Open for Business: Caffe Lena

Jerry Gretzinger & WNYT Staff
Created: July 10, 2020 07:34 PM

Saratoga's historic Caffe Lena, which was set to welcome back small, live audiences next week, has decided not to.

Executive Director Sarah Craig says with increasing foot traffic and outdoor dining in the city, and new cases of coronavirus popping up in the Capital Region, they felt it was in the best interest of their patrons and musicians to wait.

However, that doesn't mean their stage will be dark. Even without a live audience, they've got a way to stay open for business.

They never really talked about it much, but Caffe Lena has been live streaming its concerts for years. It's understandable, since their primary goal was to have a live audience.

Booking any performers was tough at first and finding artists on tour is still almost impossible. So they pulled out some archived shows with a different kind of live element.

Executive Director Sarah Craig says the decision to postpone the return of live audiences will not delay the live concerts they have planned. While it initially seemed unusual, performers have quickly adapted to the idea of playing to cameras in an empty house. Fans have made sure their online tip jar was not empty.

The live streams have been growing in popularity so much that Caffe Lena is stepping things up, working to provide better picture and sound quality.  There will always be some free content in addition to some style of pay-per-view. 

Craig says the history and the vibe is a big reason why it works.

Hear about another aspect of the business getting a big boost by watching the video of Jerry Gretzinger's story.

MORE INFORMATION: Caffe Lena website | Caffe Lena Facebook page | Caffe Lena YouTube page

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