FAQs

What is Caffè Lena like?
Caffè Lena seats 110 in a relaxed, intimate 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 stand out among other entertainment options.
How do I make reservations?

You can purchase tickets for shows through our online schedule or by calling our toll free ticket line 24/7 at 1-800-838-3006. You can stop in to buy by cash or check when we’re open in the evenings, or mail a check at least one week ahead (note the show name and date on your check) to Caffe Lena, PO Box 245, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

What is "concertwindow"? How do I watch online?

While our first choice is to have you here in person, we are delighted to provide access to our shows from anywhere in the world at ConcertWindow.com/CaffeLena. Look for the ConcertWindow logo on our Schedule page to find the shows you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch! You can pay per event, or subscribe to ConcertWindow for $7 / month and watch unlimited content from venues across the country. You are encouraged to engage in the live chat while you watch, and use the “tip” button to support the performer and our non-profit venue. Tips are shared equally between ConcertWindow, Caffe Lena, and the performer.

When should I make a reservation?

Make you reservation as soon as you find out about the concert, even weeks 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. We announce sold out shows on our website & at Brown Paper Tickets (1-800-838-3006), so check ahead to avoid disappointment. If the show is not marked Sold Out, there will be some tickets available when doors open a 1/2 hour before showtime.

Where is Caffè Lena and how do I get there?

See our Directions page. We’re located on the second floor and will be fully handicapped accessible as of MAY 20, 2017 when our elevator will be ready for use. Until that date, access requires the ability to climb a flight of stairs.

When are you open?

Caffè Lena is open most evenings for a wide variety of performances, jams, open mics and more (see our performance schedule for complete listings). We are not generally open to the public during the day, but the office staff can be reach most afternoons at 518-583-0022 (we’ll return your call within 24 hours) or e-mail sales@caffelena.org

Are children allowed?

Yes, but they must be able to remain quiet and seated throughout the performance. Most shows are appropriate for all ages. If you have questions about the suitability of a particular show, please contact the staff by phone or write to sales@caffelena.org.

Advance tickets to all concerts are half price for students and children.  Our Student Rush Program allows students with ID to buy remaining tickets at showtime for $5. Our Stewarts Little Folks Series offers free matinees for children and their families.

What kind of food & drink do you serve?

Please see our menu. Refreshments include our own signature blend of organic coffee, teas, specialty iced drinks, wine, regional craft beer and hard cider, homestyle desserts baked on the premises, and savory fare appropriate for a light dinner or sharing. We regularly offer gluten-free and vegan options. Food and drink orders are taken before the show and during intermission only, so please arrive early if you’d like to order before the concert starts. Late-arrivals will have to wait until intermission for service so as to preserve the listening experience for everyone.

Can we bring a bottle of wine?

Sorry, but no. We serve wine, beer and hard cider at most performances. If you’re looking for alcohol-free events, please join us for Monday Open Mic, 3rd Tuesday Rochmon Record Club, and Little Folks matinees.

We are proud to support people in recovery by offering Saratoga’s only alcohol-free weekly Open Mic. Listeners, groups, as well as performers of all ages and styles are welcome.

Can you recommend any hotels or restaurants?

For nearly two centuries Saratoga Springs has been a popular year ’round tourist destination. We have 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 our world-famous horse racing track will be open and you will need to plan well in advance to secure in-town accommodations.

Our favorite places to stay overnight:

For a fabulous Victorian Saratoga experience try the Union Gables and mention Caffè Lena to get their corporate discount rate.

Anne’s Washington Inn is a quiet, historic and homey setting just a mile from the venue on the edge of the Spa State Park.

Our favorite neighborhood restaurants are:

Sushi Thai Garden – Japanese and Thai cuisine right across the street from Caffè Lena. Many options for vegan and gluten-free diners. Call 518-580-0900 for reservations.

Hattie’s – A Saratoga landmark located on the first floor of our building. Hattie’s has offered Southern and Louisiana-style cooking since 1938. Call 518-584-4790 for reservations.

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 to Europe and pursue their art. Bill was a sculptor and Lena was an actress.
Bill quit in 1962, but in the ensuing years Lena created a legend. Her remarkable roster of artists included Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean, Nanci Griffith, Dave Van Ronk, Odetta, Rev. Gary Davis, Utah Phillips, David Bromberg, John Hartford, Bucky Pizzarelli, Joe Venuti, and hundreds upon hundreds of others. For a more complete history of Caffè Lena, please visit our history website at www.caffelenahistory.org. You can fid un-retouched archival photos and early recordings at www.history.caffelena.org.

How can I support Caffè Lena?

Thanks for asking! Visit our Support page to learn about ways you can help Caffe Lena carry on its mission. 

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 full-time students for $5 starting at show time for all shows. You must present a valid student ID to receive this discount, or be high school age or younger.