Where to have afternoon tea in NYC
Here’s some tea trivia for you. The term “high tea” is an incorrect term for the British tradition of “afternoon tea,” which includes dainty sandwiches and scones. High tea is what the working class’s afternoon meal was called (a hearty lunch), which was served on high tables – unlike “low tea,” interchangeable with afternoon tea, which was served on low tables and part of daily life for the upper class. If you’re in the mood for a great tea service but can’t make it to England, Manhattan has a host of options with prix fixe menus and a la carte champagne additions. Besides the Plaza and Alice’s Tea Cup, here’s where to have afternoon tea in NYC.
The Pierre, 2 E 61st St
Sip away in the elegant, Neoclassical Two E Bar at the Pierre Hotel. In addition to Traditional Afternoon Tea, The Pierre features Royal Tea Service, which includes Taittinger Champagne. For something unique, try the Tiffin & Tea –– tea served with Indian and Taj-inspired small bites.
Russian Tea Room, 150 W 57th St
Founded in 1927 by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet, the Russian Tea Room has been a go-to place for New York City’s high society for the past 88 years. Along with standard tea sandwiches, you can enjoy a Russian twist on traditional afternoon tea with blinis and caviar.
King’s Carriage House, 251 E 82nd St
Visit this two-story establishment and you’ll feel as if you’re stepping back into a 19th-century European manor. The antiques, furnishings, and small space create an intimate ambiance, and an afternoon tea service is only $24.95 per person – very affordable, compared to the alternatives.
The Gallery at the Carlyle, 35 E 76th St
With sumptuous chairs and rich wallpapers, The Gallery at the Carlyle Hotel is a nod to the Sultan’s dining room at the Topkapi Palace in Turkey. From 3 to 5:30 p.m., you can enjoy a selection of exotic teas such as Egyptian Chamomile, French Verveine, Lapsang Souchong, and Chinese Lychee. Pair your tea selection with sandwiches, scones, Devonshire cream, and miniature pastries for a quintessential European experience in the middle of NYC.
Bosie Tea Parlor, 10 Morton St
For a more laid-back atmosphere, the Bosie Tea Parlor in the West Village offers a full afternoon tea menu, but without the pomp and circumstance of fancier restaurants. Have a relaxed tea for two, or even a solo afternoon with a good book.
Lady Mendl’s, 56 Irving Place
This lovely Victorian tea parlor, housed in a Georgian brownstone, hosts tea time a bit differently. Rather than bringing guests a tiered display of sandwiches and scones, they serve a five-course afternoon tea menu. And yes, one of the courses includes a slice of the famous “Lady M” crepe cake.
Baccarat Hotel, 28 W 53rd St
And finally, the blingiest of spots for afternoon tea in NYC is Baccarat Hotel. Tracy had tea there (along with champagne!) and enjoyed every second of it. Read more about her Baccarat tea experience in this blog post.