High Tea where husband will feel comfortable
As part of my birthday weekend in Manhattan in a couple of weeks, I would like to go to high tea somewhere. I have only been one time to tea and it was at Herrod's in London many years ago. I am looking for a similar experience, but one where when I drag my husband to it, he will feel comfortable. Any ideas?
I am really not trying to be pedantic, although I may sound so... High tea is a late afternoon meal, most commonly associated with farmers and industrial workers (see below for a roughly accurate web enty). Afternoon tea is what you are seeking and generally US places have adopted the wrong name, probably because it sounds snootier, whereas the reverse is true.
""""These are two distinctly different social events.
Even I used to think that High Tea and Afternoon Tea were the same thing: dainty little social events, where one drank tea, ate sweets and little sandwiches. But now I know better. Don't make the same mistake when you are talking about these English tea ceremonies. My wife enjoys an occassional Afternoon Tea, but I think that High Tea would be more to my taste.
This is the one that comes to mind when people think of English tea ceremonies. It all began back in the mid 1800s, when the Duchess of Bedford started having a tray of tea with bread and butter served to her in the mid-afternoon. You see, in those days, lunch was served at noon but dinner was not eaten until 8 or even 9 o'clock at night. The Duchess found herself hungry during those long afternoon hours. It became a regular occurance and as she began to invite other high-society ladies to join her, having Afternoon Tea became the 'in-thing' for the upper-class women. Along with tea, there would be small pastries with clotted cream or preserves, delicate sandwiches, and scones.
Many people use the term "High Tea" to describe the event I've mentioned above, probably because it sounds more elite. But High Tea is a much different thing. It was served later (around six in the evening) and consisted of a full, dinner meal for the common people. Tea was still served, but there would also be meats, fish or eggs, cheese, bread and butter, and cake. It was more of a man's meal, than a ladies social diversion.""""
I have a regular tea group, so I've been to most of the teas offered in the city. I understand your concern regarding your husband, as it is true that a lot of tea venues have a feminine slant. But don't despair; there are several options.
My top 3 for dragging an unwilling husband:
1. The Peninsula -- located in a bar area in the hotel lobby, this is the one venue where men outnumber the women. Most are doing business and making deals. Chairs are deep leather and along with tea you can order drinks from the bar.
2. The Ritz-Carlton -- both uptown and downtown. A very good tea service and no-nonsense. Gracious service but none of the ladies who lunch sensibility. Clubby chairs add to the comfort.
3. St. Regis -- the best tea overall: great food, great service, great atmosphere, top-notch tea. The only things that might be mistaken for frou-frou is the live piano music, bounteous and beautiful flower arrangements and the help of a tea 'sommelier' which may make certain manly men roll their eyes. (Actually, though, the sommelier is helpful in picking out a tea you may enjoy.) This is my personal favorite (plus they will keep bringing out food, no extra charge, until your husband is full ; )
All three are top-notch, about $50 a head all in, but well worth the high end price. Make sure you reserve in advance.
Though both Payard and Lady Mendl are good in their ways, I would not take any dubious males to either. But that's just me.