Visit Chicago's Tea Rooms

Visit Chicago's Tea Rooms

I'm not a huge tea drinker, but I have always wanted to go to a legit tea party. I want to get dressed up, put on white gloves and a hat and hold a tea cup with my pinkie held up high. Afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel is a pretty well-known event, but I had no idea that so many other places around the city offered this lady-like experience.

First, did you know there is a difference between 'High Tea' and 'Afternoon Tea'? (I definitely didn't and was corrected by a reader.) The fancy teatime us Americans like to replicate is actually called afternoon tea. This tradition started in the 1840s in England when there was a huge length of time between lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea was a way to keep you going. If you were rich, it was quite the elegant affair. If you were working class, much less elegant. So, what's high tea? It's more of a working class snacktime that included a hot dish like fish and chips.

There are several upscale hotels in town that host an afternoon tea, but I've always wanted to do tea at the Drake Hotel. For an hour and a half guests can enjoy a large selection of teas, delicious treats and a live harpist. Tea is $36 per person and is enjoyed in the gorgeous Palm Court.

I heart the American Girl Place. I don't even mind the throngs of tourists. The dolls are adorable, and I want to buy them more now then when I was a little girl. And you can bet that as soon as I know someone with children old enough to go, I'm taking them to afternoon tea at the American Girl store. Afternoon tea seating is at 4:00 p.m. and it's $18 per person. I was skeptical about the menu, but it looks awesome!

I'm actually venturing outside of the city limits with this one, but only because the idea of an Irish pub serving afternoon tea is awesome. The Celtic Knot Public House hosts Moira's Afternoon Tea on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. One benefit of taking tea in Evanston is that it's a bit cheaper, but the menu seems just as good as the others. Full tea is $16.99 per adult and $8.99 per child.

I went to Russian Tea Time several years ago, and I really enjoyed it. (Don't let their terrible website fool you.) I think I'll have to stop in again for their tea service. The menu looks tasty and they have a ton of tea choices. Full tea service is $27.95 per person and seating is daily from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

I was really surprised to find out that Chalkboard has an afternoon tea from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. on the weekends. Tea is $23 per person and the menu includes homemade goodies.

Do you have any good afternoon tea suggestions?



Leave a comment