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The dessert tower at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe
The dessert tower at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe
Photo by Jessie Jacobson

12 Posh Places for Afternoon Tea in NYC

Pinkies up for sophisticated sandwiches and warming brews

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The dessert tower at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe
| Photo by Jessie Jacobson

Few things are more satisfyingly decadent than afternoon tea on a weekday or a Sunday spent leisurely with friends. The luxe three-tier affair, involving savories, scones, sweets, and lots of tea, is serious business in New York City, with a huge range of options. Some hotels have giant tea menus, while other shops take pride in a small, curated selection. Some focus more energy on the food with a full meal’s size worth, others on the tea itself. From big name hotels to tiny neighborhood gems, there’s an afternoon tea service to suit every mood (from cozy and casual to formal and sophisticated) and budget (prices on this map range from $25 to $150 a person).

There are many origin tales of how afternoon tea came to be, but the generally accepted story is that it was “invented” in 1840 by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford. Anna suffered from “hunger spells” each afternoon and started the tradition of having small snacks and sweets with tea to remedy the situation. She invited friends to partake in this afternoon session and soon enough, it became a full-blown social affair.

Etiquette certainly is a part of the tea’s tradition, but rules have relaxed in the centuries since. Some things to keep in mind, though, are eating from the bottom tier up — that means savories first, then scones, and finally sweets — eating the bottom half of a scone first, with jam and preserves spread on before the cream, and feeling free to take home leftovers. Finally: This endeavor is called afternoon tea — a pleasurable afternoon affair of small savory and sweet bites accompanied by tea — not high tea, which is considered an early evening supper.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Alice's Tea Cup

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102 W 73rd St
New York, NY 10023
(212) 799-3006
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Alice’s Tea Cup has multiple locations, but the colorful West 73rd Street original is a favorite among long time fans. This is the place to book when visitors with children are in town, with whimsical painted walls, mismatched teaware, and special afternoon tea for kids. For adults, Alice’s offers multiple sizes of tea service depending on hunger levels. Pick from various flavors of scone — get the pumpkin if it’s available — and tea sandwiches, including lapsang-smoked chicken and tea-egg salad, to design a custom afternoon tea set. Warm scones can also be taken to go from the takeout counter.

2. Kings' Carriage House

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251 E 82nd St
New York, NY 10028
(212) 734-5490
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Quaint digs can be found at this UES gem, situated in an antiques-filled, chandelier-lit duplex space in a townhouse on a quiet side street. King’s Carriage House does a lovely afternoon tea that isn’t bank account-gouging. The classics-focused menu, three-tiered presentation and all, goes for just $24.95 per person. Savories include salmon pinwheels and goat cheese tartelettes with mango and tomato, while sweet treats range from lemon curd squares to apricot coconut tea cakes.

Come in for Afternoon Tea, served Tuesday to Sunday, 3- 5pm. #afternoontea

Posted by Kings' Carriage House on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

3. BG Restaurant

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754 5th Ave
New York, NY 10019
(212) 872-8977
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Key to note when making reservations at the bright and lively BG Restaurant, which is located at the top of Bergdorf Goodman: Request a window table with the big, plush cocoon “whisper chairs.” These giant, wrap-around baby blue and yellow chairs make an afternoon tea experience all the more decadent and fun, especially when coupled with prime views of Central Park. As for the tea, BG offers one classic three-tier service, so tea selection is the only choice diners need to make. Afternoon tea is offered daily from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for $45 per person.

BG Restaurant BG Restaurant [Official Photo]

4. The Whitby Hotel

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18 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 586-5656
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A colorful, enchanting gem in Midtown, afternoon tea at the Whitby is served in the Orangery room. Guests select between the classic Whitby afternoon tea or the gluten-free afternoon tea. Healthy afternoon teas are often seen in Europe but less frequently in North America; the concept of savories/scones/sweets remains the same, but the details are lighter. Think whipped cashew cream instead of clotted cream. The warm carrot cake sticky buns here are a joy, and to drink, order the bespoke English Breakfast blend. Available for $50 per person, tea service is offered on weekdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. The Whitby’s downtown sister property, the Crosby Street Hotel, also serves afternoon tea.

