Boston: Five Places to Enjoy Afternoon Tea

By: Maxine Sheppard

August 7, 2012

In 1773, a group of colonists threw hundreds of tea chests overboard into Boston Harbour as a protest against ‘taxation without representation’ which eventually led to the Declaration of Independence. Today the tradition of taking afternoon tea in the proud city of Boston is alive and well, so for your own modern-day Boston Tea Party, check out our recommendations below…


The Bristol Lounge at Four Seasons

For luxurious surroundings and impeccable service it’s hard to beat the refined and elegant Bristol Lounge at the Boston Four Seasons. Floor to ceiling windows look out over the lagoon and swan boats of the Boston Public Garden on one side; to the other is a cosy bar area in the event of afternoon tea accidentally dragging on into cocktail hour. Fifteen different types of tea are available, from English Breakfast and Darjeeling to Oolong Jade and Sencha Green, along with the usual selection of delectable scones and pastries. Available daily.


The Bristol Lounge, Boston Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston Street, Boston

Boston Harbor Hotel

Down at Rowes Wharf, the Boston Harbor Hotel‘s Rowes Wharf Sea Grille restaurant serves afternoon tea in a contemporary setting overlooking the waterfront. Proceedings begin with a glass of Piper Heidsieck Champagne at your rose petal-strewn table, shortly followed by a tiered tray of sandwiches (Maine lobster and lemon salad, griddled Vermont cheddar and spinach for example) and a selection of scones and pastries (Boston cream profiteroles, fruit tartlettes and Macadamia currant scones). The neighbouring marina makes for a decent post-tea stroll. Served daily between 2.30 and 4pm.



Afternoon Tea at Boston Harbor Hotel © Rowe's Wharf Sea Grille Afternoon Tea at Boston Harbor Hotel © Rowe’s Wharf Sea Grille


Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston

Bond Restaurant at the Langham

Afternoon Tea at the luxury downtown Bond Restaurant at the Langham is known as ‘Metropolitan Tea‘ and aims to mix up the classics with some modern menu twists. The starter selection is particularly delicious with a foraged mushroom and creme fraiche tart, and a salmon ham roulade with cape cranberry relish stealing the savoury show. Eggnog trifle, chocolate dipped strawberries, apple spice cake and French macarons follow, along with a selection of fine teas served with custom-designed infusers and accessories. Served daily from 3pm – 5pm.



The Langham Afternoon Tea © Langham Hotels International Ltd The Langham Afternoon Tea © Langham Hotels International Ltd


Bond Restaurant at the Langham Hotel, 250 Franklin Street, Boston

The French Room at Taj Boston

A very traditional afternoon tea in opulently formal surroundings, the experience at The French Room at Taj Boston dates back to 1927 and includes being serenaded by a harpist. It’s a grand setting, no doubt – with crystal chandeliers, original paintings and sculptures adorning the room – but the atmosphere is far more friendly than fusty. There are two different menus available: The Taj Royal (with added canapes including lobster profiteroles) and The Duchess, along with a special Children’s Tea for kids who’d prefer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot chocolate. Available on Saturdays and Sundays, with seatings at 1.30pm and 3.30pm.



The French Room © 2012 The Indian Hotels Company Ltd The French Room © 2012 The Indian Hotels Company Ltd


The French Room, Taj Boston, 15 Arlington Street, Boston 

Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library

For an altogether different, non-hotel experience, we recommend the Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library‘s 1895 McKim building in Copley Square. The menu includes five varieties of sandwich, including tomato with crumbled bacon and apricot chicken salad, and a range of pastries from devilish chocolate ‘sinclairs’ to champagne peach and vanilla tartlets. The restaurant looks out over the central Renaissance-style cloister courtyard with its arcaded gallery and fountain, and worth exploring elsewhere in the building are murals by John Singer Sargent and the exquisite coffered ceiling of the great Bates Hall reading room. Wednesdays to Fridays only, 2pm – 4pm.

Courtyard Restaurant, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston

Header photo © walknboston

Virgin Atlantic operates daily direct flights to Boston from London Heathrow.

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

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