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Boston: Five places to enjoy afternoon tea

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 (Jonah crabmeat, ginger and cider mayo for example) followed by a selection of scones and pastries (pumpkin macarons, whipped maple verrines 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 Reserve at the Langham

A luxury afternoon tea is served at stately downtown hotel The Langham in the elegant lobby lounge known as The Reserve. Mixing up the classics with some modern menu twists, the sweet treats selection is particularly appealing with a maple custard filled cream puff, a peppermint cocoa cupcake and a brandied egg nog trifle stealing the show. Preceding the puds are savouries ranging from smoked salmon sandwiches to turkey and cranberry-stuffed vol-au-vents, all accompanied by a selection of fine teas served with bespoke infusers and accessories.

The Reserve 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. The menu includes dainty finger sandwiches, filled brioches, and an assortment of desserts and scones 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 1pm and 3.30pm.

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 six varieties of sandwich, including deviled 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, pastries and custom-blended teas, 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

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Afternoon tea © iStock: SergioZacchi