woman pouring afternoon tea

14 Fabulous Spots for Proper Afternoon Tea Across the United States

Few rituals in culinary traditions evoke the charm and elegance of a proper English afternoon tea. This centuries-old custom from British aristocratic circles has become a globally cherished experience. 

Across the United States, a few establishments have mastered the art of serving afternoon tea with finesse and authenticity. They offer a blend of tea, sandwiches, scones, and pastries that harken back to their origins in Victorian England. 

Each venue offers a unique interpretation of this time-honored tradition, from historic hotels to contemporary tea rooms, promising a delightful journey through tea culture and refined indulgence. Join us as we explore the 14 best places in America to savor the essence of a proper English afternoon tea.

1. The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel

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The afternoon tea served at The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel in New York City might be the pinnacle of the classic high tea experience in the United States. Guests can choose from menu options such as the Manhattan Tea, Plaza Signature Tea, or, for the little ones, the Eloise Tea, named after the beloved children’s books.

Each menu features the elements of a fine English afternoon tea, served in the grand setting of the Palm Court. The tea selection, courtesy of Palais des Thés, is complemented by an array of bubbly—essential for a proper afternoon tea. Expect classic finger sandwiches with a modern twist, such as the trusty cucumber with mint labneh, tarragon, and pickled mustard seeds.

2. Camellia’s at Hotel Bennett

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Hotel Bennett joined Charleston’s hospitality scene in 2019, adding old-world grandeur and Instagrammable moments to King Street. Its champagne lounge, Camellias, is adorned in pink with a marble bar and tabletops reclaimed from the former library on the site. 

On weekends, guests can enjoy tea service in the glamorous lounge, which has an etched mirror ceiling, chandelier, and velvet chairs. Choose from green, black, and herbal teas by Tealeaves, including Children’s Tea, Adult Tea with canapés and pastries from La Pâtisserie, or Crown Tea, which adds a flute of sparkling rosé.

3. Maison Danel

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Chef Danel de Betelu and husband David bring a French touch to British tea at their stylish cafe in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Inspired by Europe’s tea salons, Maison Danel offers three services: Le Classique, L’Eugénie (with Crémant d’Alsace), and Le Petit for kids. 

Each includes petits sandwiches, mini viennoiseries, small treats, mignardises, and a pot of tea. The extensive loose-leaf selection features standards like Earl Grey and Vanilla Rooibos, plus house blends like rose-infused La Parisienne and David’s favorite Taiwanese Oolong. The space combines industrial chic and European elegance, perfect for leisurely afternoon tea.

4. Pavilion at the Langham Chicago

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The Langham Chicago’s afternoon tea, rooted in British tradition, began at the hotel’s London location in 1865. The Chicago version has evolved, featuring Caribbean flavors from executive chef Damion Henry’s Jamaican background. The three-course service includes savories, scones, and desserts paired with a tea of your choice. 

The Langham offers exclusive blends, such as the Wedgwood Original, a black tea with malt and caramelized sugar notes, stored in its tea vault. On weekends, the tea service is held in the Pavilion, which offers city views and live classical music to enhance the experience.

5. Rose & Blanc Tea Room

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This pretty-in-pink teahouse in Koreatown is a favorite for bridal and baby showers. When not booked for parties on weekends, Angelenos can reserve a table for one of two tea services. Both include savory sandwiches, a classic scone, and a choice of tea. The Rose Tea Set features three desserts, while the Violette Tea Set has four. 

Recent sweets reflect L.A.’s global influences, including an egg tart, passionfruit panna cotta, and churro financier. These treats are served on three-tiered rose and gold towers, perfectly matching the room’s dainty chandeliers and floral tablecloths.

6. Gracie’s

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Located inside Hotel deLuxe, Gracie’s is a downtown hotspot known for its classic American brunch and seasonal afternoon tea. Embracing Portland’s local spirit, Gracie’s collaborates with nearby businesses: in-house tea sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, locally sourced preserves, and pastries from Marsee Baking. 

Smith Teamaker curates teas featuring seven classic blends and two exclusives: Provenance Black, a breakfast blend with hints of smoke, spice, and jasmine, and Green deLuxe, a floral, peppery tea. With soaring ceilings and old-school Hollywood decor, Gracie’s exudes elegance and charm.

