It’s New York Fashion Week from 6th-9th February. As fashionistas from around the world descend on the Big Apple (or should that be the Big Cuppa?), we take a look at the tea renaissance that has been taking place in this city – famous for its coffee drinkers – over the past few years.
Afternoon tea is an oh-so-chic way to pause and take a breath between the New York Fashion Week shows. Tea has become the beverage du jour in NYC in recent years. According to a number of tea loving bloggers and the many artisan tea shops springing up across the city, the good, old-fashioned afternoon tea and cosy cuppa have now become part of New York ritual – particularly at weekends. The city more traditionally associated with a steaming cup of coffee is simply crazy about tea these days, it seems.
Whether you want a good quality cuppa on the go, instead of that cup of Joe; or perhaps you would prefer to sit down for an oh so refined afternoon tea in The City That Never Sleeps? Maybe you’re an Englishman or Englishwoman in New York feeling that pang of homesickness, and want a taste of good old Blighty? Whatever your tastes, there’s something for everyone – so we recommend our top places to ‘take tea’ like a pro in New York City.
For a truly civilised afternoon tea, oozing old-school glamour, it has to be the Plaza. Standing proudly in its prime spot overlooking Central Park since 1907, the imposing and inspiring Plaza has hosted many a famous and fashionable face over the past century. The stunning surroundings of the Palm Court transport you back to times gone by, with a pianist and beautifully set tables. With an impressive selection of different afternoon teas, you can choose if you want to try your hand at being a native New Yorker yourself with the absolutely fabulous New Yorker Afternoon Tea
Top tip: tried, tested and recommended by the Chateau Rouge team.
Or why not treat yourself to some bubbles and have a Champagne Tea? Much deserved after a long day taking in the shows.
With a hotel standing on the site since 1893, The Waldorf Astoria is a New York institution, designated an official New York Landmark in 1993. Walking through the lobby (lovingly restored in 2013) is like stepping back into the Jazz Age – it’s spectacular! There’s a choice of indulgent surroundings where you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea in this historic building, giving you the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and people watch to your heart’s content.
If you’re craving some home comforts, Tea & Sympathy, in the hip and happening West Village, is the place to be. With a traditional English tea room and restaurant serving afternoon teas and hearty English food such as pie and mash, bangers and mash, Shepherd’s Pie, cheese and pickle sandwiches and roast dinners, this is a slice of quintessential Englishness in New York City. There’s also a shop, selling teapots, teacups, tea and English sweets and treats. Jaffa Cake, anyone?
If you don’t have time for afternoon tea, but still want to combine the spirit of NYC with a comforting cuppa, may we suggest Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Channel the forever fashionable and fabulous Audrey Hepburn in the iconic role of the effortlessly stylish Holly Golightly in the 1961 film by sipping from a hot cuppa and enjoying a Danish pastry.
Top tip: You can recreate this movie moment yourself – you can find some great quality tea, coffee or hot chocolate and tasty patisserie at the Plaza Food Hall. Then just wander just across Fifth Avenue to gaze into the window of this most iconic of shop windows. On that note, if you’re a fan of the film and Audrey Hepburn, we recommend a book that tells the story of behind the scenes at the making of this well-loved celebration of New York, Fifth Avenue, 5am:Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman.
Closer to home, you can still keep up with the latest shows and designers online with a nice cup of tea. There’s sure to be something at Chateau Rouge to tickle the taste buds.
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Seán Farrell – Founder, Chateau Rouge