Anyone who wonders if folk has legs long enough for a comeback needs to check out the Fox and Bean, a coffeehouse, tearoom and bistro.
It's hard to imagine that a folk singer doing "Wonderful World," a song popularized by Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, would fill a local night spot in the late '90s. But the '60s are alive, well and hopped up on caffeine in Anaheim Hills.
This comely new establishment offers live entertainment Tuesdays through Sundays, generally local folk, blues and jazz talent, but also more eclectic fare--steel drums, for instance. Whenever the music stops, the most distinctive sound you hear is milk squeaking under the metal hose of a steamer, headed for the top of a cappuccino.
Less noisy are the snazzy little filter pots--gold-topped, with glass beakers and a plastic plungers--turning out coffee that is hot and terrific.
Singer Vic Miller is a featured performer on Saturday nights. Seat yourself at a polished lacquer table in front of the stage and listen as he breaks into a bluesy riff or a '70s hit such as Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle." Between sets, take in the crowd.
Don't come to the Fox and Bean looking for Costa Mesa grunge or to eavesdrop on the New Age gobbledygook you might overhear in a Laguna Beach nightspot. Things here are a bit staid by comparison.
One recent night, a studious-looking pair in a far corner was devouring a chess position, while a fortysomething threesome discussed their accountants, decorators and the merits of Fran Drescher's voice in "The Beautician and the Beast." Two tables away, a group of people played a card game called 10-Up.
The Fox and Bean is quite handsomely decorated. There are lots of stained-glass panes, a gift boutique well stocked with kittenish tchotchkes and an enormous coffee roaster by the front door, in which a good variety of house coffees are roasted on the premises daily by roast master and owner Leo J. Rothove. (Try the earthy, intense dark roast.)
Adjacent to this coffee room is a just-opened tearoom, where you can drink your tea from porcelain cups out of cozy covered pots. The Darjeeling tea is served loose with a strainer, and is especially pungent.
For refuge even from this laid-back scene, repair to the patio, where there are generally at least a few people engaged in quiet conversation, away from the music.
Apparently you can have too much Harry Chapin.
The Fox and Bean, 8182 Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim Hills. (714) 921-4880. Entertainment 8-10 p.m. Tue.-Thur., 8-11 p.m. Fri., 1-3 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. Sat. and Sun. No cover charge.