Holidays in Chicago - Where to Sip Tea for Two or More
Winter weather is made for cuddling up fireside with a hot drink. But if you’re looking for a more fashionable way to celebrate the season then why not dress up and go out for a holiday afternoon tea? We’ve got a list of seven great places all offering variations on the old classic.
The Drake Hotel conjures up images of glamour and elegance, something directly reflected by their afternoon tea. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily, guests are invited to gather in the opulent Palm Court and enjoy their choice of tea or tea-tini (a fun alcoholic iced tea drink), sandwiches, pastries, fruit bread, and scones while the sounds of harp music play in the background. They also offer a Little Prince and Princess Tea for the younger set.
The Palmer House
The iconic Palmer House’s Lockwood Restaurant & Bar offers an afternoon tea from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day featuring Rare Cellar teas, sandwiches, pastries, and petit fours in holiday varieties like eggnog panna cotta, German cake, holiday cheesecake, and pumpkin pie—almost makes you want to start with dessert first and work backwards.
Russian Tea Time
Tea is in the name and tea is one of the things Russian Tea Time does best. From 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, you can take dainty sips of one of their fine teas and work your way down their tiered tea tray starting with raisin scones, moving onto the savories (small crepes, potato piroshky, a mini quiche), and finish up with a slew of sweets like apple pie, rugalah, and a Napoleon torte.
Come to Sofitel’s Café des Architectes this holiday season for a French version of an English tradition on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tea blends created by Harney & Sons are steeped tableside while patrons indulge in delicate finger sandwiches and French pastries, including hazelnut éclairs and seasonal macarons. The Café also has a children’s special with cookies, house-made marshmallows, and a big cup of hot cocoa.
American Girl Place
For the quintessential Chicago experience for girls and their dolls, head to the American Girl store in Water Tower Place with doll in tow. Afternoon tea features warm cinnamon buns and some of the American Girl doll character favorites like Addy’s apple and cranberry tea bread and Kit’s ham, American cheese, and tomato sandwich, and concludes with fruit tartlets and a chocolate mousse flowerpot.
The Peninsula Chicago
The Peninsula Hotel hosts an afternoon tea in their lobby daily. Guests can either go traditional (they even offer coffee for the more coffee-inclined) or opt for the Champagne Afternoon Tea. Their tea menu is full of splendid treats like a pistachio raspberry tea cake, a golden chocolate tart, smoked salmon BLTs on mini brioche, and warm butternut squash gougére.
For a more off-the-grid tea experience, try Chalkboard’s Saturday and Sunday tea service from 2 p.m. to 4 .pm. This North Center restaurant serves up a personal pot of tea with a traditional tiered stand of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and pastries. They also have a small selection of fancy Reserve Teas. And at just $19 per person, or $14 for children under 12, this happens to be the best deal around!