Infinity Hall is transforming the "ice box of Connecticut" into the state's hottest little town. Concert-goers are flocking from as far as Maine to this intimate live music venue in Norfolk, a sleepy outpost in the western Connecticut hills that owes its frigid reputation to its 1,770-foot elevation: the highest in the state.
It's Like Seeing a Concert in Your Living Room
Of course, Infinity Hall is infinitely better than my living room. The acoustics are brilliant: a combination of the vaulted hall's design, a state-of-the-art Meyer sound system and Infinity's adept sound crew. Poco opened with an unplugged set but really rocked once they picked up electric guitars, and the balance and volume were perfect throughout.
The ambiance, too, creates a distinctly warm and cozy mood. Inside and out, this architecturally intriguing Victorian opera house, built in 1883, has been thoughtfully and beautifully restored. Stained and polished wood paneling and balustrades gleam, wagon wheel chandeliers bathe the hall in golden light, stained glass windows add a hint of color, and the 125-year-old original proscenium stage sets a stylish backdrop for performances that run the entertainment gamut: Jazz, blues, folk, classical, rock, comedy and children's artists have all been booked since the venue's debut. A schedule of upcoming shows is available at the Infinity Hall Web site.
The Downside of Intimacy
Orchestra-level seating is so tight that the lack of legroom is uncomfortable for me--at 5'4" tall. Although the very front row has a bit more space, I wouldn't recommend sitting closer than the fourth row unless gazing up into your favorite artist's nostrils is on your bucket list. We incorrectly surmised from viewing the online seating chart, which is displayed during the ticket ordering process, that seats on the far right and left sides of the venue are on an aisle: They are actually right up against the venue's exterior walls. It's impossible to get out of one's seat for a visit to the bar or the bathroom without asking everyone else in your row to vacate their seats and move to the aisle. A place for the claustrophobic, this is not.
At intermission and pre- and post-concert, areas such as the first-floor hallway and the standing-room-only area in the back of the music hall are so crowded, movement is difficult, and I watched one poor cocktail server spill her tray as she tried to navigate the mob.
Navigating Infinity Hall
More Infinity Hall Tips:
- Seats 9 and 10 at Table BB on the mezzanine (balcony), are the best seats in the house.
- Although parking is free, the lot fills up quickly on sold-out show nights, so arrive at least a half-hour before concert time: even earlier if you want to avoid a long walk. The parking lot entrance is on Route 44 just east of Infinity Hall.
- Infinity's own bistro and outdoor patio opened in May 2009, and the restaurant's menu is available to mezzanine patrons. Mizza's Pizza, an unassuming little Italian place with no bar but terrific bruschetta, is right next door. The neighboring Wood Creek Bar and Grill is also a convenient choice for a pre- or post-show bite, but we weren't impressed with the food or service when we visited.
- Need tickets for a sold-out Infinity Hall show? The best place to check for after market tickets is the local Craigslist.
- Don't forget to bundle up! It may be jumping inside Infinity Hall, but the hotter the music, the colder it will feel when you step outside on a crisp Norfolk night.
Infinity and Beyond
Perks: Infinity Stars receive a $25 gift card, free cap, advance sales and more for a $75 annual fee.
Food & Drink: Each of Infinity's three floors has a bar serving coffee, tea, cocktails, specialty drinks and a decent selection of beer and wine by the glass. Food is served on the mezzanine, snacks on the second floor.
Directions: Infinity Hall is located on Route 44 in the center of Norfolk in northwestern Connecticut. It's an hour's drive west of Hartford, an hour and a half from Albany and two and a half hours from New York City. The Infinity Hall Web site has directions and a map to help you find your way.
Hotels: Need to stay overnight? Here's a round-up of hotels and inns near Infinity Music Hall.
More Things To Do in Northwestern Connecticut: Consider extending your stay in the Norfolk area and visiting one of these local attractions:
- Yale Summer School of Music - Located across the street from Infinity Hall, Yale's Music School offers a series of classical concerts during the Chamber Music Festival each summer.
- Gilson Cafe~Cinema - Located just 10 miles east of Norfolk in Winsted, Connecticut, this unique entertainment venue is a cross between a second-run movie theater and a restaurant.
- Litchfield - The historic town of Litchfield, Connecticut, located a half-hour south of Norfolk, is a wonderful destination for sightseeing, shopping, dining, leaf peeping, wine tasting and exploring the great outdoors.