If you were wandering the streets of downtown Kitchener, you may overlook this cafe. Nestled in between a bicycle shop and a fitness centre, you wouldn’t expect much of the little venue.
Little Bean opened about 3 years ago and made a name for itself as a funky cafe with great art and great food. They have a full menu of vegetarian and vegan options, while offering an awesome late-nite menu. They also change up their craft beers on tap, so it’s always a good stop when hungry or thirsty. The walls of the shop are lined with local artwork, usually for sale, and any open spaces are covered with posters for upcoming shows.
The place itself, although small from outside has a capacity of 100. Not bad for a coffee shop. It’s also a great open concept with a very central stage. Any spot in the joint boasts a great view of the band. I’ve seen a number of acoustic and singer-songwriter sessions here and this smaller venue has great sound and atmosphere for both the solo and the full band performance. The staff help keep the place a friendly setting and are always really talkative. They walk around the venue, chat up the musicians and most importantly, they give you service. You never have to wait long for a beer, unless of course they’ve run out of the brand you’ve been drinking- which happens. Beers cost anywhere from $5-$8 and food is all about $7-$10. I definitely recommend bringing cash though, since they only have one debit/credit machine, although they are happy to run tabs for the night too.
Little Bean is an exceptionally clean venue. Being a coffee shop/eatery by day, they have great standards to uphold and they do it. The washrooms are no exception and you get to follow a trail of fuckin awesome art work to the toilets. They also have a few bistro tables out front that are kept tidy if you’d like to enjoy your food, while listening to music, before returning inside.
They don’t have a PA person on staff, although most small acts have gotten used to travelling doing their own sound. Everything I’ve ever heard here sounds great, though it would depend entirely on who is running the mixer that night. You’ve been warned.
I love that Little Bean is an “all-on-one-level” kind of place. My body ages years ahead of my actual age so I hate trekking up and down stairs. This place is easy for anyone of any age and physical ailment to enjoy. It’s also super accessible by car, transit, or walking, located centrally at 417 King St West, Downtown Kitchener. There’s a full lot for customers behind the shop with free parking and many of the surrounding lots are free at night as well. If coming by bus, Grand River Transit Route 7 will take you right to the shop.
I love coming down here for live music, events and popping in for a sandwich and tea. Check it out and do the same.
*From a promoters stand-point, Little Bean has issues with booking and will sometimes take months to respond to emails. They have been known to double-book events.