Merry Christmas.  I dropped off for a while.  Chances are I spent the holidays with the five people who read this blog, so no one’s too disappointed, right?  We’re buried under 20+ inches of snow here in Columbia County, and it couldn’t be more peaceful or idyllic.

We’re heading out of town today for a mini New Year’s vacay in Portland, Maine.  If we stayed in town, there’s no doubt we’d be at Club Helsinki for the Lauren Ambrose and the Leisure Class show tonight.

Our first visit to Helsinki Hudson was a benefit concert that Elvis Perkins and Tracy Bonham did for the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary a few months ago.  It was our third Elvis show, but our first solo Elvis show.  He did not disappoint.  Neither did the venue.

The original Helsinki opened in Great Barrington in 1995.  It was the love child of the son of Borscht belt camp owners and the granddaughter of the gentleman who ran a certain Hotel Helsinki in Finland.  The venue was elegantly intimate and thus ideal for hearing legendary artists such as Levon Helm, Norah Jones, and Leo Kottke perform.

The Great Barrington venue closed last year, and reopened just a few months ago in this spectacular 1800’s industrial building in Hudson.  It’s a huge space, and features a full restaurant/bar and separate bar/lounge/performance area, but still has that intimate feeling, as though it’s been around forever.

Our second visit was just a few weeks ago for Hudson’s Winter Walk.  It was a freezing night, and our wait for a table at Swoon was over an hour, just enough time to settle into the bar at Helsinki for a martini (me) and whiskey (Anuj).  I think it was their first proper night serving dinner.  The waiters scurried around with panic-stricken faces, but the crowd (it was packed) was relaxed and forgiving, no doubt happy to have this new addition to the community.

An interview with owner Deborah McDowell and video tour of the space can be found here.

Images Club Helsinki.