share TWEET PIN IT share share 0
Analog Attorney

The Best Fountain Pen Store in Your Town

If you live in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New York, London, or Paris ...

By Bull Garlington

The best fountain pen store is whatever one you’re standing in. Stationery freaks don’t have to be in a Mont Blanc shop to get our fountain on. We’ll stand in a Staples, patiently rooting through their collection, and think seriously about picking up a $7 Pilot Varsity and a fistful of neon-colored Post-it notes. But that’s not what this article is about. I don’t want you to shop at a big-box retail chain. This is Analog Attorney. We’re top drawer over here. We’re bespoke.

This is about destination stores in five of our biggest markets. They’d be star-spangled if Michelin paid an ounce of attention to office supplies. It is certainly not an exhaustive list (I didn’t say a word about St. Louis Art Supply, Quill and Nib, or the other pen stores in smaller cities), but it’s top-tier.

best fountain pen store

Best Fountain Pen Store in Los Angeles: Flax Pen to Paper

Los Angeles has plenty of pen stores, and to say Flax Pen to Paper is the best one is to engage in some fine-line arbitrary cherry-picking. Is the best pen store in LA actually Hightide Store DTLA? Or Kinokuniya? Maybe you’re a Shorthand fan, a devotee of Topdrawer or a freak about the physical Mont Blanc shop in Beverly Hills.

I’m choosing Flax Pen to Paper partly for their joyous, nerdish, all-out appeal to fountain pen freaks. This fanatical and slick devotion to quality writing instruments is exhibited by Flax’s promotion of their employees — whose portraits are right there on the front page. The staff know their stylographs. Also, they’re funny. There’s a staff member named Jeremy and another one named Other Jeremy giving solid advice on their favorite pens. If the store’s giving their staff this kind of front-page, above-the-fold love, those staffers are amazing.

Unless It’s Pleasure of Writing in Carmel-by-the-Sea

I recently had a long conversation with a luxury pen manufacturer who claims the best pen store in Los Angeles is Pleasure of Writing, which is five hours north in a little hamlet called “pen heaven” by enthusiasts, and oh my fractured nib is it great.

First, I know this article is about fountain pen stores, and Pleasure of Writing is definitely one of them, but look at the stationery. I’d never heard of Pineider, a luxury stationer from Italy. Now, I want to get a third job so I can afford to buy a box of their incredibly lush notecards. I would write beautiful things on this paper using one of the many, many, many fountain pens from the store, including my Chase pen, the one I want more than any other, my holy grail, the Namiki Emperor Urushi painstakingly fashioned by Kokkokai artisans over several months from pure lacquer the color of my grandma’s date-night nail polish. The pen is gargantuan with a size 50 nib and it holds almost a whole bottle of ink. I am in love.

Source: Namiki

Best Fountain Pen Store in London: Choosing Keeping

Choosing Keeping is a mood. The store is right in the middle of London, where shopkeeping is an art form. Choosing Keeping is relentlessly particular about what they sell and who they get it from. Their sources tend to have storied histories of traditional production (like their kimono-inspired papers) or are developed after extensive on-site visits to factories and studios. Choosing Keeping puts effort into their pen collection. They carry well-known brands, everyday pens, chase pens, and expensive gift pens — all the expected brands. However, they also commission art pens, like the stoneware dip pens by acclaimed Welsh potter Steve Harrison. They carry a line of Ohnishi Seisakusho acetate pens, with barrels turned by hand in the workshop of the master pen maker Keizou Onishi.

Source: Choosing Keeping

Unless It’s Really Pointe Plume, in Paris

For true luxury pens, many Londoners take the tunnel into Paris to visit Pointe Plume. Four generations of the Ridel family have worked hard through rigorous selection and a commitment to being the best pen store in the world to become, well, the best pen store in the world. Aficionados, designers and celebrities from all over Europe make the trek to stand blinking and open-mouthed at the staggering scope of the luxurious selection. And when I say luxurious, I mean James-Bond-level, you-can’t-afford-this-unless-you’re-Taylor-Swift luxurious. Just check out their brands page and gaze in wonder at the sheer number of fountain pen manufacturers you’ve never even heard of. My favorite is the wildly over-the-top-fountain-pen-on-drugs piece by Montegrappa. A tribute to Dante Alegheri, author of Dante’s Inferno, the pen features the nine rings of hell with a pocket clip of Satan’s barbed tail sculpted in silver. It’s completely insane — only $3,800 (plus shipping).

Pointe Plume, in Paris
Source: Pointe Plume

Best Fountain Pen Store in New York City: Fountain Pen Hospital

Back in 1946, when Fountain Pen Hospital opened, fountain pens weren’t just an expensive hobby. They were a vital tool of business, and if yours broke, you took it in to get it fixed. In the years since, the store has blossomed into the self-proclaimed “Taj Mahal” of fountain pen stores, with more than 35 brands from all over the world. This is a destination store of the first order.

