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Venue for Bridal Shower (Tea?) in SF??

HELP! I need to plan a bridal shower in San Francisco for about 15 women. I was thinking maybe an afternoon tea would work well. Any ideas about reasonably affordable places to do something like this? I once went to one at Zibibo in Palo Alto and that was perfect because they had a small room that we used and weren't charged for... something like that would work well. Ideas???

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  1. No private room, but Lovejoy's Tea Room in Noe Valley is a great shower location. Really good sandwiches and a lovely atmosphere.


    1. I second Lovejoy's, no question that would be my first choice. They make your group feel like it's a private party in how they arrange the tables. It's also got a laid-back atmosphere that mititgates againts the negative perceptions some partygoers might have about attending a "tea."

      1. The first thing that came to mind when I saw your post was Lovejoy's - it's PERFECT for a bridal shower. My cousin had a luncheon there for her bridal party when she got married a year and a half ago and it was fabulous. Rockridgechow is right - they arrange the tables in such a way that you totally forget that there are other people around. Great sandwiches and wonderful tea selection. A great spot for a bridal shower.

        1. Yep, Lovejoy's is the place. We had a table right in front for the 9 of us for my 40th birthday (surprise tea party). Most of the women had not been there before, and they all loved it.

          1. Lovejoy's is sooo '90s. It's fine if you want standard (boring) food and mediocre tea (they tend to oversteep & the tea is often old-tasting) but classic "English" tea but really, its such a been there, done that worn sort of place. Sometimes I think the only reason it gets recommended is because everyone has been to an event there, its okay and nobody knows any better so they just keep recommending it -- now that there's real competition in the Tea House field, Lovejoy's really should drop to the bottom.

            If you want some place really fresh, try Poleng Lounge. Or Imperial Tea Court for a more Asian and refined experience.

            Or check out this list of Tea Emporiums...

            2 Replies
            1. re: larochelle

              I've been to Lovejoy's twice in the last month and the tea tasted great, as did everything else.

              1. re: larochelle

                Just went to Lovejoy's today with a reservation for 4 (no special event) and it was wonderful. They have a wide assortment of sandwiches, hot crumpets, decent scones, and many other good nibbles. They have the first petit four my palate has liked. We all had different black teas which were not oversteeped, and not steeped with too hot of water (though that would be harder with the blacks than the greens, which I will try next time). I should also mention that the service was WONDERFUL. They were polite, friendly, and inviting. They really polished off a nice tea service.

                Poleng Lounge, while it has an assortment of teas, isn't really a place to go to have "tea". For an English tea experience, I would definitely recommend Lovejoy's. For Asian tea, then I would recommend Imperial Tea Court, but I don't think the two styles are comparable.

                There are *lots* of places far worse than Lovejoy's. Teavana comes to mind (the water is *always* too hot!).

                Nice to see the article you point to mention Red Blossom.

                Lovejoy's Tea Room
                1351 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                Imperial Tea Court
                1411 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                Red Blossom Tea Company
                831 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

              2. Thanks everyone, but Lovejoy is fully booked!

                Has anyone been to Secret Garden Tea House or Leland Tea? They both look interesting.

                1. This is not a tea house suggestion but I thought I would include the Magic Flute because it is a prettty room and nice people to work with in planning, I attended a recent baby shower at the Magic Flute on Sacramento St. recently. The menu was preset for the 13 ladies in attendance and we were pleased with the Crab Cake Benedict followed by an indulgent chocolate dessert. The area we sat in was semi private and very pretty with room to open gifts. Their brunch menu for weekend event has quite a few options and prices. Website follows: http://magicfluteristorante.com/

                  1. fun Mary, I can't vouch for the food, but Samovar Tea may be a nice setting for your bridal shower. The original location is near the Castro/Noe Valley, but they opened a new location at Yerba Buena Gardens on the top level. My friend went to a bridal shower there and she raved about the location, scenery, and the food. She said she liked the little dumpling things they make. You might want to check into it. They don't have a big indoor seating, so a party like yours will be set up outside. But with the nice weather, it might be a fun day to be outside. Here's their link: http://www.samovartea.com/

