There’s good times on the horizon!
Many things have changed since we last checked in on the state of traditional afternoon tea in the Chicago area. Many once-popular establishments have scaled down or eliminated the practise since the outbreak. No need to worry, however! We’ve discovered several unique alternatives, both new and old, that keep alive the great custom of afternoon tea in Chicago. Prepare yourself for a smorgasbord of finger sandwiches, scones, sweet and savoury delicacies, herbal and caffeinated teas, and maybe even a bottle of champagne. Pull out your pinkies!
Inn of the Ambassador
The afternoon tea tradition has been revived at this historic Gold Coast hotel’s in-house restaurant, the Ambassador Room. The tea sandwiches, scones, and European-style pastries here are all produced using locally sourced ingredients and would not be out of place in the final round of the Great British Bake Off. Weekends between noon and 3 pm, $65 per person.
Location: 1301 N. State Parkway, Chicago
The American Girl Store
Every adult still has a childlike wonder after seeing this Mag Mile ode to American children and their treasured dolls. A reservation here will make the young lady or gentleman’s favourite doll lover’s world go round. Included in the whole teatime experience are tea sandwiches, pastries, tea or hot chocolate, and maybe even a craft. There is a booster seat available for your American Girl doll so that she may join you at the table. You’ll need to put down $50 to secure a reservation for two people at $40 per person. Only on Sundays are they available; you may reserve a spot up to 90 days in advance, but you better act fast.
Chicago, Illinois; 835 Michigan
Coffee & Cocoa
You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to enjoy the “High Tea with a Chocolate Twist” at this chocolate-focused Old Town establishment, since the event can only be reserved for groups of up to eight people. But the work is rewarding. Start with the savoury dishes, then move on to the pastries, and end with the bonbons and thick sipping chocolate—this is a delightful three-course afternoon tea. Prices start at $37.50 per person, and reservations are required for the exclusive 2:30-5pm seating in the tasting room.
Location: 1651 N. Wells St., Chicago
The NAHA’s Kostali
Want to take a break from shopping to hang out with your BFFs? In place of the usual pastries and tea, the “Tipsy Tea Party” adds a boozy twist by serving drinks, light fare, and a DJ blasting the newest tracks. You may expect a variety of Mean Girls, Sex and the City, Beyoncé, and other themed events throughout the year. The cost is $65-$80 per person, and you may book ahead of time via Tock. Reservations are available on the weekends between 1 and 2:30 p.m.
In Chicago, at 521 N. Rush St.
Welcome to The Peninsula’s Lobby
To have Afternoon Tea in style, go no farther than the exquisite Peninsula Hotel, which was named Best Hotel (City) in Better’s Best of 2022: Travel awards. Traditional scones and tea biscuits sit beside gourmet creations like cucumber and dill-lemon cream cheese or lobster and shrimp salad sandwiches topped with fresh strawberries. The gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and children’s menus are extensive, and the tea variety is top-notch. If you want to feel like a true party, pour yourself a glass of Taittinger Brut Champagne. The best part is that for every afternoon tea purchased, the Peninsula will provide $10 to the Chicago Public Library Foundation. How incredibly refined! Prices for adults are $135/$155, and kids get in for $55. Tea time is 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. everyday throughout the holidays. Tock may be used to make reservations.
For those in Chicago, the address is 108 E Superior St.
The Drake Hotel’s Palm Court
Tea has been served here for than a century, and the likes of Lady Di, the Queen of England, and the Obamas have all stopped by for a cup. Palais de Thés is the exclusive provider of 17 spectacularly different tea blends. Enjoy the live harp music while you linger over handmade finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones, and more served in a three-tiered display fit for a queen. Individual price is $74, with “Little Prince and Princess” paying just $35. Served daily throughout the holidays and Thursday through Sunday year-round.
Postal Address: 140 E. Walton Place, Chicago
A Pavilion at The Langham
There is hardly a more stunning location for afternoon tea in all of Chicago, in my opinion. Two-story windows let in natural light and showcase the beautiful skyline of Chicago; the walls are adorned with breathtaking works of art. This is a fantastic location! The Langham’s Best Staycation award from Better’s Best of 2022: Travel was well-deserved. You may choose from a wide variety of delicious savoury dishes. From delicate scones with clotted cream, vanilla butter, and homemade raspberry jam to savoury dishes like pink shrimp toast with fennel pollen and finger lime or potato-manchego tart with kale and bacon. Mini desserts and an extensive range of teas (including several proprietary blends) are sure to wow. Adults pay $125, while kids aged 5-12 pay $55. Serves lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 1-5pm and lunch and dinner Friday through Sunday from 11am-5pm. Weekends include a live band performance.
Vanilla Custard Pastry
It’s fitting that this bakery serves a French-style afternoon tea; the Mad Hatter would love it. Delicious treats, like the world-famous macarons made by Vanille, may be enjoyed alongside elegant finger sandwiches and small scones topped with lemon curd, passion fruit curd, and clotted cream. Loose-leaf Benjamin Tea, crafted in Chicago, is available for your enjoyment. Service is provided Tuesday through Sunday at 11:30 am, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm for $79 per person with a 72 hour prior appointment via the Vanille website. Also available from Vanille for $185 is a pre-packaged and ready-to-go Afternoon Tea for four. Once again, pre-ordering is recommended.
Chicago, 2108 North Clark Street
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