The Bean Cafe and Sio’s host Smoked event downtown

Published 2:02 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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The Hook & Ladder held a decent size crowd on Sunday night as people came out to attend Smoked, a new event put on by both the Bean Café and Sio’s. Attendees were treated to a range of activities, including hand-rolled cigars, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a dinner, coffee and desert, as well as a musical performance by The Bay Kings Band.

Tiffany Lawrence, co-owner of the Bean, spoke with the Post-Searchlight about how she and her husband Lee came up with the idea for the event. “Lee and I went to Chicago to pick up a work van for him,” she explained, “and on our way back we stopped in Indianapolis. There was an issue with our hotel, and they re-booked us downtown.”

While in Indianapolis, the couple visited a local lounge. “I was not thrilled about going, but we went anyway, and it turned out to be just the best experience,” she said. “We walked into this basement, and they had leather seating arrangements everywhere. We sat down and I told the server, I was like, ‘I don’t really drink much, and I don’t smoke, but we’re here, I want to get the full experience.’” The lounge offered pairings of coffee and cigars, and later on, cigars and wine. “We had such a good time, before we knew it, it was 2:00 in the morning.”

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The trip inspired the couple to want to host something similar in Bainbridge. So the pair approached J.D. and Siobhan Poole at Sio’s for help making their idea a reality.

“She was saying it would just be a good addition to have the coffee and the bar part,” Siobhan recalled. “So Sio’s actually handled the hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail hour, and the bar.”

“They have a lot of knowledge in bourbon, and cigars, bourbon and coffee, it all goes together,” Tiffany said.

However, things soon expanded beyond a simple partnership between The Bean and Sio’s, growing to involve multiple downtown businesses. “Then it turned into, ‘How can we incorporate as many businesses downtown as possible?’ We really wanted to create like a downtown showcase, because downtown has grown so much in the last several years,” Tiffany said. Several downtown boutiques were approached about featuring in a runway-style show, while others businesses were about building centerpieces for tables, which would then be auctioned off.

The event saw a decent turn-out: “We ended up selling 65 of 100 tickets,” she stated, “and then with the staff, and volunteers, the band, we ended up serving about 80 plates.” According to Tiffany, people even came from out of state, from as far away as Atlanta and Miami.

“A lot of people I think were surprised that we pulled this off,” Tiffany said. “A handful of people said to me ‘We didn’t realize The Bean could do something like this.” The event was not meant to serve as a fundraiser: “That wasn’t the point. We just wanted to create an event and have fun, and then bring downtown businesses together.”

“We just appreciate everyone’s support,” Siobhan said. “Like I said, Tiffany came to me with the idea, we got our heads together and threw it together, and it came out just as good as we had hoped it would.”

Tiffany hopes to host Smoked again next year, albeit earlier, to avoid the hustle of the holiday season.