Afternoon tea may be a well-established tradition in England, but the practise of enjoying a parade of finger sandwiches, scones and miniature cakes in the early hours of the afternoon has been embraced by many countries around the world, such as Hong Kong and India. Ireland is no different, with the country’s capital city of Dublin being home to a whole host of impressive afternoon teas.
While afternoon tea was originally invented as a light snack to keep high society ladies full between lunch and dinner (back when it was fashionable to serve dinner well past 8pm), these days it has taken on something of a life of its own. Afternoon tea is now seen as a particularly special treat which is a meal time all of its own. One that comes with all the extra frills and fun that you would expect to find at a special occasion - we are talking plush surrounds, fancy silverware and usually the option to add a glass of bubbles to proceedings.
If you are on the hunt for the best Dublin afternoon teas, you won’t be disappointed. The vibrant city is home to a number of tempting afternoon teas, which range from the fiercely traditional to the wonderfully unconventional. Afternoon tea might be a centuries old pastime, but in Dublin it has moved with the times, meaning you will be able to find a Dublin vegan afternoon tea and even a Gentleman’s Tea, which replaces dainty finger sandwiches with slightly more filling savoury options. There are plenty of afternoon teas which allow you to add booze into the equation too, while lots of the Dublin afternoon teas in our list are found at chic hotels, if you’re looking to make a weekend of it.
Check out our pick of the best afternoon teas in Dublin below and enjoy stuffing your face with sandwiches and sweet treats - it’s the perfect way to while away an afternoon.
The Lord Mayor’s Lounge at The Shelbourne Hotel
What: Afternoon tea doesn’t come much more traditional than at The Mayor’s Lounge, an opulent tea room found within the five-star Shelbourne Hotel that overlooks the manicured St Stephen’s Green. The menu of savouries, scones and sweet treats is as traditional as the setting, but there are a few welcome nods to the hotel’s Irish heritage, including a starting snack of whiskey cured smoked salmon served atop Guinness bread.
Where: The Shelbourne Hotel, 27 St Stephen's Green, D02 K224
What: While House may be best known for its cocktail selection, this chic Dublin restaurant with rooms also serves a unique afternoon tea. House eschews tradition, instead opting for unconventional savouries such as a cajun chicken wrap and replacing bite-size sweets with the likes of an apple and caramel tart. As for the tea? Well that’s pretty special too, featuring blends such as gunpowder and mango, but can be swapped out for a glass of fizz if you’re feeling fancy.
Where: House Dublin 27 Lower Leeson Street
The Merrion Hotel
What: For us, the joy of afternoon tea is all in the visuals, and The Merrion Hotel certainly does not disappoint with its Art Tea. Almost too pretty to eat, the selection begins with finger sandwiches and scones, before moving on to eclairs and miniature puddings inspired by the works of famous artists such as J.B Yeats and William Scott. You can wash it all down with a range of luxury teas, while a dedicated vegan version of the tea ensures all are welcome.
Where: Upper Merrion Street
The Vintage Teapot
What: Taking its inspiration from the tea rooms of China, The Vintage Teapot serves an east-meets-west selection inside a multi-tiered wooden bird cage. Once you’ve finished snapping pictures of that for your Instagram feed, you can begin munching on the likes of blinis topped with horseradish cream and anchovies or chicken, mustard and pepper squares. To accompany your food, there is a selection of traditional Chinese teas to try.
Where: 8 Cathedral Street, D01 V0C6
Lady Jane at The Davenport Hotel
What: The Davenport is a contemporary and stylish hotel that’s home to Lady Jane, a chic all-day restaurant complete with marble-topped tables which serves afternoon tea on the weekends. There are four kinds to choose from: a traditional tea featuring finger sandwiches followed by scones and sugary treats, a ‘G & Afternoon Tea’ served with Irish gin, a Sparkling Tea served with a glass of Prosecco or a Laurent-Perrier tea accompanied by a bottle of Champagne.
Where: 8 Merrion Street, D02DX57
What: It’s no surprise that most of the restaurants featured in our list of Dublin’s best afternoon teas are found in the city’s finest hotels - because when better to indulge in afternoon tea than when on holiday? Radisson Blu welcomes both residents and visitors to its afternoon tea though, which kicks off with the likes of an egg, chive and rocket mini slider, before moving on to the likes of sticky fruit cake and strawberry and almond bakewell bites.
