It’s not quite the glamour of London or Paris, but San Francisco does have a few posh places to enjoy one of the most civilized of dining experiences: afternoon tea. Whether it’s a special occasion with family and friends or a much-needed shopping break, it’s a comforting tradition to sip on fine china and snack on sandwiches and sweets.
Typically, the downtown hotels and department stores serve splashy teas, but sadly, with the pandemic, many remain closed. Notably absent from this list: The Palace has shuttered the historic Garden Court, where guests usually settle in under a golden dome filled with chandeliers. And Neiman Marcus has dimmed the Rotunda, that extraordinary glass structure with a sweeping view of Union Square.
But in good news, the Fairmont has reopened to the public, serving an elegant Champagne tea in the Laurel Court. The SF Proper Hotel continues to put out a respectable tea in their well-appointed lounge. And the neighborhood shops are still open for tea-party business. So whether you feel comfortable taking a seat in a parklet, or want to pick up a fabulous takeout box to go, here’s where you can still find a cozy afternoon tea.
As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated indoor and outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities than dining indoors, but the level of risk involved with even outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.Read More