Little Beans Café is a coffee-and-play oasis in Chicago
Monday, January 31, 2011
Parenthood and coffee go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, good coffee shops and small children often do not. But the newly opened Little Beans Café, straddling Lincoln Park and Bucktown, serves up Intelligentsia coffee with a great play space, finally giving parents a well-brewed cup of Joe in a place that welcomes little Joey.
Little Beans is, in fact, a play paradise for kids. For a $12 admission charge, kids can go from the main café into a spacious playroom, where their imaginations (and their legs) can run wild.
Small children can use the imaginative play structures and costumes to pretend they're fire-fighters, mechanics, or grocers. They can play a baby, baby-grand in the miniature house or deliver mail addressed to Mom. An array of scooters, trikes and miniature cars will keep their legs pumping. And, when they're ready for a rest, they can check out the well-stocked book nook.
While the shoeless play space appeals most directly to preschoolers, it also holds appeal for babies and older kids. The owners wisely created a babies-only area at one end of the large space. My ten year-old went in the opposite direction to find a semi-private room with a foosball table and flat screen. He even talked one of the outgoing employees into a card game. Customers of all ages are welcome to use the rooms if they are not rented out to a private group or hosting a Little Beans class.
Little Beans is a terrific spot to meet up with friends. Beyond good coffee, the café offers breakfast and lunch options, again appealing to both adults and kids. You and a girlfriend can enjoy a fresh panini, while at the next table your kids nibble on grilled cheese. Coffee is allowed in the play space, but for a real treat you can pay extra to have one of the capable employees watch your child.
So put on your best pair of socks and indulge your caffeine craving. Your kids will think it's all about them.