The Whitby Hotel The Whitby Hotel [Official Photo]

5. The Blue Box Cafe

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727 5th Ave, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 605-4270
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Half the joy in afternoon tea is for the scene and fuss, the protocols, and the many little accessories. That’s precisely the case at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe, where the clotted cream is dusted in glitter, almond cakes are shaped and finished as mini Tiffany blue boxes, and “robin’s eggs” are delivered on a Tiffany’s bird’s nest of phyllo dough. The food is fine, but come for the nostalgia and experience of literally dining inside a Tiffany’s blue box. Reservations are a must for tea service priced at $52 per person.

6. Gotham Lounge

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700 5th Ave
New York, NY 10019
(212) 903-3049
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Head to Gotham Lounge at the Peninsula Hotel for a classic NYC afternoon tea delivered on three tiers. It’s filled with a broad mix of locals, tourists, and business people gathering over tea. The savories are a bright collection of tea sandwiches and tarts. Scones are delicately sized with an ideal crumb, two to a person, presented warm with classic pairings of clotted cream, lemon curd, and a pair of seasonal jams. Tea service here runs from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily and is a bit steeper than most NYC options — it runs $80 per person for the classic Peninsula tea, and $93 with a glass of champagne in the mix.

Gotham Lounge Gotham Lounge [Official Photo]

7. Baccarat Hotel

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28 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 790-8800
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For NYC’s most lavish and opulent afternoon tea, no one does it like Baccarat Hotel. There are four afternoon tea sets, each catering to different tastes and whimsy: a precise, polished take on the classic British afternoon tea, a caviar-focused Russian-themed offering, and a French-inspired option, dubbed the King Louis XV set, with dishes like quiche Lorraine. Most notable, though, is the Turkish afternoon tea, ideal for those who crave a more savory service. It features chicken pastilla, as well as lamb and feta tucked into warm, flaky phyllo purses. Finish on sweet labneh ice cream with crumbled rose halva. Each tea service is paired with a specific tea, and the “Dunes du Sahara,” a warming mint brew, is not to be missed. Call at least 24 hours in advance for tea service, which is served daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Baccarat Hotel Baccarat Hotel [Official Photo]

8. Blank Slate Tea

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121 Madison Ave #3
New York, NY 10016
(646) 707-0256
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This attractive Nomad spot, opened in April 2018 as an offshoot of nearby Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen, caters to a latte-’gramming clientele, with its floral wallpaper and pastel pink banquettes. The affordable afternoon tea is priced at $28 per person, though it’s a more casual environment, as most customers come for a quick matcha, not leisurely tea service. Expect hipper, healthier savory food options here than the usual tea fare, like avocado and hummus toasts.

9. Tea & Sympathy

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108 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-9735
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Some call it cozy, others call it cramped, but it’s always busy at Tea & Sympathy. This isn’t a delicate, quiet spot to linger, but one to feast on generously portioned finger sandwiches and chubby scones accompanied by ramekins of clotted cream and jam. Sweets include a golden wedge of Victorian sponge cake, split and sandwiched with cream and jam. Wash it down with a cup of brisk black tea, milk and sugar. It’s relatively affordable to enjoy afternoon tea here, and at a slight discount for more than one person, priced at $38 for solo tea-goers or $68 for two people.

10. Lady Mendl's Tea Salon

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56 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-4600
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For an old-fashioned, charming affair, Lady Mendl’s tucked inside a townhouse on Irving Place is the place. Afternoon tea, including a gluten-free option, is split into five courses, which makes this one of the more filling offerings in town. Tea starts with a seasonal soup, then moves on to finger sandwiches, scones, a vanilla crêpe cake from Lady M, and petit fours of macarons and fruits. Reservations required.

Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon [Official Photo]

11. Bosie Tea Parlor

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10 Morton St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 352-9900
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Bosie Tea Parlor has been around since 2011, and it is still the most reliable afternoon tea spot in the West Village. It’s warm, intimate, and a good value for the dollar. It’s also a solid pick for afternoon tea for one, which people often do. The tea sets include a choice of tea from an extensive menu, a selection of tidy triangular tea sandwiches like chutney and cheddar, warm scones, and tea cakes. For macarons, look out for the Darjeeling flavor. 

