A Cafe Party and a Custom-Made Beer: The Little Turns 90

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A Cafe Party and a Custom-Made Beer: The Little Turns 90

The Little Theatre (240 East Avenue) is celebrating a marquee birthday with a blockbuster brew. The historic art house theater will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a party in The Little Café; 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. The celebration will include cake, music, and The House of Silent Shadows Prohibition Porter, a special commemorative beer made by Rohrbach Brewing Company.

This is the first event in a year-long celebration of The Little’s 90th anniversary.

About the beer: When people think of The Little, they think of our popcorn. It’s perfectly salty, made with real butter, and automatically improves the movie-going experience (this is a scientifically proven fact). For a partner beer, we wanted something that could pair nicely with our signature snack. For that, we turned to our second most popular concession stand item: the Nanaimo bar.

Named after a city in Canada (Nanaimo, British Columbia), this dessert bar is chocolatey with a strong punch of coconut and nutty awesomeness (note: Rochester's Julep Bakeshop makes the Nanaimo bars served at The Little). The beer will essentially be a boozy Nanaimo bar (for those who haven’t tried this sweet snack, an Almond Joy is a comparable dessert). Rorhbach is the perfect partner to bring this magical elixir to life. They’re longtime supporters of The Little, and it just makes sense to have Rochester’s first craft brewery team up with the city’s most iconic art house theater.

The House of Silent Shadows Prohibition Porter will be available exclusively at The Little Café and both Rohrbach locations (97 Railroad Street and 3859 Buffalo Road).

About the name: The Little opened October 17, 1929 with a screening of the silent film, “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Due to its devotion to silent films, The Little was known by the mysterious moniker, The House of Silent Shadows (Note: The name was actually the House of Shadow Silence on the theater’s first program, but later changed to The House of Silent Shadows, which is clearly much cooler).

A name that sparks dark intrigue and a quiet cool is perfect not just for an iconic house of cinema, but also for a beer. When the name “House of Silent Shadows” was first brought up during our initial brainstorming meeting with Rohrbach, the energy in the room changed – creativity and curiosity took over. We immediately knew this would be the name of our collaboration. Aside from the nice alliteration, the prohibition porter part of the name is also a nod to The Little’s origin. Not only did the theater open during prohibition, it opened just days before the stock market crash of 1929. Obviously not ideal timing, but it’s a testament to The Little’s past owners/management, along with the Rochester film community, that we’re still going strong after 90 years.

#Little90: The Little will celebrate its 90th birthday with concerts, special screenings, and other events throughout the year. In other words, more announcements are coming shortly.

Theater 1 update: The current phase of The Little’s historic theater 1 restoration project is ongoing. The theater is scheduled to reopen fall 2019. I’ll pass along the details when there is a concrete reopening date.