NYC Tea Tour! Muse Monthly & Bad Girl Good Tea Explore Manhattan’s Tea Houses

It’s no secret that I love tea, and I love Manhattan. I really do. But the thing about New York (and probably every city) is that it’s super easy to find coffee, but not so easy to find tea that isn’t Starbucks. Which is ridiculous, because for a city that prides itself on having an amazing, authentic food scene, you’d think there would be more places for tea. And so, the Muse Monthly Tea Tour was born – a quest to visit Manhattan’s best tea houses and shops and find some amazing places to stop for both cold and iced tea all over the island.

I was joined by Sam from Bad Girl Good Tea, an incredible small tea company out of Manhattan. I couldn’t imagine a better tour partner and we had a blast. It was exhausting, but super fun and we had a lot of laughs along the way.

Seven stops. One Day. Here we go!

Alice’s Tea Cup, 156 E 64th

Alice's Tea Cup: NYC Manhattan Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea

Alice's Tea Cup: NYC Manhattan Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea Alice's Tea Cup: NYC Manhattan Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea
Our first stop was Alice’s Tea Cup, which I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. There are three locations in Manhattan so there’s plenty of Alice themed goodness to go around. Alice’s is popular with moms and their daughters – Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise, for example, and is a great stop for brunch. The interior is cute and comfy – not completely Alice themed, but there was Alice art on the walls and their signature tea blends are Alice/fairy tale themed. Sam and I both had brunch and tea, which comes in a personal pot (just the way I like it). Sam enjoyed the Alice’s Blend and I had Sparrow’s Soul. Both delicious (but I thought hers was better). 

Radiance Tea House & Books, 208 E 50th
Radiance Tea House & Books: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea IMG_1172
Our second uptown stop was Radiance Tea House and Books. I will freely admit that one of my shortcomings as a tea drinker is more traditional, pure teas. I don’t know as much about traditional teas as I would like, and so I purposely scheduled in a few teahouses that catered to a more Japanese tea style. Radiance was the first of these, and it did not disappoint. Radiance is definitely more upscale – it’s in a part of town that has a lot of businesses and so it seemed like a nice spot for lunch, but it was also very quiet, which meant our giggling and texting felt a little out of place. However, our server was very kind and willing to suggest teas we might enjoy, and she even helped us style the photo to the right. I had a lovely oolong and Sam had a sweet green tea, both of which were lovely. Radiance is a beautiful spot to visit and stay for a while, especially if you’re a lover of traditional teas.

 

Thirstea, 280 E 10th St
Thirstea: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea Thirstea: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea
Our third stop was Thirstea, the first of our East Village stops. There are a few cute little tea shops within a few blocks, so we got a nice little tour of the neighborhood. By the time we got here, it was nice and sunny out, which made it a perfect day for sitting out on the bench and enjoying our tea. We had a lovely chat with one of the owners about being a small business and thriving in a digital world vs having a brick-and-mortar location, about tea and the ups and downs of entrepreneurial life. We also did our first periscope here (which Sam was dreading, but I made her do anyway) – the sound is terrible but you can watch it here on Facebook
Thirstea isn’t exactly a place to sit down for tea like the other two were. It’s a little, brightly colored hole-in-the-wall with a few barstools inside, but not a lot of space. They have a wide selection of teas and a few original blends, as well as bubble teas and smoothies. But this was one of my favorite spots on our tour – not only was the shop itself adorable, but the man we talked to was so nice, and that’s what really made it for me. It’s one of those perfect New York places with good people and good atmosphere. It’s definitely a perfect place to visit on a warm summer day. 

Physical Graffitea, 96 St Mark’s Place
Physical Graffitea: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea
So I will admit that the East Village is not my neighborhood – I’m a SoHo girl, but I love the Village and it’s iconic culture. Physical Graffitea is a definite part of that. The location was first a vintage clothing store and is now a tea shop under the same management, and it definitely has that local New York charm. Stepping into Physical Graffitea is like stepping into the 1970s. It’s definitely the place you’d meet that cute hipster boy with his mustache and thick-rimmed glasses, or the singer-songwriter girl who plays acoustic guitar and dresses like Stevie Nicks. They had a huge selection of teas and plenty of friendly faces. At this point, we’d had too much tea so we didn’t drink anything, but I could definitely see myself bringing a book here and holing up for an afternoon. As a matter of fact, I might just do that. 

Tea Drunk, 123 E 7th St
Tea Drunk: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea
Tea Drunk was the second of my traditional tea spots. Tea Drunk is a beautiful, serene spot that offers tea classes as well as these pre-curated tea tasting menus for those (like us) who are new to the world of traditional teas. We had the green tea tasting  which featured three beautiful green teas that ranged from sweet and light to full and flavorful. It was a beautiful ceremony guided by a very knowledgeable tea master. We also got to hang with little tea friends – they’re made from   Yixing clay leftover from the creation of clay teapots and they “drink” the extra tea, meaning you pour your leftover tea over them and they absorb the water.  I had a lot of fun with my little elephant!  Yixing clay tea elephant: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea

Sanctuary T, 337 W Broadway
SanctuaryT: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea SanctuaryT: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea
Now, SantuaryT is definitely more my speed. It’s tucked on a nice corner in Soho and is a very swanky, modern tea house/bar/restaurant complete with gorgeous Australian servers and parmesan truffle friends. By the time we arrived here, it was sunset on a beautiful warm day. We took a table by the open storefront to people watch and had an incredible, relaxing time. I had a hot Soho chai which was delicious, and Sam had an iced matcha. This was maybe my favorite stop along the way. That might have had a little to do with how hot our server was. Tea and cute boys and a beautiful New York sunset – what more do you need?

 

Tea and Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Ave
Tea and Sympathy: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea Tea and Sympathy: Manhattan NYC Tea Tour with Muse Monthly and Bad Girl Good Tea
Tea and Sympathy is hands down one of my favorite places in New York. My sister discovered this spot years ago and we’ve been coming here pretty frequently ever since. It sings to my little anglophile heart – owned by a British family, it’s the cutest little hole in the wall, decorated like your English grandma’s kitchen with food to match. Here you can get an incredible selection of teas in mismatched teaware as well as a full English breakfast or Sunday roast. The same family owns A Salt & Battery, the fish & chips shop next door, and a little shop inbetween that sells British food and gifts. It’s a beautiful little haven. 
By the time we got here, it was late at night and we were both exhausted, so of course we finished strong with some vanilla tea and cake. Because, duh. 

The Tea Tour, in my opinion, was a complete success. Not only did we have some amazing new teas and find some fantastic spots, but I made a new friend and had some really special conversation. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Good friends and good tea. Nothing better.

 

Check out our friends Bad Girl Good Tea!

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