Oh, the teahouse. According to one informed source, the number of tea houses here in these good old United States alone is somewhere around three thousand, a huge jump from a modest number about a decade and a half ago. Worldwide, there’s no telling how many tea houses there but “a whole bunch” or “more than you can shake a stick at” are probably not far off the mark.
With all the tea houses out there already and more coming to life every day it’s not surprising that some of them would fall into the offbeat category. We took a look at some of these a few months back and earlier this year we considered tea houses run by exalted rock and roll personages as solo artist Moby, Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes) and Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins). Then there was this article on a tea house named for and located on the estate owned by that great British tea guy himself – Earl Grey.
Speaking of exalted British tea personages, there’s the Twinings family, who have been doing their tea thing for more than three centuries now. The tea house old Tom Twinings opened in 1706, back when tea was still a novelty in England, might not exactly qualify as quirky but it merits a mention even so. While one suspects that there might be older such establishments in some part of Asia, Twinings is still selling tea at their 216 Strand location in London 206 years later.
If size matters, then Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour, in South Africa, is right out of luck. But if you prefer to take your tea from a more intimate sort of establishment, then they may be just the one for you, given that they work out of a tiny converted trailer (or a caravan, as they refer to it). See it in all its understated majesty in the photos located here.
Don’t ask me why, but it just seems that there’s something about tea and polo that makes a good match. They apparently thought so at Tal-y-Tara Tea and Polo Shoppe as well, since the San Francisco-based establishment has been going strong for more than three decades. So the next time you’re in the mood for some Taylors of Harrogate Afternoon Darjeeling and a new saddle or polo mallet, you know where to go.
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