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Drink Tea Cocktails Inside the Boston Public Library, Starting Next Week

In addition to the new tea lounge, the library’s courtyard dining area is getting a revamp

Boston Public Library’s courtyard
Boston Public Library’s courtyard
Bill Damon/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Big things are happening at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. A new tea-focused bar and lounge called the Map Room Tea Lounge will open its doors on Wednesday, March 20, and the former Courtyard Restaurant has reinvented itself as the Courtyard Tea Room. Both cafes are operated by catering company the Catered Affair. The Map Room Tea Lounge will be open in a limited capacity initially, and it will have a grand opening on May 21.

Appropriately for a library lounge, the menu at the Map Room Tea Lounge is inspired by 19th century authors like Charles Dickens and by authors of other eras as well.

map room tea loung boston public library Boston Public Library [Official Photo]

The Catered Affair worked with local tea purveyor Mem Tea and New England wine and spirits distributor Martignetti to help develop the cocktail program, per Ryan Clarke, the conference and marketing coordinator for the Catered Affair. Boston Public Library sous-chef de cuisine Dan Martin and sous-chef Kathi Wagoner are handling things in the kitchen. The pair has “worked to craft a tea experience with a modern twist,” Clarke told Eater via email.

The cafes were designed to be unique spaces but also ones that fit seamlessly in the historic McKim Building.

“While the Courtyard Tea Room has an elegant and more traditional aesthetic, the Map Room Tea Lounge boasts a more eclectic design,” said Clarke. “The exposed brick and warm amber tones of the space are the backdrop to a lounge that features more modern decor, including distressed wood tables, industrial furniture and rustic tableware that gives the Map Room a different feel to the Courtyard without sacrificing the high-level service and cuisine we have become known for.”

Along with tea-focused cocktails, the Map Room Tea Lounge will feature tea leaf readings on Wednesdays. And the Courtyard Tea Room will continue to host bi-weekly fashion shows put on by current and former students of the School of Fashion Design.

“Of course, we will have music playing in both spaces throughout the day to provide a soundtrack to the afternoon tea experience and are always open to collaboration with artists, organizations, and authors to craft experiences and events that will engage, educate, and excite our guests,” said Clarke.

Head to the Boston Public Library next week for books, tea, booze, and more.

Update, 3/19: This piece has been updated to indicate that the March opening will be limited, with a grand opening scheduled for May.

Boston Public Library [Official Site]
Boston Public Library’s Courtyard Tea Room and Map Room Tea Lounge [Official Site]