Afternoon Tea at The Allis in Chicago
You know I love Afternoon Tea…or maybe you don’t.
Well, I do, and I am well on my way to sampling all that Chicago has to offer in the way of this pleasing between-meal repast. Let’s see…I’ve enjoyed Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula , The Drake, The Langham, The Celtic Knot, Russian Tea Time, and now The Allis.
Alright, now I have to tell you the sort of bad news…while the aforementioned tea outings have been wonderful, none of them has compared to the Afternoon Tea experienced across the pond – yet.
In Britain, tea at Brown’s Hotel and The Milestone Hotel have set the standard for me thus far. And the Afternoon Tea my husband and I shared while staying at Inverlochy Castle in the Scottish Highlands was also a highlight. But you know, they’ve had a tea culture much longer than we have, so it’s understandable. Afternoon Tea is also more common over there.
Some places in Chicago only offer it during the holiday season. However, there are still places to try in Chicago, and try them I will. All in good time. But today, I want to tell you about Afternoon Tea at The Allis.
The Allis is part of the Soho House group which is a membership organization, but you needn’t subscribe to enjoy their restaurants. I actually had dinner at The Allis last holiday season, so this marked my second venture to the historic 1907 building made sort of boho-chic with its breezy vintage-industrial space.
When having afternoon tea, you can opt for the regular tea menu or the sparkling tea, which is a bit more expensive, but much more enjoyable. Personally, a little sparkly, or a glass of Sherry makes the meal complete for me.
I tend to notice the china and glassware used when I have tea. This was a nice little cut-glass number and made the drinking more festive.
There’s a lovely openness to the space, and chairs and tables of different sizes are sprinkled throughout the elongated lobby and restaurants. You can also dine or take tea outside if the weather is cooperating.
As with most Afternoon Tea, samplings included a plate of finger sandwiches, macarons, scones, and pastries.
The pastries, and especially the scones, were quite good. The finger sandwiches were thin on filling. I know that such delicacies are not to be overstuffed, but they kind of just tasted like bread. That was a bit of a disappointment as the finger sandwiches are usually my favorite part of the tea.
Let’s talk about the service at The Allis…
It’s a little spotty.
That’s not to say that the young man who waited on us was not polite – he was. BUT…one thing that I did not like was that everything came out at once. As in tea and sparkling wine were delivered at the same time. To me, this doesn’t work. I don’t want to have to drink both at the same time, and if you leave the tea, it gets very strong and not as enjoyable. I feel like if I’m paying extra for the ‘sparkling’ option, I should get to enjoy it without feeling like I’m rushing to drink it so that I can get to my tea before it becomes overtaken with tannins.
Also, there was no cream/milk, sugar or lemon on the table or offered. This seems like a bit of an oversight to me, and something that should just be there.
Lastly, our waiter, nice as he was, disappeared. We were never offered more hot water for our teapot, and had to ask someone else for our bill -as did the table next to us.
However, I will say that the lovely atmosphere, and the tasty scones and pastries made this some place that I would still recommend and come back to. So, if you’re in the city and looking for a pleasant way to pass an hour or two, do stop in to The Allis, and enjoy their beautiful surroundings.