                    1. Does Tal-y-Tara Tea and Polo Shop still exist? We enjoyed it a lot when we went there.
                      California at 27th Ave.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Kim Cooper

                        I hosted a shower at Tal Y Tara last August. It was very nice, a success. They have a small patio in the back where we set up, and it was private and felt like a get-a-way. No extra charge for reserving the whole area. They were happy to do it inside too. Food and spirit are good; great value. They don't serve alcohol, but they suggested we bring our own champagne.

                        It's the bread they make their sandwiches that makes it so special. Delicious!
                        The one thing is planning with them is a little anxiety provoking. Maybe it was unique to when I planned. It's a family business and the daughter and son usually run it now. I worked with the mother, who is the founder. The day of the shower they were running late. My co-hostess and I help set up, set tables, etc. Guests helped serve etc. It was fine with us because it felt really comfortable and more like a home. Just good to know that ahead.

                        I've also been to Lovejoy's and tea at the Ritz for showers. I prefer Tal Y Tara is more quaint, homey-- I prefer the food there. Ritz is nice and it also feels like a private area.

                        1. re: Kim Cooper

                          Yes, Tal y Tara is still around. My girlfriend hosted my bridal shower there last May. We had a lovely time. Do know, that my friend who hosted did all the leg work. She and I are both caterers, so we did all the food. As RLN said, it is anxiety provoking as the owners are not the most organized people.

                          Instead, think of it as renting some nice real estate for the afternoon. We started out on the courtyard, but once the fog blew in, we went inside the shop and had the place to ourselves.

                          Great selection of teas and their scones are delish!!

                        2. I've been to Secret Garden, it's just ok. Nothing compared to Lovejoy's, I'm afraid. How about Modern Tea in Hayes Valley? Haven't been there but heard good things. Otherwise, you could try tea at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus on Union Square. It's fancy but they do a nice afternoon tea set and you get a nice view of the square.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Pinkster

                            Modern Tea has a nice interior and could probably fit a big group at one of its large tables but it's not private. You'd be surrounded by other diners. They properly make tea the right way and do have mini foods in the afternoon. (During the rest of the time, they have a normal restaurant menu serving entrees, etc.) I thought about suggesting Modern Tea but it didn't feel as much as a tea place as others. And again, Samovar Tea has the view (Yerba Buena location).

                          2. This may not be what you're looking for, but the Ritz Carlton in SF has a lovely tea and when all is said and done, it's not that expensive. Other places offer more a la carte stuff but it all adds up. I don't think the Ritz has a private room but they often have bridal showers there. I did one there for my best friend a few years ago. It's very elegant and the food is great. They typically have a pianist there during tea hours. I've been to Lovejoy's too - it's fun and cute, but the food doesn't compare to the Ritz.

                            1. i second ritz.
                              i would not recommend poleng.

                              1. Thanks everyone. We decided to do Leland Tea House in the city... they can make it seem very private. The guy who runs it is very sweet and nice and we thought it would be nice to do it there... will keep you posted on how it is. Its $16.95 per person for unlimited food... that is, they keep bringing sandwiches and scones, etc until you stop eating and there is no time limit. Lovejoys and some others impose a 2 hour limit.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: funmarysf

                                  Hi funmarysf, I'm planning a bridal shower in SF as well and wondering what you thought of Leland Tea House. Will you let me know? This is such a hard decision to make!


                                2. We just enjoyed a very nice afternoon tea at Secret Garden. While there, we discovered they have a whole separate, private building in the back garden area that is available for private tea parties. It's really lovely, and since it's indoors, you're not dependent on having good weather (unlike the back patio at Tal-y-Tara). We took a peek, and the space looks perfect for a private tea party. There was a baby shower taking place this afternoon...