Settle In for the Best Afternoon Tea in Boston

By Emily Millian
Best Afternoon Tea in Boston
Silver Dove | Credit: Tara Orkofsky

Afternoon tea evolved from the formality of high tea service, meant to be more casual and available to people outside of just the elite. In Boston, afternoon tea is a brunch or bar alternative that has grown in popularity as a great way to spend time with friends, family, or simply yourself. For special occasions and peaceful afternoons alike, check out these spots for the best afternoon tea in Boston.

Courtyard Tea Room at Boston Public Library

Courtyard Tea Room at Boston Public Library
Credit: Cheryl Richards Photography

Courtyard Tea Room at the Boston Public Library is a hidden gem and quintessential tea experience in Back Bay. With high, vaulted ceilings inside Copley Square’s historic McKim Building, the tea room overlooks the Italianate Courtyard, a relaxing garden with ornamental plants and sculptures. Currently run by renowned local outfit the Catered Affair, the Courtyard Tea Room serves tea-infused cocktails and small bites starting at $64 per person. Think: a Manhattan riff with jasmine-black tea vermouth, and Boston Smoked Fish Co. smoked salmon tea sandwiches. For cozier vibes, check out the attached Map Room Tea Lounge.


Trifecta Best Afternoon Tea in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Opulence abounds at Trifecta, the stunning hotel bar at Boston’s Four Seasons One Dalton. Afternoon tea is no exception: the Back Bay lounge offers a splurge-worthy service on weekends. Pots of luxuries from J’enway Tea Co. are matched with a lavish three tiers of treats: foie gras, mini lobster rolls, deviled eggs with osetra caviar, limoncello financier, and more. Each $99 prix-fixe includes a glass of Champagne and a liquor pairing, or there’s a kid-friendly menu with sparkling cider, tea, or hot chocolate. 

The Wicked Thrawl

The Wicked Thrawl
Credit: Kristin Tieg

For a less traditional afternoon tea option, check out The Wicked Thrawl, a weekly pop-up at Brighton sake bar The Koji Club, in action Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. A hidden jewel at the Charles River Speedway, it steeps more than 20 different teas spanning white, green, black, oolong, and herbal. (Let the most clever and amusing tasting notes help you choose!) If you’re sipping in-house, try gaiwan, a traditional Chinese style of tea service which brews leaves in a small bowl with a lid. To eat, The Wicked Thrawl serves light meals like yogurt bowls and assorted toasts meant to match a hot cup of tea. Everything is priced a la carte.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea
Credit: Tara Orkofsky

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea is an intimate tearoom new to downtown Boston from a pair of local bartenders. The indie operators draw inspiration from tea time traditions as well as the modern cocktail bar to offer set menus with options that accomodate allergies and children. Expect to find savory canapes like Coronation Chicken, or Endive Cups with cotija and pomegranate; and sweets such as Currant Scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, and a Calamansi Tart (like Filipino lemon curd). Choose among pots of tea from all around the world, or from a full cocktail list along with a small selection of wine and beer. Fun fact: the entire menu is gluten-free.

Beacon Hill Books & Cafe

Beacon Hill Books & Cafe
Credit: Beacon Hill Books

Nestled on historic Charles Street, Beacon Hill Books & Cafe is new to the neighborhood, but it’s earned quick acclaim among bookworms and gastronomes alike for a highly curated and charming experience. The five-story bookshop offers something different on each floor — including a beautifully airy cafe and patio serving Sunday afternoon tea. With prix-fixe pricing for both adults and children, the Afternoon Tea menu features custom-blended black tea and other options alongside classic tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets like Ginger Golden Chai Shortbread and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Acorns. You can also visit during the week for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee, or even just a post-work drink.

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