By Kevin Monk
When you enter the Little Theatre Caf on a Friday night, one of the first things that you will notice is the caf?s unbelievably laid-back atmosphere.
Indeed, the caf?s Friday night performers, Bob Sneider and Tony Padaillia, have no stage and stand almost in front of the tables.
The place is well-lighted and has walls separately painted red, yellow and dark-purple, with several small, soothing abstract pieces of artwork.
The room itself is small, but never too crowded, with scattered tables and a center counter at which you can purchase food and drinks.
Here, you can choose from the typical assortment of coffee shop baked goods and caffeinated elixirs, or order a more hearty bite to eat ? wraps, pizza and even quiche.
Sitting down and observing people nearby, you won?t feel at all surprised to see everyone from the stereotypical doom-and-gloom poets to a drunken trucker and his buddy.
The caf is a perfect place for anybody to waste time, for any reason.
It seems like wasting time is the most popular reason for being at the Little Theatre Caf.
Located at the rear of the Little Theatre ? a popular movie theater that specializes in art films and other quality flicks ? the caf is a wonderful location to relax in before or after a movie.
Since the caf is located in downtown Rochester, it is also a great stop after a show at the Eastman Theater or any other downtown attraction.
Waitress Jennifer Bernaberi says she has lived in Rochester for a long time and knows why the Little Theatre Caf is so popular.
?If you?re looking for culture and people expressing themselves, then this is the area you want to be in,? she said.
Bernaberi stressed that the most popular attribute of the caf is its live musical performances, ?mostly jazzy, slow stuff,? she says.
Included among the caf?s performers are a few regulars, including Diane ? a quartet with singing, piano, drums and such ? and Bob Sneider, a jazz guitarist who plays every Friday night and is accompanied by a conga player.
Sneider is a jazz guitar instructor at UR and has recorded several albums in his musical career.
Freshman Jacob Waxman, a student of Sneider?s, comes to the caf Friday nights to watch his instructor and just hang out listening to the tunes.
Waxman often remarks on the quality of the playing, saying about Sneider, ?He?s so good. I?ve never seen anybody better than him.?
It is definitely worthwhile to take a trip down to the Little Theatre Caf, whether to see Sneider or just to stop in and chill.
The caf only asks its customers to spend $3.50 for food in order to help pay for the great live entertainment, which is undoubtedly a bargain.
The caf is located in the back of the Little Theatre, at 240 East Avenue.
The theater is less than three blocks away from Milestones and The Spot Coffee, two establishments which should be ignored if you are looking for the much quieter, relaxed, and cultured atmosphere that the Little Theatre Caf provides.