Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wandering Into DarTEAling Lounge in SOMA

The harsh afternoon sun streaking in through the window facing one of the typical empty industrial alleys of SOMA bounced off the delicate chinaware and colored glass jars. The sound of traffic is kept at bay as velvet cushions and draperies dressed the room in the familiar comfort of grandma’s parlor.

Glass chandeliers sparkled quietly in the corners, and the entire room sat empty waiting for life with a splash of tea.

This is how I found the DarTEAling Lounge in San Francisco’s gritty SOMA district.

A few weeks ago I took a day off during the week to go to a Giants game at AT&T Park. Afterwards, I walked up Third Street toward Market when I noticed this fairly new tea salon. (I think they’ve been open since March.)

It’s not where I would think to find a tea lounge, tucked on the corner of an alley that’s overshadowed by Interstate 80. But there it was. And as a tea lover, I had to check it out. Afternoon. Tea. What could be better?

DarTEAling presents itself as a Parisian tea lounge, and you get that feel looking at the wall of antique tea jars with labels the owner collected from various tea houses in Paris. For the rest of the space, it was one of those eclectically designed room where nothing matched but they all gave a sense of English tea with Mrs. Crumpets.

As I hinted to earlier, I was the only one this afternoon. It was intimidating to have tea alone — really alone — but it was my day off so I decided to throw caution to the wind.

The menu has an extensive selection of tea services and tea. I ended up getting the Charlotte’s Simplici-tea, which for $15 gives you two sandwiches, a green salad and tea biscuits. For my tea, I wavered between the Creamy Dreamy Earl Grey (named for the touch of vanilla added to the Earl Grey) or the Peachy Apricot. I went with the Earl Grey, a classic favorite.

My tray arrived with the sandwiches I selected (curried chicken and classic cucumber) and a lovely salad. Everything looked like it should have been shared with someone else, so my afternoon snacked really turned out to be a late lunch.

Everything about DarTEAling is quaint and cute. It’s the perfect spot to bring your girls or host a bridal shower. The only negative I detected here is that they don’t have air and the windows are sealed shut, so on a hot SOMA afternoon it can feel stuffy with the only source of air being the front and back door.

Otherwise, DarTEAling is like an oasis in an industrial neighborhood. A place to escape the traffic and stress of the city and sip your way to enchantment.

DarTEAling Lounge, 470 Third St. (near Bryant), San Francisco. PH: 415.644.0142, Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More tea posts:
Starting My Day at Teaism (Washington, D.C.)
L'Orangerie at the Alvear Palace Hotel (Buenos Aires)


Nate @ House of Annie said...

sounds like a nice place to get away from the crowds and curl up with a book. Too bad about the lack of A/C. I bet it would be great on a cold, rainy day.

Pretty is a Dark Pleasure Author Lori Meckley said...

I absolutely love tea shops, thank you for posting this one, if only PA wasn't clear across the map from this one

foodhoe said...

I love afternoon tea - what a studly way to spend your day off! I've always gone with hordes of chattering girls, so it must have been strange being the single guy having tea in the entire salon. You didn't talk about the sweets though, were they good? Your selection looked rather plain.

Single Guy Ben said...

Foodhoe, the only sweets on my plate was the two heart-shaped shortbread cookies. They were just OK, nothing spectacular. There were a few other sweets in the counter up front, but I didn't pay much attention to them. I was focused more on the tea in the jars. :)