Open Mic

Play your song on the Caffe’s famous stage at Open Mic Night! During the past three decades, Lena’s open mic has been recognized with “Best Of” awards from Metroland Magazine, The Alt Weekly, The Saratogian Reader’s Poll and Saratoga’s Fab Five. Just like at our weekend shows, all attention is focused on the stage.

Monday Open Mic

  • Every Monday. All ages, all styles. Originals encouraged but not required.
  • FREE – Please leave a $3 donation for our non-profit organization if you’re able to.
  • Sign-up is 7 PM to 7:25 PM / Show at 7:30 / 2 songs or 10 minutes / Sign up is first come first serve
  • You are welcome to use our Yamaha studio upright acoustic piano or acoustic Martin guitar. We can play your MP3 backing track through our sound system. You are welcome to bring amps and drums BUT set up and break down is part of your 10 minutes. 
  • Full table service (see menu). No alcohol. We serve pizza, nachos, veggie burgers, desserts baked on premises, soft drinks and coffees.
  • Play Nice! We foster a diverse community that has a great time making art and helping one another get better. Excessive profanity, explicit sexual themes, and “humor” that unkindly targets a specific group undermines this goal. It is up to the discretion of the host to enforce the house standards.

Poetry Open Mic

  • First Wednesday of the month. Admission is $5.
  •  Sign-up from 7 to 7:25. Readings start at 7:30.
  • Two short poems (less than one page) or one longer poem, with a limit of 5 minutes altogether.
  • A featured poet reads for 20 minutes. Featured poets are booked by host Carol Graser. Generally, our features are established, published poets and/or have made significant public contributions to the regional poetry scene.

Storytelling Open Mic

  • Fourth Tuesday of the month Admission is $5
  • Signup starts at 6:45 PM, tellings from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
  • We have one rule: no notes– just tell us your story from memory!
  • A featured storyteller performs for 30 minutes. 10 minute limit for everyone else.

Acoustic Blues Open Mic & Jam Hosted by Saratoga Acoustic Blues Society

  • Fourth Wednesday of every month, $5 cover.
  • Sign up 7 – 7:30 PM. A featured artist plays 7:30 to 8 PM. Open Mic at 8. Open Jam closes the night.
  • Bring your acoustic guitar, harps, slides, mandolin or acoustic bass (we provide the piano) and sign up for a slot to play solo, or have players in the room join you on stage.

Special Series

The Kevin & Claudia Bright New Music Series

Each month we debut exciting emerging artists who have recently embarked on professional touring careers. Many have trained at prestigious music schools such as The New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. This series is named in honor of Kevin and Claudia Bright, lead donors to the Campaign for Caffe Lena.

Stewart’s Little Folks Shows

Once each quarter we offer a free, kid-friendly matinee performance to children and their families. This series honors the generosity of Susan and Bill Dake, owners of Stewart’s Shops and major donors to the Campaign for Caffe Lena.

The Nordlys Global Voices Series

Each quarter we present original and traditional musicians from non-English- speaking nations to enrich our cultural and artistic understanding through the universal language of music. This series is made possible by the generous support of The Nordlys Foundation.

Captain Fun Lunchtime Listening Hour

Bring your lunch to Lena’s from noon to 1 PM on the final Friday of every month when we spin vinyl records selected from our 1,500+ album Al “Captain Fun” McKenney Listening Library. Al was an unparalleled self-taught music scholar and a familiar presence in the folk scene as a roadie, emcee, and fan. Upon his passing in 2015, Caffe Lena was honored to accept his vast archive of vinyl records, CDs and books about music. We make the collection available to all music lovers and eager learners with monthly lunch hour listening parties hosted by local music-lovers.

Pride night
Starting from day one, Caffe Lena has presented diverse voices on stage and created an inclusive atmosphere. Pride Night continues that tradition with a monthly series where LGBTQ people hear their stories represented on stage and share music, creativity and community in a room that welcomes all.