7. The Courtyard Tea Room

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Boston, home to the historic Tea Party, hosts one of the city’s finest afternoon tea services at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The Courtyard Tea Room offers two variations: a classic afternoon tea on Wednesdays and Thursdays and The Copley Tea with a sparkling wine or non-alcoholic drink on Fridays and Saturdays. 

The menu includes modern touches like seasonal starters, tea lattes, and iced teas alongside traditional options. Additionally, a cocktail menu features tea-infused drinks with whimsical literary names. This elegant setting not only honors Boston’s rich history but also adds a contemporary twist, making you feel connected to the city’s past and present.

8. Babe’s Tea Room

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A vibrant flower installation by local florist Lalé Florals welcomes guests to Babe’s Tea Room, a downtown Denver gem offering afternoon tea daily. The prix-fixe set includes traditional tea sandwiches and scones, Scottish shortbread, homemade petit fours, and a French macaron. 

Accompanied by a trio of condiments—Devonshire cream, house-made lemon curd, and strawberry preserves—and unlimited tea, Babe’s menu features over 70 intriguing blends like French vanilla pu-erh, oolong sweet watermelon, and coconut custard rooibos. Enjoy the service on the sidewalk patio or in the charming dining room adorned in muted pink, blue, and yellow hues.

9. Le Salon at the Windsor Court Hotel

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True to its regal name, the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans offers an aristocratic afternoon tea experience. The decor combines traditional English elegance with Southern charm, complemented by live harp or piano music. 

Your tea journey starts with a light cocktail or a glass of bubbly, followed by your choice of tea and an array of finger sandwiches. Next, savor scones with cream and jam and conclude with a selection of sophisticated desserts. Choose from themed teas like the whimsical Mad Hatter or festive Mardi Gras options for an added twist.

10. The Russian Tea Room

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If you’re pressed for time before a show at Carnegie Hall, consider opting for afternoon tea at the Russian Tea Room. It offers a leisurely way to enjoy a meal, allowing you to savor each bite and sip without rushing to make the next showtime.

Established in 1927 by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet, this iconic venue has thrived for nearly a century. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and, of course, afternoon tea. It’s one of the few places where you can enhance your Russian tea experience with caviar.

11. The Dandelion

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British cuisine, often overshadowed by Asian and Indian fare, has gained prominence with the advent of British gastropubs and the widespread popularity of afternoon tea. The Dandelion in Philadelphia excels in both, particularly within its charming Victorian-style dining room.

Indulge in their traditional afternoon tea, A Royal Occasion, featuring classic sandwiches, scones, and pastries. For a lighter option, opt for just sandwiches or indulge in their delectable pastries. The tea selection, curated by Teapigs, offers a concise yet delightful array to complement your dining experience.

12. Willard Peacock Alley Tea

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Although afternoon tea typically features cucumber sandwiches and meat-free pastries, it’s not often entirely vegetarian. However, the Willard Peacock Alley Tea in the Hotel Intercontinental, Washington, D.C., offers a delightful vegetarian afternoon tea menu alongside options for vegans and omnivores alike. 

Teas are sourced from the J’enwey Tea Company, and freshly baked scones are a daily treat. Dating back to the 1920s, enjoying tea at the Willard is a nostalgic experience, perfect for snacking on sandwiches and relishing the company of friends in a setting that feels like stepping back in time.

13. The Living Room at Peninsula Beverly Hills

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For the quintessential Los Angeles afternoon tea experience, look no further than the Living Room at the Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills. Unlike many venues that reserve weekend tea service, the Living Room offers it daily.

This locale elevates afternoon tea to an art form. Sandwiches feature inventive twists, like caviar on smoked salmon and mint-infused pumpernickel bread with cucumber. Indulge further with ingenious pastries such as the decadent three-chocolate cake or the delightful peanut caramel cupcake.

14. The Hermitage Hotel

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At The Hermitage Hotel, afternoon tea seamlessly blends Nashville flair with British charm. Guests indulge in the Spillin’ Tea with Draper James menu, inspired by Reese Witherspoon’s “Whiskey in a Teacup” cookbook. This themed experience features a perfect selection of loose-leaf teas, freshly baked scones, and delectable pastries. 

The menu changes regularly, offering surprises like a “Bridgerton” style tea with gossip from Lady Hermitage and exquisite finger sandwiches. Each visit promises a unique culinary journey celebrating local influences and timeless tea traditions.

With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.