Where: Golden Lane
The Hazel House
What: Tucked away in the Dublin mountains, you’ll find Hazel House, a cutesy multi-faceted venue which features a craft cafe, petting farm and wood workshop. The afternoon tea here makes use of the cakes and other sweet treats which are baked in-house daily, while if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even arrange for tea to be served to you at the summit of Tibradden Mountain, after you’ve completed your hike to the top.
Where: Mutton Lane, Tibradden
What: Nearby bustling Grafton Street, you’ll find the elegant Westbury hotel, which serves a daily afternoon tea in its opulent first-floor lounge. Although the surrounds are plush, the atmosphere isn’t stuffy and the tea menu is filled with tempting fare - think smoked salmon, pickled cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches followed by buttermilk scones topped with clotted cream and raspberry preserve. Oh, there’s also a real-life Champagne trolley to pick your fizz from.
Where: Balfe Street, D02 CH66
What: Alongside a selection of organic teas and infusions, The Dylan provides guest with an assortment of finger sandwiches (its signature is the Irish smoked salmon served with crème fraiche, capers and pomegranate on brown soda bread) followed by indulgent treats such as lemon tartlet with ginger crumble or chocolate brownie with passionfruit marshmallow. The contemporary surrounds are a pretty picture too, making it perfect for a relaxing afternoon visit.
Where: Eastmoreland Place
The Vintage Tea Tours
What: If you think you have tried every afternoon tea under the sun, we’re willing to bet that you haven’t yet enjoyed finger sandwiches and scones on a moving bus. That’s exactly what The Vintage Tea Tours offers, allowing guests to take in the city’s sights while tapping their feet to some 1950’s music and of course, scoffing cakes and pastries. The best bit? There are vegetarian and vegan versions available, so no one has to miss out on the fun.
Where: 4-6 Essex Street
The Cake Cafe
What: Billing itself as ‘Dublin’s best kept secret’, this popular cafe might not fly under the radar as much as it thinks it does - but when the afternoon tea is this good, it’s no surprise that people want to shout about it. The Cake Cafe serves up a selection of sandwiches atop freshly made bread that’s baked in-house, alongside an assortment of miniature cakes. You can of course enjoy your food with cups of freshly brewed tea, or instead opt for a glass of wine or Prosecco.
Where: 8 Pleasants Place
What: Want to feel like you’ve been whisked off to Paris for the afternoon? Then head to Laduree for a spot of afternoon tea. You’ll begin with an assortment of sandwiches (think fillings such as salmon, chicken and tuna) before tucking in to two Laduree desserts of your choice, a scone and your pick of four of Laduree’s world famous macarons. You can pair your feast with tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Where: 1-3 William Street, D02 K339
The Atrium Lounge at The Westin
What: Home to a five-storey high glass ceiling, The Atrium Lounge at Dublin’s The Westin hotel sure is a show-stopping venue for afternoon tea. Settle into the plush blue club chairs and tuck into the Signature Afternoon Tea, which begins with a range of finger sandwiches, which then make way to homemade scones and a handful of sweet delicacies, such as warm chocolate fondant and black forest mousse.
Where: College Green, Westmoreland Street
What: Afternoon tea, with its sugar-tastic treats, is hardly thought of as a healthy meal option, but Pog challenges that assumption with its all-vegan offering. Proving that plant-based doesn’t have to mean no flavour, the afternoon tea here is available with or without bubbles and consists of a vegan pulled pork melt, followed by sourdough toast smeared in various toppings and superfood shots to knock back. You’ll be happy to know there’s a dessert selection too, including red berry cheesecake and banana and walnut bread.
Where: Trinity Plaza, Tara Street, D02 YP46
What: Afternoon tea is traditionally seen as a female pastime, but who says that the ladies should get to enjoy all of the fun? At The Morrison hotel, you can order a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, which swaps out finger sandwiches for slightier heftier alternatives - think a savoury bacon and cheese scone and a 3oz steak sandwich. The sweet treats remain however, featuring the likes of whiskey chocolate truffles and a caramel and honeycomb pot.
Where: Ormond Quay Lower
Prefer to socialise in the evening? Check out our pick of the 15 best pubs in Dublin.