premise and I was really looking forward to this, but the execution was verrrrry predictable and meh.

I'm not usually one to eschew a romantic side story, but I wanted to set fire to the one in this book from the beginning and never changed my mind about it.

Also, I can't help but think that some of the stuff Bailey did to Zane would have been SO UNCOOL if their genders were reversed. People would be upset and rightfully so, but for some reason it's cool in
Bookworm Extraordinaire
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simply put, this book was FUN.

A little bit Harry Potter and a little bit Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Except it isn't vampires they are slaying, and the Slayers are bartenders that make magic cocktails that give them superpowers to slay demons.

I mean COME ON, who cannot love such a premise. The plot flowed nicely. It had some interesting World building. The characters were likable (if sometimes cliché). I also really enjoyed the between entries from the "Devil Water’s Dictionary" the fictional mix
Mar 13, 2019 added it
[Update: I read this novel prior to the allegations that came to light in June 2020 regarding this author’s harassment and gaslighting of POC in the industry, and want to make it clear that I do not support or condone that behavior. I’m rescinding my rating as well as my initial review that originally went up here on March 2019.]
Bookteafull (Danny)
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shit-list
Gunna file all of this under a spoiler and just copy and paste my feels from the Dragons & Tea Book Club discussion board. We read this in 5 days, when I should have just DNF'ed tbh.

(view spoiler)
Mixologists fighting demon hordes! What else do you need to know?
-Recipes for the various cocktails used in the book? The author provides those as well as amusing history behind the effectiveness and intended demon-fighting effect each provides.
-Main character graduating university and being super under-employed with all the associated angst, money worries, and parental pressure to get a ”real” job? Yup, Bailey Chen, her financial degree and her uber-focused approach to school and studying didn’
Rep: Chinese American mc,Black side character, blind gay side character, wlw side character, trans side character

CWs: animal death
Janet Newport
3.5 stars

This was a fun, fast paced read for me. What a mess a monster (a Tremen) can make. And a whole herd of monsters (a Delirium)?!?!? Well thank goodness for bartenders is all I can say. They saved Chicago.
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, fantasy
When Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge arrived at my house, it came accompanied by a mini bottle of vodka and an invitation to cocktail hour. I was intrigued and the book sounded really good. Paul Krueger’s debut novel was a lovely surprise and has turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year so far.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is the kind of urban fantasy I always forget I love, as my usual urban fantasy fare is more of the police procedural/crime variety. Last Call however dea
Stewart Tame
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bailey Chen is a young woman in her early twenties living in Chicago. She's living with her parents while job-hunting, and is working part-time helping her best friend from high school, Zane, tend bar at his father's tavern. One night, after being called away on an emergency, he leaves her to close on her own. She finds a cabinet of various liquors--vodka, tequila, and so on--from a distillery she doesn't recognize. Mixing herself a drink, she notices that it seems to glow strangely, but downs i ...more
J.A. Ironside
Buddy Read with Dragons and Tea Bookclub

This was a great concept but I found the execution a little shaky. It wasn't helped by the fact that I loathed the MC and the love interest and found the entire romantic subplot completely unnecessary. Really, it would have been better with stronger demon descriptions and better fight scenes IMO.

Bailey Chen has recently graduated from college. Her dreams of the perfect graduate job and a place of her own have not materialised into anything tangible. Force
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the third pick for the #dragonsandteabookclub

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is about a group of demon fighting bartenders who use cocktails to give them magical powers. Mixing the perfect Screwdriver will give whoever consumes the drink super human strength for example.

Bailey is new to this world, and a bartender in training, but she soon uncovers a plot to make the cocktail that will change everything.

I’m a sucker for magic and have been known to drink the odd cocktail or ten, so
Have you ever wondered why there are so many pubs and bars? I bet you never considered it's because the bartenders who work in them also have a side job fighting demons that prey on drunk people! Well that's exactly the premise of Paul Krueger's debut novel Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge and what a fun and quirky story it is.

Bailey has just finished college and is supposed to be looking for a serious, grown up job like her parents have always expected her to but she's kind of having fun work
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]

An original enough idea (powers granted through cocktails), although in the end the story didn't stray much into uncharted territory as far as “typical urban fantasy” goes.

Bailey, freshly graduated from Upenn, is struggling to find the career of her dreams. In the meantime, she's had to take a job as a barback at the Nightshade Lounge, where her old high school crush, Zane, is now working as well.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review and others posted over at my blog.

I received this book for free from Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.

Bailey Chen has graduated college and, like many typical graduates, has ended up moving back in with her parents, with no money and no job. An old friend, Zane, offers her a position as a bar back at his Uncle’s Chicago bar, Bailey jumps at the chance. When s
Fantasy Literature
Jul 26, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars from Marion, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

They live in Chicago. They’re young. They’re hip. They have tattoos. They can serve you any alcoholic drink you can name, and after last call, when the bars are closed, they go out for pancakes. And... they are part of a magical society, the Cupbearers Court, protecting innocent citizens, like you and me, from being attacked by demonic monsters. That’s the premise of Paul Krueger’s debut novel, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge.

"You're sober, which is synonymous with useless, so if you want to help, come back with something in your system."

This book review is going to be a little bit unconventional because I buddy-read this with a Goodreads group, the Dragons and Tea book club. As such, my thoughts are split into diary entries of my thoughts for the sections we read each day, instead of being just my overall thoughts on the book. (I will filter out any spoilers.) I kind of like this format of book review though bec
Liz Barnsley
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Urban Fantasy with booze. Yep I can get behind that. This was a fun frolic of a novel with an interesting hook in the whole drink to get the ability to fight demons thing - and I especially enjoyed the background of alcohol and cocktail recipe inserts that tied into the plot.

Overall a good read with a slightly different vibe although I think this would have worked better as a full on adult novel rather than sitting on the cusp of YA.
Bryony Nelson
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Such a fun read! Massively enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sara (Freadom Library)
This review was originally posted at

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I really liked this book which was kind of surprising for me. I feel like the premise is really new and interesting, I’ve never read anything like it before. It’s action packed, there was mystery, it was entertaining and I enjoyed it. I liked that the paranormal creatures described and involved were unique. There was some graphic descriptions but the ending was conclusive though slightly op
Starts out well. The drink bits are fun. However, descends into a typical fantasy urban cliché read.
Ola (The Reading Witch)
Mar 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
The premise was cool, the execution was terrible.
No plot, no explainations, terrible characters, terrible tropes (cheating/bad love triangle, girl on girl hate, insta-accepting everything...), it all feels so forced, incredibly corny, messy and it's also boring.
I'm sorry for being so negative but I just can't.

What was really good tho was the amount of diverse reps, but that's not enough to salvege this mess.
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Paul Krueger is a fantasy author and lapsed Chicagoan currently living in Los Angeles. His bartending-and-magic debut novel, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, was published by Quirk Books in June of 2016. His next, STEEL CROW SAGA, is forthcoming in fall of 2019 from Del Rey Books.

His non-writing hobbies include cooking, D&D, karaoke, and collecting comics. He's also a musician, fronting the Adv

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