I sure do love a spot that dresses up for the holidays, and Oscar Wilde did not disappoint! New York City’s elaborately designed, Victoria-style bistro has a long marble bar for cocktails & American bites and is famous for its tea and sweets (including scones).
We headed to this central Chelsea spot for afternoon tea and were absolutely delighted by the attention to detail they showed with their Halloween decor. Skeletons and spiderwebs everywhere! I can only imagine how magical it must look in December for Christmas! The restaurant itself is huge by NYC standards, which means you don’t feel squished to the table next to you, and you also don’t feel rushed to get out of there after your table has been cleared.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde
Afternoon tea is offered on weekends only, from 11:30 am until 4 pm. And, at $30 a person, it’s a pretty sweet steal (again, by NYC standards.) Pimento cheese is included in the sandwich selection which was exciting for a girl from the south, and their scones are fantastic. For sweets, it was a lovely little selection of macarons and a lemon meringue tart, topped with fruit.
The china is vintage-style and mismatched, which makes it extra fun.
The bistro is driven by the spirit of the Irish Playwright Oscar Wilde of course — the bar pays homage to his genuinely prolific story. (who doesn’t love Oscar Wilde’s novels after all?). The bar which in the afternoon is all about crumpets, scones and tea, kinda turns the Victorian era on its end, without relinguishing any of its glamour, a bit like Oscar Wilde himself.
“We Believe Life should be lived to its fullest, with a touch of Sophisticated Debauchery. Why miss out on the fun?”
― Oscar Wilde NYC
Besides just the holiday decor, there’s so much to look at and take in! We played a riveting game of “I Spy”, peeking at the paintings, photographs, knick-knacks, and literary quotes peppered around the restaurant. Whether you’re going for tea or a proper meal, I highly suggest Oscar Wilde. It is such a starry-eyed treat.
A L’il History of the Space Itself:
1909 – Building designed by Henry T. J. Fuehrman
1919 – Building takes on role as Prohibition Enforcement Headquarters due to the Volstead Act
January 1922 – It is discovered that the telephone lines at the Prohibition Headquarters had been tapped for months!
On December 31st, 1933 – Volstead Act is repealed and replaced with 21st Amendment of the Constitution
End of Prohibition to current day – Occupied by a slew of novelty and apparel firms until Oscar Wilde settled into the space!