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Best Places for Afternoon Tea in Chicago

Best Places For Afternoon Tea in Chicago

Nothing is more high class than a traditional tea service—sipping from classic china cups while noshing on dainty sandwiches and pastries for a couple hours on a plushy couch sounds just like heaven to us. It's one of our favorite traditions passed on by the Brits. Good thing you don't have to go across the pond to find a proper high tea, as Chicago has a number of luxurious venues to enjoy the best version of an afternoon snack. Now, would you like one sugar cube or two? 

Palm Court at The Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel's Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea at The Drake Hotel's Palm Court (©E3 Photography)

Like the rest of Chicago, we have been spoiling ourselves with the afternoon tea at The Drake Hotel for many, many years. The hotel's grand 1920s Art Deco style sets the scene as you ascend the stairs to be greeted by a harpist playing next to the Palm Court's lavish fountain. An elevated classic selection of bites is offered, including truffle egg salad and lobster and shrimp salad finger sandwiches, in addition to seasonal petit fours and English scones. The tea list is complete with the most delectable jasmine green tea we've ever had the pleasure of smelling. Served Th-Su, 1-5 pm. 140 E. Walton Pl., 312.787.2200

The Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Chicago

When Richard Branson is involved, you know there's going to be a touch of British rock-n-roll eccentricity. And in the case of the tea service at The Commons Club in the Virgin Hotels Chicago, it gets a hint of Alice in Wonderland with the Upside Down Tea Party. What makes it upside down? The boozy tea cocktails made with gin and Rare Tea Cellar flavors, served in unique tall stemmed tea cups (think a wine glass and china cup in one). Nosh includes warm blueberry scones, the lightest coconut macaroons we've ever had (complete with a chocolate drizzle), and petite chocolate tarts filled with a caramel surprise. We can't think of a better way to celebrate a very, very unbirthday. Served Sa, Su 2-5 pm. 203 N. Wabash Ave., 312.940.4400

Vanille Patisserie

If there was an afternoon tea service equivalent to jetting off to Paris on the London chunnel train, it would be the très French menu at Vanille Patisserie's Lincoln Park location. The bakery is already known for its absolutely incredible pastries, but when you make them teeny, it's all just too adorable to handle. Finger sandwiches are replaced with petit buttery croissants topped with Black Forest ham and Gruyere cheese, and are accompanied by colorful macarons and Vanille's signature petit ambre bars—they might be bite-sized, but the caramel and lemon treats pack a punch. All is accompanied by a selection of Benjamin's Tea; our favorite flavor is Love, a fruity rose petal blend. Served Th-Su at noon, 2 pm or 4 pm. 2108 N. Clark St., 773.868.4574


Afternoon Tea at Vanille
Afternoon Tea at Vanille Patisserie (Courtesy Vanille Patisserie)

The Allis at Soho House Chicago 

It would be remiss for this London institution-turned-West Loop hotspot not to serve an afternoon tea. The selection is just as cool as the Soho House's public lounge—in addition to a full tea-time spread, there's the option to order cakes and sandwiches à la carte, along with a glass of bubbly. The most interesting part of the service is the tea selection itself. Loose-leaf tea options include Mallorca melon (for a tasty tropical getaway in a cup) featuring Spanish cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, hibiscus and Seville orange; Black Canadian ice wine elixir for a grape-filled black tea; and Italian Green Almondine, a blend of Chinese green tea with fresh-pressed Italian almond oil. Served daily 2:30-5 pm. 113-125 N. Green St., 312.521.8000

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

New school meets old school at this hotel. And now the chic Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel has entered the tea-time ring. But don't expect a stuffy atmosphere here. The Modern Tea is just that, complete with a "TJay" to set the mood. The service features silver, geometrical tiers as opposed to the traditional three-level plating, showing off the bite-sized eats in an Instagram-worthy setting. Choose from four tea menus (traditional, sweet, savory or Eastern) to whet your afternoon appetite, along with a pot of tea from the hotel's Rishi collection. Served F-Su 2-4 pm. 221 N. Columbus Dr., 312.477.0234

Modern Tea at Filini
Modern Tea at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel (©Fig Media)