For the last several months, Caffe Lena has hosted a series of concerts in celebration of its 50 years of continuous operation in the second-floor converted loft on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs. The gala fundraiser on Friday, May 21 – a concert featuring Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur – was the kick-off of the big anniversary weekend and yet another breakthrough for the Caffe in both a musical and, well, a fun, sense.
Being both an historic venue and a dry venue, the Caffe often has an earnest and respectful atmosphere: quiet conversation, coffee and tea, healthy snacks, maybe a “sinful” chocolate chip cookie.
In contrast, the Friday fundraiser was launched with an abundant reception in the adjacent theater. There was fine wine, boutique beer and plentiful finger food and designer pizza from local fine dining establishments. The tables in the Caffé were covered with crisp white linen tablecloths. Smartly dressed people were setting up and serving. About 45 minutes into it, the Caffe took on the mood and volume of a wedding reception – this was FUN! A local theater critic had red wine spilled on his white sport jacket – and he DIDN’T CARE! What’s going on here?