Because the Fountain Pen Hospital has been repairing pens for 78 years, they’ve developed quite a collection of vintage pens and rarities. You’ll want to visit the back room, where they display one-of-a-kind pens from 1980 forward. Pen freaks run the risk of draining their life savings to pick up limited-edition collectibles like Pelikan’s Calculation of Time with phases of the moon inscribed on the cap and a medieval zodiac on the barrel. Perhaps you’d rather pick up an ASC Bologna Medio Blue la Royale Celluloid Fountain Pen, made with original Omas celluloid for the 2022 Canadian pen show in a limited run of 23. Maybe get them all.

Fountain Pen Hospital
Source: Fountain Pen Hospital

Unless It’s Yoseka Stationery

Daisy and Neil started Yoseka in 2017 to introduce Americans to the myriad wonders of stationery from Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Their shop is dedicated to all the specific-use products that make people obsess over Asian stationery — like test-taking pencils, dustless erasers, brass index clips, ink collection cards and look, I’m just going to stop now because I’m getting faint.

My favorite entirely unnecessary thing I’m definitely going to buy is the 3-inch Japanese steel scissors from Tools to Liveby, which have the most retro-wonderful packaging.

best fountain pen store
Source: Tools to Live By

Best Fountain Pen Store in Texas: Dromgoole’s

I called this Houston store to clear something up, and the owner, Larry Dromgoole, picked up the phone. We talked about pens for a few minutes, but he was less interested in giving me a pithy quote than he was in introducing me to some of his pen makers. Not pen sellers. Pen makers. He gave me David Oscarson’s number, and I called this legendary pen maker … who picked up the phone and chatted like I was an old friend.

Dromgoole’s is a beautiful stationery shop, but their pen collections are what stands out. I would point to such remarkable pieces as David Oscarson’s Magna Carta, made to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of the rule of law. Oscarson calls it his “lawyer” pen with the very tiniest little bit of side-eye at all other “lawyer pens,” which are inevitably adorned with a gavel or scales of justice. Not Oscarson, which sports the historic Article 39 on the barrel in Latin. Or the luridly hilarious yet weirdly luxurious Frankenstein Pen, which comes strapped to a gurney in a laboratory with a plasma ball and Tesla coils. (It’s only nine grand. Get two.)

Dromgoole’s fountain pen store
Source: Dromgoole’s

Unless It’s Fountain Pen Revolution

Fountain Pen Revolution grew out of Kevin Thiemann’s obsession with fountain pens — specifically Indian fountain pens. Thiemann fell in love with the high quality and low cost of Indian pens and began working on his own designs. His philosophy was the exact opposite of most makers. Look at the pens I’ve mentioned so far: They’re incredibly expensive. Luxurious, one-of-a-kind, bejeweled writing instruments define the industry.

However, pens are ultimately for writing, and Thiemann saw an opportunity to serve a segment of the market that was finding affordable entry elusive. His company uses manufacturers in India, Japan and Taiwan to create his designs for pens that won’t set you back. FPR pens clock in between $9 and $20. I called Thiemann at his store in Plano to ask what holy grail pen one might find in the FPR collection.

“We’re the opposite of a holy grail. I don’t need to spend $800 on a pen with a diamond in the cap and a dragon on it. Those are the pens you hand down to your grandchildren. I sell affordable pens that write. What’s our holy grail pen? I hate the concept. I shun the idea.”

(Full disclosure, I had just purchased one of their Gurus with a flex nib for $15 a week before.)

Best Fountain Pen Store in Chicago: Atlas Stationers

Again, I visited this store in the Loop and was awestruck by the breadth of their selection. So many pens. So much paper. SO MUCH INK. They let me try out the Namiki Emperor Urushi (mentioned above) and urged me to test inks at the long table in the middle of the store. That table was loaded with people, as was the store itself, in the middle of a rainy Saturday. That says a lot about stationery culture in Chicago and about this store in particular. It says a lot about Atlas, too.

In August, they’ll be hosting their annual sidewalk sale, which will include nib grinders, pen makers and, if you’re lucky, David Oscarson in the flesh.

What Makes a Top-Tier Stationer?

What separates the stationers listed in this article from mere office supply stores is not just their collections of fountain pens. It’s about the people who make the store work, from the staff to the ink and pen and journaling clubs that meet there. Atlas, Dromgoole’s, Choosing Keeping — they aren’t just stationers. They’re meeting places, rallying points for people who want to take it just a little bit slower, a little bit more real.

For a primer on choosing a fountain pen, start here: “Fountain Pen Obsession Starter Kit” and “5 Best Fountain Pens Under $40.”

Don’t miss out on our daily practice management tips. Subscribe to Attorney at Work’s free newsletter here >

share TWEET PIN IT share share
BULL Garlington Bull Garlington

Analog Attorney columnist Bull Garlington is an award-winning author, columnist and public speaker. He is the author of the books “Fat in Paris,” “The Full English,” “Death by Children” and “The Beat Cop’s Guide.” He prefers South American literature, classic jazz, Partagas 1945s, a decent Laphroaig, and makes a mean chicken and andouille gumbo. Follow him @bull_garlington.

More Posts By This Author
MUST READ Articles for Law Firms Click to expand

Welcome to Attorney at Work!

Sign up for our free newsletter.


All fields are required. By signing up, you are opting in to Attorney at Work's free practice tips newsletter and occasional emails with news and offers. By using this service, you indicate that you agree to our Terms and Conditions and have read and understand our Privacy Policy.