Even though the capital of Massachusetts is known as Beantown, it’s most famous for its tea. After all, the city was the birthplace of the iconic political protest, the Boston Tea Party.[find-an-apartment]
As such, it only makes sense that Boston has more places to partake in high tea than you can shake a decrusted, miniature cucumber sandwich at. From fancy to funky, and all places in between, read on to find the best spots to enjoy a spot of tea in Boston.
For Something Fancy: The Lounge at Taj Boston
For one of the most traditional afternoon teas in Boston, pay a visit to the Lounge at Taj Boston and soak in the regal atmosphere in the elaborate, ornately decorated parlor. The tea sandwiches, served on elegant bone china, are standard fare, including egg salad, cucumber and smoked salmon, and desserts include chocolate-covered strawberries, scones and a variety of mini pastries. Make sure to order the signature tea, the Shanghai Rose, a delicate black tea with hints of flowery rose.
Where: 15 Arlington St., Boston, MA 02116
For Something Historical: Boston Athenaeum
Having high tea at the Boston Athenaeum is a tradition that dates back to its early years. The Athenaeum, which is essentially a museum and a library, is one of the nation’s most important cultural and historical institutions, and it’s currently a members-only club (although membership can be obtained by simply paying an annual fee, and if you’re lucky enough to know a member, you can tag along as a guest.) Tea is served as an all-you-can-eat (and drink) buffet-style affair, so grab a plate of berry tarts and salmon mascarpone sandwiches and a cup of English Breakfast and wander amongst the Qing dynasty relics and Revolutionary War-era manuscripts.
Where: 10 ½ Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108
For Something Funky: Upstairs On the Square
If you thought afternoon tea was best enjoyed in a stuffy upholstered parlor in Grandmother’s pearls, think again. Upstairs On the Square is one of the funkiest places to have tea, complete with eccentric décor that includes pink and gold furniture, quirky chandeliers, antique mirrors and zebra print carpet. You won’t find traditional items like scones and clotted Devonshire cream here, but most people don’t come to Upstairs On the Square expecting anything conventional. Instead, revel in the irreverence and enjoy unique treats like mini red velvet cupcakes, chocolate éclairs and gooey chocolate pecan turtles, as well as savory creations like bacon-wrapped dates and mini focaccia tea sandwiches.
Where: 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, MA 02138
For Something Cultural: Kaji Aso Japanese Tea House
Housed in a studio that offers courses and workshops in the visual arts, music, poetry, philosophy and Japanese culture, Kaji Aso is Boston’s first Japanese tea house. Here you’ll get the rare chance to participate in a Japanese tea ceremony, a cultural activity involving the preparation and presentation of green tea. The tea ceremony is held on Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. and reservations are required at least 48 hours in advance.
Where: 40 Saint Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115
Photo credit: Shutterstock / John C. Hooten
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