High tea is a magical afternoon meal that allows you to shamelessly celebrate gluttony while feeling like a refined British person. Traditionally offered in the late afternoon, high tea is served with a pot of tea and an assortment of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and delicious pastries. High tea offers the opportunity for a memorable date or fun place to take your book club.
Luckily, Austin has a number of superb restaurants, tea shops, and even movie theaters where you can indulge in the full high tea experience.
1/ Cafe Ruckus
If you’re looking for the classic high tea experience with a touch of whimsy, look no further than Cafe Ruckus. Conveniently located in downtown Austin, this locally-owned cafe transforms into a Victorian tea room every Sunday. The playfully mismatched china adds a cozy, homey touch. Guests can even choose from a selection of fancy hats to wear during tea time for an extra bit of British charm.
Cafe Ruckus has been serving Austin tea since Mother’s Day 2014. Originally expected to be a one-time special occasion, the event was so popular that they’ve continued tea service every Sunday since then.
Patrons can choose from a traditional high tea or sparkling high tea which both come with bottomless tea, finger sandwiches, scones, and assorted tea cookies. The sparkling high tea is served with a glass of Prosecco (because nothing goes better with classy afternoon tea than a little bubbly). Cafe Ruckus also offers a children’s tea with smaller quantities of goodies and a choice of tea or hot cocoa.
409 W. 2nd St. – Website
2/ The Steeping Room
For a high tea experience that allows you to travel the globe without ever leaving Austin, you absolutely must try The Steeping Room. With two locations–one at The Domain and one on North Lamar–The Steeping Room has been offering high tea service since they opened a decade ago.
Not only that, but they have around 90 teas on their menu from tea artisans all over the world, including seasonal teas from India, Nepal, China and Sri Lanka. They offer a traditional European tea service with scones, tea cakes, and coffee or tea. If you fancy something a bit more exotic, they also offer Middle Eastern or Asian-style tea service.
You can try any of these delectable offerings from 11 a.m. until close every day of the week. A special Sunday Brunch tea service runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the great variety of tea and tea services, The Steeping Room prides itself on being able to modify most of their menu offerings for gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian diners.
Multiple locations – Website
3/ Full English
For an authentic taste of Britain in South Austin, your high tea of choice can be found at Full English. The owners of this friendly, family-run restaurant make everything by hand, using local ingredients whenever possible. They serve British specialities like a Full English breakfast, bangers (sausages), fish and chips, and high tea. The tea room has an eclectic, vintage feel, as well as a back patio where dogs are welcome.
There is a selection of hot tea, but you’re welcome to enjoy iced tea or another beverage with your tea service. High tea includes finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and cookies. You can even BYOB (bring your own bubbly) if you want to have a Champagne tea.
2000 Southern Oaks Dr. – Website
4/ Alamo Drafthouse
Tea in a cafe makes perfect sense, but what about high tea in a movie theater? Luckily, Austin has some unique theaters to choose from. Among them, Alamo Drafthouse has a Signature Series called Afternoon Tea where period films accompany tea and treats. It’s the perfect recipe for a sophisticated afternoon. Your ticket to the movie gets you three servings of tea and three courses of sandwiches and pastries.
Past films have included “Sense and Sensibility” and “Little Women.” Alamo Drafthouse doesn’t have an Afternoon Tea every month, but keep checking the website because these fun events are not be missed.
Multiple locations – Website
If you haven’t enjoyed high tea lately, gather some friends and prepare to while away an hour or two in a place where the sandwiches are always crustless and the tea kettles bottomless.
- “Top 4 Cafes for Tea Enthusiasts in Austin”
- “Vintage is Vogue With The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co.”
- “The Tea Spot Offers Rare Exposure to Authentic Chinese Tea”
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite tea place in Austin?
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