Boston: Five Places to Enjoy Afternoon Tea

By: Virgin Atlantic

May 8, 2019

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…

Boston Harbor Hotel

Down at Rowes Wharf, the Boston Harbor Hotel‘s Rowes Wharf Sea Grille serves afternoon tea in a contemporary setting overlooking the waterfront. Proceedings begin with a tiered tray of sandwiches (maple smoked salmon, peppered chicken breast and shaved pastrami for example) followed by a selection of scones and pastries (lemon-drop cookies, fresh fruit tarts and vanilla bean scones). The neighbouring marina makes for a decent post-tea stroll. Look out for special themed teas at certain times of year.

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

The Lobby Lounge at Mandarin Oriental

In an elegant setting in sophisticated Back Bay, Mandarin Oriental’s Blossom Afternoon Tea may only be seasonal but what it lacks in longevity it certainly makes up for in flavour and style. Served on contemporary circular tea trays, the finger sandwiches include jamon de Paris and mango chicken salad, while the cutting edge sweet treats are floral-themed, with the matcha crème brûlée tarts, strawberry and lemongrass charlottes and warm comfit pomelo scones with sakura-raspberry jam stealing the show. A choice of Champagnes and bespoke tea blends rounds off the ritual.

The Lobby Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, 776 Boylston Street, Boston

Abigail’s Tea Room & Terrace

Abigail’s Tea Room & Terrace is located inside the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, where you can learn more about how the Boston Tea Party influenced the course of United States history on a fully immersive tour. When you’ve finished exploring the two authentically renovated tea ships, head over to Abigail’s for an afternoon tea experience that includes a tea tasting featuring five historic teas, as well as a choice of sweet treats and savouries including local pride and joy, the Boston cream pie.

Abigail’s Team Room & Terrace, 306 Congress St, 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 six varieties of sandwich, including herbed chicken and lemony shrimp salad, and a range of pastries from chocolate ‘sinclairs’ to fresh fruit tartlets with vanilla crème patisserie. 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. Look out for the annual seasonal Winter Tea which runs from late November to early January.

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


Located on Boylston Street in well-to-do Back Bay, award-winning New England-French restaurant L’Espalier serves a renowned afternoon tea designed by tea sommelier Cynthia Gold. Along with the usual sandwiches, custom-blended teas and delectable pastries – fig tartlettes, blackberry macarons, and peach and vanilla choux swans for starters –  L’Espalier’s menu add-ons include a cheese cart, a selection of Champagnes by the glass, or a ‘Southern Earl Grey’ signature tea cocktail. Available weekends only, from 1.30pm – 2.45pm.

L’Espalier, adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental, 774 Boylston Street, Boston

Two more of the finest places to enjoy afternoon tea in Boston – the historic Taj and Langham hotels – are currently undergoing renovations, but both will be back in action by early 2020.

Enjoy a fine afternoon tea on your next trip to Boston © Shutterstock

Virgin Atlantic operates a daily direct service to Boston from London Heathrow.

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