True story: I love the act of tea. Love the taste too, obviously, but the actual ritual and all of the different ways in which each culture celebrates tea is what really makes me appreciate it all the more. There’s nothing quite like getting together with your girlfriends, OR MOM, getting dolled up and heading out for an afternoon of tiny sandwiches and fancy cups of proper tea. I’m familiar with most tea cultures I’d say, but I’d never really thought about the way Americans might do things differently in that regard. I hadn’t exactly believed that we had a special way of doing tea things here in the states until LA’s most recent tea-driven concept hit me with some evidence. Enter the American Tea Room in DTLA: a modern concept/space that reflects American cultural and culinary fusion by way of the fine, age-old art of tea.
The American Tea Room is one of the most interesting and inventive places to open in Los Angeles in quite some time. I mean, it’s not everyday a hip-meets-elegant tea room opens in an industrial part of Downtown. It’s also not everyday that a tea room in general opens in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that LA seems to be going through some tea craze, actual tea rooms seem to be sparse, especially those of the more casual variety. The American Tea Room has carved out a truly special niche for themselves; it’s the perfect place for tea newcomers and novices a like. All curious and tea-partial people are welcome to stop in for a casual beverage or can take it up a notch and stick around for a full afternoon tea service complete with an array of mini treats. I love that The American Tea Room really takes their leafy herbal beverage game seriously (please see the ‘Interactive Tea Zone’ in store for full magnitude of seriousness), but I love that they’ve taken an age-old practice and modernized it without diluting or ruining it. They can create all kinds of completely new and inventive drinks/concoctions, all delicious might I mention, yet still uphold the highest of tea and tea service standards with quality ingredients and presentation. No matter what brings you in to The American Tea Room though, from actual tea to design and/or being in the presence of a “living wall”, there’s just no denying the incredible beauty of it all. No rhyme intended, but none the less appropriately poetic.
Favorite Beverage | I tried several of the drinks from the “Global Tea Bar”… and I can’t say I had a favorite because they were all perfect in their own rights! I tried the Green Tea Tereré (Bliss green + white tea, sweet matcha, lime, orange), the Marrakesh Mojito (Marrakesh green tea, lime, mint, simple syrup), the Himalayan Butter Tea (Nepalese black, oolong Pu Er tea, butter, salt, milk, honey), and the Thai Iced Tea (rich black tea, spices, half & half, sugar). Honestly all were so incredibly unusual yet enjoyable, I suspect you can’t go wrong with any of their tea beverages. Definitely have my eye on the Masala Chai Horchata for my next visit.
Must Order | AFTERNOON TEA SERVICE!!! It’s so fun, so unusual, and such a great way to spend an afternoon with friends. I recommend going all the way and doing their “a bit more” tea service, it’s definitely the bigger more filling option that comes with everything you see in the photos above: sandwiches, petit fours, biscuits and all.
Perfect Spot For | tea // a spot of tea // warm tea // cold tea // crafty tea beverages // a new spot to hang/work in the Arts District // afternoon tea // the parents // something fun/new/interesting // a birthday gathering // an out-of-towner activity
Pro Tip | just because it’s a tea room doesn’t mean they don’t have more things to eat than what you’d expect at a tea service! If you’re hungry, the American Tea Room offers plenty of other wonderful breakfast and lunch items AND pastries from Valerie as well!
Fun Fact | Word on the streets is the American Tea Room will be crafting adult tea beverages in our near future… #SundayFunday anyone?
Bonus Fact | The American Tea Room in Beverly Hills is set to re-open soon! Be on the look out for that as well.
AMERICAN TEA ROOM // 909 S Santa Fe Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90021
HOURS // Monday – Saturday: 9am – 7pm, Sunday: 11am – 5pm