Soho House: The AllisMy number one go-to spot for tea is always without a doubt Soho House’s The Allis. For only $24 of pure delight, this is the most affordable option for afternoon tea in the city. Compared to other teas, the servings of the food are quite large making it very filling. I rarely finish the whole service in one sitting. It comes with the traditional sandwiches, scones, and desserts, but the desserts are the standouts. The cake slice and the tart is huge which certainly makes it a worthwhile treat.
The atmosphere can be a little busy at times so it’s not as tranquil on some days, but it’s still an enjoyable afternoon. I would recommend The Allis’s afternoon tea for a beginner of the tea world.
*Price of tea may have changed since this post but it’s still one of the more affordable options.
The Pavillion at The LanghamIf you want to fully submerge yourself in the lap of luxury then look no further than The Langham. Before you even begin your tea service, you are treated to the finest service in the city. The moment you walk through the doors of The Langham, it’s stellar reputation for exceptional service is on the forefront.
The atmosphere is incredibly elegant and peaceful. You can feel yourself melting in the large plush seating. Even when it’s slightly busy, the noise is muted by the lovely lulls of the piano.
As for as the tea service, the culinary staff at The Langham really knows how to treat the palate with some tantalizing bites. They regularly experiment with the menu, so changes occur seasonally.
The Langham really shines with their sandwiches and scones. They provide a twist to many classic dishes making it an exciting dining experience.
In terms of atmosphere coupled with fine dining, The Langham truly exemplifies the experience one should have with Afternoon Tea.
Palm Court at The DrakeThe Drake is a favorite among royals and dignitaries. Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth, and the Empress of Japan have all dined under the lavish marble fountain in The Palm Court. With that kind of reputation, it makes perfect sense that The Drake has afternoon tea down to a science.
The luxurious Palm Court offers afternoon tea year round, with a special edition tea for the Holidays. Like The Langham, the menu gets quite inventive providing a refined culinary experience to the tea service.
The regal atmosphere is topped off with the melodies of a live harpist that plays Wednesdays-Sundays. They are the only tea service in Chicago with a harpist.
If you are really serious about your afternoon tea, The Drake also has a tea club which gives members complimentary afternoon tea.
The Lobby at The PeninsulaThe Peninsula is another favorite among the afternoon tea crowd. The service is offered year round and features your traditional afternoon tea offerings. It’s a favorite Holiday tradition among many as the whole lobby transforms into a winter wonderland.
In the center of the Lobby, there lies a giant Christmas tree and on some days carolers provide Holiday melodies.
While you dine, you can enjoy the sights of ice skaters skating around the pristine Shanghai Terrace. And if you aren’t too full from your delightful meal, you can head to the terrace for a few laps around the rink.
This is one of the most popular of the afternoon tea spots especially around the Holidays so make your reservations early!
Russian Tea TimeAfternoon Tea is a popular custom around the world, so see how Russia has their tea at the popular downtown tea house Russian Tea Time.
The complete service is another affordable afternoon tea experience for those of you who want the luxury but at an accessible price.
The atmosphere itself is warm and inviting and it’s draped in red. It mirrors a traditional Russian Tea House so you can be assured that you are getting an authentic experience.
The menu features traditional tea offerings but with Russian dishes such as the Bizze and piroshki bites.
If you really like your tea, many of the teas are available for sale on their website
Upside Down Tea Party-Virgin HotelsFor those of you looking for a slight rebellion from the sophistication of afternoon tea, then head to Virgin Hotels for their Upside Down Tea Party.
The tea service is limited only to the weekends, but they offer something none of the other services offer; boozy tea. The booze-infused tea from Rare tea Cellars is a unique twist to traditional afternoon tea. It almost seems as if you are drinking a cocktail.
The food selections are petite featuring a shortbread cookie for dessert and traditional salmon and cucumber tea sandwiches. The main selling point of the service is the array of boozy tea. I wrote a full review on my experience a few months back
Those are my top picks for afternoon tea experiences in Chicago! Even though many are offered year round, be sure to really get into the Holiday spirit with some of the special Holiday tea services.