CB2 Bistro is larger than it first appears, consisting of four dining areas (two upstairs, two down), an outdoor patio area, and a small basement room where gigs and events are held regularly. It is a place with a lively, community feel to it. Various clubs, including writing groups for aspiring authors, meet regularly in the upstairs room, where hundreds of book line the walls. Improvised comedy events are often held downstairs, and works by local artists are displayed all around the cafe. Artists can contact CB2 Bistro and ask to have their work displayed, advertised on the menus, and offered for sale (with CB2 taking a small commission - see the website for more details).
CB2 is also highly regarded for the intimate, often entirely acoustic, gigs held in the basement, mostly organised by Acoustic Routes. I have found it to be a great place for both watching and performing live music, although it can get a bit hot and stuffy (the basement is small with no windows) the crowd is always attentive and the atmosphere friendly and informal. For any musicians out there, I would recommend that you get down to one of the great open mic events run by Cambridge Acoustic Nights, which are normally so popular you have to book a slot in advance by email or phone.
Rodney Branigan playing a gig in the Basement room
Oh, and of course, I should probably mention that it's a bistro, so it does food and coffee and breakfast and delicious sweet Italian snacks and that kind of thing. I've eaten and drank here quite a few times and it's always been good, with a menu that includes Italian classics like Penne Pomodoro and Home Made Lasagne alongside Meze Platter and Duck with Plum Sauce. There are a lot of vegetarian options, and although not vegetarian myself I particularly enjoyed the Spinach and Smoked Cheese Spanakopti. No, I didn't know what it was either.
So, to summarise, all you musical, arty, coffee-drinking and food-eating types, make your way to CB2 Bistro, where you can feast on, and contribute to, a creative haven on the edge of Cambridge city centre. You might see me there: I'll probably be in the basement blaring out a couple of songs, or sitting upstairs on my laptop, writing a review for Weekend Notes.