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 Calendar or by calling our toll free ticket line at 1-800-838-3006. You can stop by the office by appointment during the week to pay by cash or check, or mail a check at least one week ahead to our PO Box (note the show name and date on your check).
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?
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 & in the outgoing message, 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.
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, students and 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 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 every evening except Tuesdays for a wide variety of performances (see our performance schedule for complete listings). You can drop by from Noon to 1 PM Monday through Friday for our Captain Fun Lunchtime Listening Hour. We are not otherwise open to the public during the day, although the office staff can be reached from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. Call 518-583-0022 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, made possible by a Lend-A-Hand Grant from the Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund and Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation, 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 during our ticketed concerts (Thursday through Sunday). We do not permit alcohol during open mic programs, mid-week emerging artist events, or during family-oriented concerts.
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 casual accommodations in the heart of downtown we recommend the Saratoga Downtowner, located at 413 Broadway, about 3 blocks from Caffè Lena.
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 Donation page or learn about Volunteering.
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.