Bosie Tea Parlor Bosie Tea Parlor [Official Photo]

12. The Williamsburg Hotel

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96 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 362-8100
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The Williamsburg Hotel’s Harvey restaurant serves afternoon tea Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., with a hip and trendy vibe to match newfangled food. In place of delicate tea sandwiches are sizeable wedges of avocado toast and salami-ricotta pizzettes from Brooklyn Bread Lab. Traditional scones are replaced with ones scented with rosemary and chocolate. As for the tea itself, order the wild pear, a heady Korean tisane.

Photo via The Williamsburg Hotel/ Facebook

1. Alice's Tea Cup

102 W 73rd St, New York, NY 10023

Alice’s Tea Cup has multiple locations, but the colorful West 73rd Street original is a favorite among long time fans. This is the place to book when visitors with children are in town, with whimsical painted walls, mismatched teaware, and special afternoon tea for kids. For adults, Alice’s offers multiple sizes of tea service depending on hunger levels. Pick from various flavors of scone — get the pumpkin if it’s available — and tea sandwiches, including lapsang-smoked chicken and tea-egg salad, to design a custom afternoon tea set. Warm scones can also be taken to go from the takeout counter.

102 W 73rd St
New York, NY 10023

2. Kings' Carriage House

251 E 82nd St, New York, NY 10028

Quaint digs can be found at this UES gem, situated in an antiques-filled, chandelier-lit duplex space in a townhouse on a quiet side street. King’s Carriage House does a lovely afternoon tea that isn’t bank account-gouging. The classics-focused menu, three-tiered presentation and all, goes for just $24.95 per person. Savories include salmon pinwheels and goat cheese tartelettes with mango and tomato, while sweet treats range from lemon curd squares to apricot coconut tea cakes.

251 E 82nd St
New York, NY 10028

3. BG Restaurant

754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019
BG Restaurant BG Restaurant [Official Photo]

Key to note when making reservations at the bright and lively BG Restaurant, which is located at the top of Bergdorf Goodman: Request a window table with the big, plush cocoon “whisper chairs.” These giant, wrap-around baby blue and yellow chairs make an afternoon tea experience all the more decadent and fun, especially when coupled with prime views of Central Park. As for the tea, BG offers one classic three-tier service, so tea selection is the only choice diners need to make. Afternoon tea is offered daily from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for $45 per person.

754 5th Ave
New York, NY 10019

4. The Whitby Hotel

18 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
The Whitby Hotel The Whitby Hotel [Official Photo]

A colorful, enchanting gem in Midtown, afternoon tea at the Whitby is served in the Orangery room. Guests select between the classic Whitby afternoon tea or the gluten-free afternoon tea. Healthy afternoon teas are often seen in Europe but less frequently in North America; the concept of savories/scones/sweets remains the same, but the details are lighter. Think whipped cashew cream instead of clotted cream. The warm carrot cake sticky buns here are a joy, and to drink, order the bespoke English Breakfast blend. Available for $50 per person, tea service is offered on weekdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. The Whitby’s downtown sister property, the Crosby Street Hotel, also serves afternoon tea.

18 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

5. The Blue Box Cafe

727 5th Ave, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10022

Half the joy in afternoon tea is for the scene and fuss, the protocols, and the many little accessories. That’s precisely the case at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe, where the clotted cream is dusted in glitter, almond cakes are shaped and finished as mini Tiffany blue boxes, and “robin’s eggs” are delivered on a Tiffany’s bird’s nest of phyllo dough. The food is fine, but come for the nostalgia and experience of literally dining inside a Tiffany’s blue box. Reservations are a must for tea service priced at $52 per person.

