On Saturday evening, just before JoJo took the Forsyth Park stage at Savannah Pride, I wandered in the drizzle to The Sentient Bean for Christ, Lord. The Atlanta-based band with a gypsyish sound played a couple great sets that included two covers from Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.
I wrote about The Sentient Bean when it opened almost exactly 11 years ago, years before it expanded into the neighboring space, and I’ve been there hundreds of times since then. My trips have been fewer in recent years because of so much work at Armstrong, but the Bean remains one of my key third places.
I had a great bbq tofu wrap at the Bean as the band was starting — the coffeeshop just might be Savannah’s best vegetarian restaurant, though it has never marketed itself in that way. And I eventually had a cup of coffee during the second set, but I rarely drink coffee at that hour. During many events at the Bean, I’ve wandered around the corner to the lounge at the American Legion — the Bean’s landlord — for a drink over there before heading back to the teetotaling venue.
Well, there have been some obstacles — including an incorrect zoning map — that the Bean has had to overcome, but the quiet little venue that regularly serves up quirky indie bands and singer-songwriters now also serves beer and wine.
The coffeeshop’s owners have no plans to change the basic business model, but I suspect they’ll see a little spike in sales. Patrons for the evening programs — including the Psychotronic Film Society movies in addition to regular live music — now have another option. Customers are more likely to spend money (many simply ordered nothing at evening events), more likely to order food to accompany their choice of beverage, and — most importantly for the city’s music scene — more likely to show up in the first place.
According to the Bean’s Facebook page, they’re offering just 3 beers and 3 wines, which is plenty. Of course, the Bean being the Bean, there are options for those looking for gluten-free and organic products:
Samuel Smithâ€™s Organic Lager
A full-bodied lager with lots of malty character; a touch hoppier than many lagers yet perfectly balanced. Brewed using lightly kilned organic lager malt from barley grown in the UK, organic hops, yeast and water.
Nimbus Pale Ale
Northwestern style pale ale, â€œhoppedâ€ four times during the brewing process, balanced with malt sweetness from five varieties of fine pale malts. Brewed in a small micro brewery in Tuscon, Arizona.
Jackâ€™s Hard Cider (Gluten free)
One of the freshest, most crisp Hard Apple Ciders you will ever taste. The apples are grown, pressed, fermented, and packaged from our facility located in one of the apple capitals of the world, Biglerville, Pennsylvania.
Espelt Red â€“ 2009
Medium bodied, 100% garnacha variety from the Emporda region of southeastern Spain. Black fruits in the nose, with a rounded mouth and soft finish. Made using sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices. (Comparable to a Merlot)
La Paradou Viognier â€“ 2011
This aromatic, 100% Viognier is harvested by hand from sustainable, high altitude vinyards in the Vin de Pays dâ€™Oc (Rome Valley) region. This white is exotic and lush, while the beautiful acidity keeps it fresh and clean. (Comparable to a Riesling)
Saint-Roch VV Blanc â€“ 2010
The smoky characteristics of this grenache blanc/marsanne blend combine with an ample juciness allied to peachy and melony richness, with the bitterness of peach kernel. Organically produced by Chateau Saint-Roch in Cotes du Roussilon, Franceâ€™s sunniest region. (Comparable to a Chardonnay)
Click the pic to find The Sentient Bean on Facebook: