Fortunately, Chicago has several options for those who simply want tea, pastries and little sandwiches.
Some of the teas are served in notable hotels. The Drake at 140 E Walton Place is along the northernmost stretch of the Magnificent Mile. The afternoon tea is served from 1 to 5 pm in their Tea Lobby. Seatings last an hour and a half, and feature live harp performances. The tea runs $36 and reservations are recommended.
The Lockwood Restaurant in the Palmer House at 17 E Monroe Street serves tea from 2 to 4 pm daily. They offer a selection of rare tea cellar teas. The sitting is $35 and reservations are recommended. Despite being burned down in the Great Chicago Fire only 13 days after opening, the Palmer House was rebuilt and reopened in 1873. It remains the United States’ oldest continually operating hotel.
The Peninsula Hotel at 108 E Superior offers an afternoon tea in The Lobby. They offer a vegan and gluten-free menu for those of delicate natures. Weekday teas are from 3 to 5 pm, Saturdays 2:30 to 4:30 pm and Sundays 4 to 6pm. They also feature Fashion Friday Afternoon Teas with an informal fashion show on selected weeks. You could expect to pay around $39.
Russian Tea Time at 77 E Adams provides an afternoon tea service from 2:30 to 4:30 daily. They specialize in a combination of Eastern European and Central Asian flavors. The Tashkent carrot salad was a delight, and I don’t particularly care for carrots. Their full tea service starts at $27.95 and also features an array of a la carte treats.
Tipsycake at 1944 N Damen serves a Traditional Afternoon Tea from 2 to 5 pm. As a bakery, they specialize in custom designed wedding cakes. The window displays are colorful and jaw-dropping. Their scones are buttery as opposed to sweet, and are served with clotted cream and gourmet jam. Tea runs $22.
Perhaps after sampling these, you will invite us over for your own tea party. Please do not think us too forward.