Where to Have Afternoon Tea in NYC
If you think afternoon tea is just a cup of oolong and some dry scones, think again. That daily ritual from across the pond has become a full-blown NYC experience, thanks to downright beautiful spaces and fancy accoutrements like expertly crafted confections, caviar and Champagne. Here, eight places to indulge your fancy side.
The Palm Court at the Plaza
This verdant space in the middle of the five-star hotel may be New York’s most quintessential tea. Known for its Eloise Tea ($39 per child; $55 per adult), named after the popular children’s book set in the hotel, the dream of every 6-year-old girl is also an elegant reality for grown-ups (at least for a few hours; from $65 per person). Dine on loads of delicious scones, clotted cream and classic cucumber sandwiches between sips of Moët & Chandon Brut Rosé Champagne. You’ll easily imagine you’re in some sort of heaven, or at least living on the tippy-top floor.
768 Fifth Ave.; theplazany.com
The Whitby Hotel
What makes an afternoon tea tower better? Florals from designer Lewis Miller, known for his street installations around the city. (Remember the car exploding with blooms? That’s him.) He also happens to be the hotel’s resident florist, so his favorite blossoms inspired the whimsical confections, which include a cupcake decorated to look like a dahlia and a chocolate tart topped with sugar anemones (from $45 per person). Add to that a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé, Wedgwood china and, of course, rare loose leaf blends, and you have all the makings of an Instagram-worthy afternoon.
18 W. 56th St.; firmdalehotels.com
If you have a thing for macarons, look no further than this French import, which pairs a teapot of Marie Antoinette (a black tea blend with rose petals and citrus) with three tiers of expertly crafted confections ($39 per person). The famous patisserie opened a tea salon at its Soho location, so stopping in for a box of cookies can easily turn into a few hours of munching on delightful cakes, sandwiches and pastries in a room fit for Parisian royalty. When the weather cooperates, sit outside in the tree-covered garden. The only challenge is deciding which macaron flavors to take home in that iconic green box.
398 W. Broadway; laduree.fr
Harvey at the Williamsburg Hotel
You no longer have to travel to Manhattan for tea service since this hotel launched Kings County’s first afternoon tea earlier this year at its in-house restaurant (from $45 per person). The weekend-only service makes the perfect swap for brunch, and the menu will certainly fill you up. Putting an authentically Brooklyn touch on the food, the service includes a tea selection by the local Tea Dealers and treats from the nearby Brooklyn Bread Lab. We’re partial to the blackberry profiterole, but we hear the avocado toast is a real crowd-pleaser.
96 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn; harveywilliamsburg.com
Pembroke Room at the Lowell Hotel
Fancy a glass of ruby port with your afternoon tea sandwiches? How British of you. Stop into the cozy Lowell Hotel on a quiet UES block to dine on black-currant scones and sip Dammann Frères tea along with more than just Champagne: Beverage pairing options include Fonseca port or Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry in addition to Pommery Champagne (from $63 per person). The recently remodeled Pembroke Room exudes sophistication (read: Mom and Grandma would love it), and it’s not uncommon to see Chanel tweed and the occasional formal hat in the plush space.
28 E. 63rd St.; lowellhotel.com
For some of the best people-watching in New York City, head to the restaurant on the top floor of the iconic Bergdorf Goodman for tea service ($45 per person, or $62 with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut). The luxe Kelly Wearstler–designed space looks straight out of Gossip Girl, and the tray of tea sandwiches and sweets is worth every calorie. Snag a table with porter-style chairs overlooking the park and split your time admiring the fall foliage of the trees outside and the chic outfits of the clientele inside.
754 Fifth Ave.; bergdorfgoodman.com
The Crosby Bar
The fashionable Soho set descends upon the posh and colorful Crosby Bar for afternoon tea complete with glasses of bubbly (from $48 per person). A U.K. brand at heart, the hotel really understands how to put a modern twist on tradition: Teas include a muscatel Darjeeling brewed with wine grapes, and a stout mousse tops the chocolate gingerbread cake. Psst: If you’re gluten-averse, there’s an entire GF tea spread that’s just as decadent as the original.
79 Crosby St.; firmdalehotels.com
THE BLUE BOX CAFE
Forget breakfast—it’s all about tea at Tiffany’s. Head to the fourth floor of the storied jeweler’s flagship shop for an afternoon fit for a movie set. On the brand’s iconic blue-and-white china, savor traditional finger sandwiches and a selection of sweet treats inspired by the brand (like a pastry resembling robin’s eggs in a nest). The company even curated its own Tiffany tea, a blend of Chinese and Ceylon black teas, that’s served alongside other Bellocq teas and midday mocktails named after gemstones like red opal and citrine. And, of course, there’s Champagne.
727 Fifth Ave.; tiffany.com