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We never need an excuse to eat pastries, but afternoon tea is an awfully good one. The petits fours, the cookies, the scones—they’re all included along with stacks of dainty sandwiches and pots of premium tea. Best of all: All you need is a friend and a reservation, and your afternoon tiny-cake consumption is set.

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the drake chi high tea

Palm Court at Drake Hotel

Both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Di have been guests at the century-old afternoon tea at The Drake’s Palm Court. We’re not royals, but the selection of 17 premium teas from Palais des Thés, petits fours and live harpist (a harpist, people) could make us feel otherwise.

140 E. Walton St.; 312-787-2200 or

russian tea time chi high tea
Russian Tea Time/Facebook

Russian Tea Time

Russian Tea Time is the place to visit on a chilly day. As you step into the cozy, wood-paneled space, you’ll warm right up. But it’s the pots of Adagio tea and plates of potato piroshki that will lull you into a wintry hibernation.

77 E. Adams St.; 312-360-0000 or

the langham chi high tea
The Langham

Pavilion at The Langham

All that Mies van der Rohe glass and steel provides floor-to-ceiling views of the riverfront from an elegant ivory lounge. Gaze out on the scene as you feast on a menu of showstopping savories and sweets by Anthony Zamora and pastry chef Scott Green.

330 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-923 7710 or

the peninsula chi high tea

The Lobby at The Peninsula

With its soaring 20-foot gilded ceilings, the atmosphere is nothing short of grand. Menu items like fig, almond and crème fraîche tart and a chocolate, gianduja and passion fruit fanancier only add to the effect.

108 E. Superior St.; 312-337-2888 or

soho house chi high tea
The Allis Chicago/Facebook

The Allis at Soho House

If the thought of afternoon tea strikes you as a little too frilly, try The Allis’s slightly more laid-back variation. Vintage teapots and exposed brick set the tone, but that doesn’t mean you’ll settle when it comes to food—enjoy the usual tea sandwiches and fluffy scones and definitely save room for the fudgey chocolate cake.

113 - 125 N. Green St.; 312-521-8000 or

vanille patisserie chi high tea

Vanille Patisserie

Vanille emphasizes pastries over pretense. The staff of classically trained French pastry chefs stack three-tiered plates with petits fours, scones and finger sandwiches, so come hungry. You may even want to take a box of macarons home for afternoon tea part deux.

2108 N. Clark St.; 773-868-4574 or

virgin hotel chi high tea

The Commons Club at the Virgin Hotel

Count on the Virgin Hotel for a non-traditional teatime. At its “upside down” tea, you can sip tea-infused cocktails, like the Tea & Biscuits, a hot toddy-inspired mixture of Darjeeling and Hennessy. Let’s get this tea party started.

203 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-940-4747 or

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