New York's Tea & Sympathy For Those Oh So British Scones


I’m not a huge fan of restaurants that don’t take reservations, and I’m even less of a fan when there’s a 1.5 hour wait.  Outside.  In the cold. But Tea & Sympathy has been on my afternoon tea radar for sometime, and seeing as how we blocked off the entire Saturday afternoon for the small pleasures of scones and British accents, we wo-manned up and stuck out the wait (this was a few weeks ago, on one of those 17 degree days…pity party, table of 3 please!)


Not only does the cafe not take rezzies, they also don’t have a proper list where they write your name down in order of appearance…it’s all done on the honor system of who-got-here-first, which can be a bit confusing when there’s a large crowd of people milling outside the cafe.  And every time someone would ask how long the wait was the standard response was “30-45 minutes” (even after we had been standing there over an hour.)


Oh! And your entire party MUST be present when they finally do get around to calling your name, or else they skip right on over to the next group. Important to know that you can’t just leave one person there to hold the spot while the rest of the group window shops the West Village, as was my original idea;-)


With all these rules that go directly against my Type-A personality, I was prepared to dislike Tea & Sympathy, I really was.  Once we finally were called in, fingers full of frostbite, tummies a’ grumbling, I was muttering “this better be the best scone I’ve ever put in my mouth after that nonsense”–(what can I say?  NYC has robbed me of my patience.)


Now–I can’t say for sure if I was so cold and ravished by the time we sat down that anything would have tasted like the best scone ever, or if it really was the best scone + clotted cream + jam ever, but it was a really enjoyable tea.  (Tea turned dinner at this point–and the veggie pie was really hearty and delicious, too!)



Do you frequent places that don’t take reservations, and if so, what’s the longest you’re willing to wait?  Let’s chat in the comments below!


Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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