727 5th Ave, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10022

6. Gotham Lounge

700 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Gotham Lounge Gotham Lounge [Official Photo]

Head to Gotham Lounge at the Peninsula Hotel for a classic NYC afternoon tea delivered on three tiers. It’s filled with a broad mix of locals, tourists, and business people gathering over tea. The savories are a bright collection of tea sandwiches and tarts. Scones are delicately sized with an ideal crumb, two to a person, presented warm with classic pairings of clotted cream, lemon curd, and a pair of seasonal jams. Tea service here runs from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily and is a bit steeper than most NYC options — it runs $80 per person for the classic Peninsula tea, and $93 with a glass of champagne in the mix.

700 5th Ave
New York, NY 10019

7. Baccarat Hotel

28 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
Baccarat Hotel Baccarat Hotel [Official Photo]

For NYC’s most lavish and opulent afternoon tea, no one does it like Baccarat Hotel. There are four afternoon tea sets, each catering to different tastes and whimsy: a precise, polished take on the classic British afternoon tea, a caviar-focused Russian-themed offering, and a French-inspired option, dubbed the King Louis XV set, with dishes like quiche Lorraine. Most notable, though, is the Turkish afternoon tea, ideal for those who crave a more savory service. It features chicken pastilla, as well as lamb and feta tucked into warm, flaky phyllo purses. Finish on sweet labneh ice cream with crumbled rose halva. Each tea service is paired with a specific tea, and the “Dunes du Sahara,” a warming mint brew, is not to be missed. Call at least 24 hours in advance for tea service, which is served daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

28 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

8. Blank Slate Tea

121 Madison Ave #3, New York, NY 10016

This attractive Nomad spot, opened in April 2018 as an offshoot of nearby Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen, caters to a latte-’gramming clientele, with its floral wallpaper and pastel pink banquettes. The affordable afternoon tea is priced at $28 per person, though it’s a more casual environment, as most customers come for a quick matcha, not leisurely tea service. Expect hipper, healthier savory food options here than the usual tea fare, like avocado and hummus toasts.

121 Madison Ave #3
New York, NY 10016

9. Tea & Sympathy

108 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

Some call it cozy, others call it cramped, but it’s always busy at Tea & Sympathy. This isn’t a delicate, quiet spot to linger, but one to feast on generously portioned finger sandwiches and chubby scones accompanied by ramekins of clotted cream and jam. Sweets include a golden wedge of Victorian sponge cake, split and sandwiched with cream and jam. Wash it down with a cup of brisk black tea, milk and sugar. It’s relatively affordable to enjoy afternoon tea here, and at a slight discount for more than one person, priced at $38 for solo tea-goers or $68 for two people.

108 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011

10. Lady Mendl's Tea Salon

56 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003
Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon [Official Photo]

For an old-fashioned, charming affair, Lady Mendl’s tucked inside a townhouse on Irving Place is the place. Afternoon tea, including a gluten-free option, is split into five courses, which makes this one of the more filling offerings in town. Tea starts with a seasonal soup, then moves on to finger sandwiches, scones, a vanilla crêpe cake from Lady M, and petit fours of macarons and fruits. Reservations required.

56 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003

11. Bosie Tea Parlor

10 Morton St, New York, NY 10014
Bosie Tea Parlor Bosie Tea Parlor [Official Photo]

Bosie Tea Parlor has been around since 2011, and it is still the most reliable afternoon tea spot in the West Village. It’s warm, intimate, and a good value for the dollar. It’s also a solid pick for afternoon tea for one, which people often do. The tea sets include a choice of tea from an extensive menu, a selection of tidy triangular tea sandwiches like chutney and cheddar, warm scones, and tea cakes. For macarons, look out for the Darjeeling flavor. 

10 Morton St
New York, NY 10014

12. The Williamsburg Hotel

96 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Photo via The Williamsburg Hotel/ Facebook

The Williamsburg Hotel’s Harvey restaurant serves afternoon tea Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., with a hip and trendy vibe to match newfangled food. In place of delicate tea sandwiches are sizeable wedges of avocado toast and salami-ricotta pizzettes from Brooklyn Bread Lab. Traditional scones are replaced with ones scented with rosemary and chocolate. As for the tea itself, order the wild pear, a heady Korean tisane.

96 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

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