FAQ

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What is Caffè Lena like?

Caffè Lena seats eighty in a relaxed, intimate, alcohol and smoke-free setting. Our atmosphere is casual and very neighborly. Expect to share a table with other visitors. During the concert we maintain a no-talking, attentive atmosphere in which the performer receives the audience’s undivided attention. It’s this rare combination of informality and deep respect for the music that makes Caffè Lena unique.

How do I make reservations?

See the Purchase Tickets page.

Do I have to have a reservation?

It’s always recommended because our room is small and many shows sell out.

When should I make a reservation?

As soon as you find out about the concert, even months in advance. Advance tickets are sold until two hours before showtime. The remaining tickets will be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis for an extra $2.

To find out if a show has sold out you can call our office voicemail at 518-583-0022. We announce sold out shows in the outgoing message. If the message does not say the show is sold out, there will be tickets available when doors open a 1/2 hour before showtime.

Why are there two prices for tickets?

We list advance ticket price first, and the buy-at-the-door price second. When you visit our ticket sales page you will also find discounted prices available for members and for children. Members make an annual donation to Caffè Lena, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. To become eligible for the member price, please visit our Membership page.

Where is Caffè Lena and how do I get there?

See our Directions page. We’re located on the second floor and are not currently handicapped accessible.

When are you open?

Caffè Lena is open Wednesday through Sunday for a wide variety of performances (see our performance schedule for complete listings). We are not open to the public during the day, although the office staff can often be reached on Tuesday through Thursday from 9 to 5. Call 518-583-0022 or e-mail sarah@caffelena.org. We also sometimes offer weekend matinee and Monday/Tuesday evening theater productions in our Black Box Theater. Doors open 30 min. before the show. Please don’t come earlier as we are usually sound-checking, setting up tables, etc.

Are children allowed?

Yes, but they must be able to remain quiet and seated throughout the performance. Most shows are fine for all ages. If you have questions about the suitability of a particular show, please contact the staff by phone or write to sarah@caffelena.org. Tickets to all concerts are half price for children 13 and under.  Our Student Rush allows students with ID to buy tickets at showtime for $5.

What kind of food do you serve?

Refreshments include our own signature blend of organic coffee, teas, specialty iced drinks and homestyle desserts baked on the premises. We also offer light fare for dinner, including hummus with warm pita bread, and a variety of grilled panini sandwiches. All of our food is vegetarian. All of our drinks can be made with soy milk. Food orders are taken before the show and during intermission only, so please arrive early if you’d like to order before the concert starts.

Can we bring a bottle of wine?

Sorry, but no. Seven Horse Pub right next door has a full bar. You’re welcome to step out for a drink during intermission, but you can’t drink any alcohol here.

Can you recommend any hotels or restaurants?

Saratoga Springs has an abundance of hotels and restaurants. Our local Chamber of Commerce offers a comprehensive directory for visitors . If you are coming in late July or during August, be aware that the horseracing track will be open and you will need to plan well in advance to secure in-town accommodations.

Our favorite neighborhood restaurants are: Four Seasons – a unique vegan buffet combined with a natural foods store located one block west of Caffe Lena at 33 Phila Street. For information call 518-584-4670.

Ravenous – offering European street fare including sweet and savory crepes and belgian french fries. 1.5 blocks west of Caffe Lena at 21 Phila Street.

Sushi Thai Garden – Award-winning Japanese and Thai cuisine right across the street from Caffe Lena. Surprisingly inexpensive. Call 518-580-0900 for reservations.

Hattie’s – A Saratoga landmark located downstairs from Caffe Lena. Hattie’s has offered Southern and Louisiana-style cooking since 1938. Call 518-584-4790 for reservations.

Our favorite place to stay overnight is: For casual accommodations we recommend the Saratoga Downtowner, located at 413 Broadway, about 3 blocks from Caffè Lena. Call 518-584-6160 for information.

Is Caffè Lena really the longest-running coffeehouse in the country?

Yes! Lena and Bill Spencer first opened their doors in May, 1960. Neither one had ever done anything like this before, but they figured Saratoga Springs was a good place to open a cafe and make enough money to travel and pursue their individual interests. Bill was a sculptor and Lena was an actress.

In the ensuing years, Lena created a legend. Our remarkable roster of artists includes Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean, Nanci Griffith, Dave Van Ronk, Odetta, Rev. Gary Davis, Utah Phillips, Ani DiFranco, G.Love, and hundreds upon hundreds of others. For a more complete history of Caffè Lena, please visit our special history website at www.caffelenahistory.org.

How can I support Caffè Lena?

Thanks for asking! Visit our Membership & Donation page. Check back soon!

Are there discounts for students and seniors?

We do not offer a discount to seniors, but we do have a Student Rush policy for all shows. Seats are available to students for $5 starting at showtime for all shows. You must present a valid student ID to receive this discount, or be high school age or younger.