Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Underground tearooms!


Just got the June 2012 issue of British Country Living, which is the publication I most enjoy relaxing with these days. The writing is first-rate, the pictures superb, the topics lively and surprising, and in recent months they've featured some of the loveliest little cottages and studios I've ever seen. Love-love-love my British Country Living!


And I love it even more when this magazine treats me to something new involving the world of tea, such as the topic of Secret Tearooms!


Now first it must be said that I was so fascinated by the absolutely brilliant papercut artwork accompanying the article that at first I forgot to read the article! The artwork is by Julene Harrison, and you can see more of her work here. Do you love it as much as I do? I'll bet you do!

It's really quite appropriate to have artwork and not photographs accompanying this piece, because the article by Joanna Simmons explains how there is a nationwide movement in which everything from art exhibits to shops and supper clubs is temporarily "popping up" in homes or public buildings. Of course "pop-up tearooms," also delightfully referred to as "underground tearooms," greatly appeal to me. Basically, a woman and perhaps a friend or two stages teas in her home for, say, just two days. The cost to guests is reasonable (similar to what we'd pay for afternoon tea here), guests may leave the money in a teapot, and the host gets to experience having a "tearoom" on a very temporary basis, with no commitment. (The article notes that you do have to register as a caterer with the UK's Food Standards Agency, so it's not as if you can just slap some scones on the table and hang up your shingle.) One woman who uses an alias books her teas strictly via e-mail, and guests don't even know the location until they've booked! Now I'd love to attend such an event, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable charging others to have tea in my home. Friends, especially. But what if it were friends of friends? I might not feel so bad about that. What are your thoughts on underground tearooms? Would you consider going to one? Would you consider hosting one?

19 comments:

Heather L. said...

I have always dreamed of having a teashop in my home for a day! this would be perfect for me!!! Love, love, love the British Country Living. Our booksellers have stopped carrying it and my sister and I are devising ways to save money for the overseas subscription fee. We must have it back!

Martha said...

I DO have an underground tearoom! I book luncheons and teas by reservation only. A busy month might mean two or three -- some months I don't do any . . . and I give away a lot of luncheons and teas to charities as well. They get the money and I have the company.

I simply adore it!

Lavender Cottage said...

Well, this is my third try to leave a comment, don't think Blogger likes me today. :-)
I love this idea Angela and had been thinking along these lines myself. When in PEI, women had a sign out for tea that read 'by appointment or by chance' which is what I liked.
I'd like to know more about how Martha runs her teas.
Judith

Diana in Wisconsin said...

I love the idea of underground tearooms! And, yes, I would love to attend one and host one! I had read an article some time ago about underground dinner parties in England, but this is the first I've heard about underground tearooms. Yes, Martha, please tell us more about yours!

Joy said...

Sounds like a fun idea - I would go to one, for sure. And if I could get my act together I might think about being a hostess, someday...

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

In this country I don't know how easy it is to get a catering license - and woe to the gal who tries this and gets fined heavily b/c she doesn't pass an emergency inspection.

I could never charge for the worry of it, I am afraid - but I LOVE the idea....especially the idea of someone else besides me having tea that I could attend! (Have never attended one in Ohio ever.) I have to visit my friends in Indianapolis to attend them, even though I have hosted them in Ohio for years and years....guess I haven't yet found an Ohio tea sister who enjoys having them.

: - (

Bernideen said...

I just read Martha's comment from Lines from Linderhof. She had told me about what she did when I met her (at Hardies believe it not) last year on my way to Missouri. I think I would like this in my FUTURE LIFE of not working! I need to get this magazine. Can you come back and give us some contact information on this post???

Marilyn said...

Oh I guess I have an underground tearoom every September. Hadn't thought of it that way, but for one weekend I have a tearoom and do charge. I love having it like this because it is fun for me too.

I really, really must subscribe to this magazine. I just love it and can't always find it on the news stand.

Lady Tesser said...

I think it would be marvelous to have an Underground Tearoom Tour when visiting another country, so you can talk with the locals and meet other travelers, and you'd automatically have something in common so it won't be so awkward. It'd especially be good for women traveling by themselves.

I'd love that sort of tour.

Angela McRae said...

Bernideen, I always find this magazine at my local Barnes and Noble. If you want information on subscribing, go here:
http://www.allaboutyou.com/countryliving/

(And if you ever do an underground tearoom, I want to come!!!)

Rosemary said...

This is interesting! and I, too, love the artwork featured with the article.

parTea lady said...

What an interesting post. I'm not sure about hosting an underground tea, but I'd definitely join you if you find one to attend.

Anonymous said...

Hello Angela, I love that magazine too - I can always count on it to be entertaining and full of creative ideas. Thanks for providing the link to the papercut artwork, so neat. Have a great day, Joanie

Mrs. V. said...

Oh what a fun idea! I would love to attend and underground tea. I had no idea there were such things. How very fun and interesting!

Ginger said...

I saw something on TV about pop-up restaurants in another country. I don't remember what show it was on, some kind of travel show probably. Tea rooms sound like fun.

Ruthie Miller said...

I have a subscription and find it well worth it. The same article caught my eye too-of course. I love the artwork. The idea sounds so appealing but like Michele, I would worry that by law, you can't really serve food without a licence. Otherwise, I am crazy about the idea. To have a tea room has been a dream for a long time. The way I am collecting tea cups and tea things, you would think I am opening one. I guess I have to be satisfied with just hosting friends.

Jenny said...

I have a friend who does this. She calls them Secret Suppers & she only charges $10 per person. The last time I was invited she served a five course meal in her dining room set with antique lace & china. She came in before each coarse & explained what each one would be then her three teen boys were our waiters.

She cooks a lot of wild & foraged foods as well as foods & meat from her own farm. It was worth four or five times what we pay. She & her boys do this just have some fun money.

She's invited me to her next one in July & it will be a pie-o-rama. She makes amazing desserts & she'll serve light appetizers then pies with tea or coffee & knowing her, some unusual drinks as well. These are so fun. You should go if you get the chance.

Linda J. said...

Very, very interesting!

Donna said...

I don't think I have ever been to a tea shop without thinking, I could do this. Love the idea!