Treat Mom to afternoon tea with these picks from a metro Atlanta tea expert

Dunwoody resident Angela Renals is the founder of Destination Tea, a nationwide tea directory and resource. / Courtesy of Kash LaHue of Photography & Branding

Credit: Courtesy of Kash LaHue of Photography & Branding

Credit: Courtesy of Kash LaHue of Photography & Branding

Dunwoody resident Angela Renals is the founder of Destination Tea, a nationwide tea directory and resource. / Courtesy of Kash LaHue of Photography & Branding

In 2007, Angela Renals stumbled on a new experience that would end up becoming a passion.

She met friends at the now-shuttered Faded Rose in Chamblee, and quickly fell in love with the whimsical old house, homemade sandwiches and treats and the selection of teas.

“Once I tried afternoon tea for the first time, I was like, ‘What is this?’ I couldn’t believe that I didn’t already know about it,” said Renals, who now lives in Dunwoody. “I’m from New Jersey from an Italian family, and afternoon tea is not part of that culture.”

After having difficulty locating other metro Atlanta spots to explore her new love, she launched Destination Tea ( in 2016, a website that serves as a nationwide directory for those looking for teahouses and afternoon tea experiences. Renals has reviewed more than 150 teahouses and services, has written guides on themed tea parties and afternoon tea etiquette and hosted tea parties for local tea business owners.

The tea service at Just Add Honey is a small luxury available just off the Beltline. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Credit: Henri Hollis

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Credit: Henri Hollis

She’s become something of a tea evangelist, and as such, there are certain details about the experience she tries to amplify. For starters — what most people call “high tea,” with finger sandwiches and small sweets, is actually considered afternoon tea. High tea is served at dinner time and includes heartier food offerings.

Renals also likes to share that tearooms were amongst the first businesses that women were allowed to own, and many used the opportunity to turn the spaces into showrooms where guests could buy anything from the tables and chairs to the paintings on the wall.

The popularity of tea service has skyrocketed over the past few years, with nearly 15 tearooms or tea services launched in metro Atlanta since 2022. She’s found it encouraging that the demographic for teas is starting to skew younger, in part due to the popularity of period dramas like “Bridgerton” and “The Gilded Age.”

Renals said the appeal is multipronged: “It’s beautiful when it’s done well, and you get to dress up and be a kid again,” she said. “For women, who are still carrying the lion’s share of household and family management, it’s a place where you don’t have to cook or clean up after other people, and there’s an added special element to it that makes it different from lunch. And tea is also designed to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and fully catch up with the other people around you. At the end of the day, it’s about love, and beautiful memories come out of it.”

Here, Renals shares some of her picks for spots to check out for Mother’s Day and beyond, but stresses that Atlanta is home to many more options that are also worth a peek. She said these tearooms and services have in common “delicious, expertly prepared teas; enchanting ambiance; dedicated, but unobtrusive service; a reasonable price point and a scratchmade, scrumptious menu.”

Afternoon tea for two (or the whole family) is a soothing indoor activity at Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party.

Credit: Contributed by Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party

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Credit: Contributed by Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party

For an elegant afternoon tea, head to Astor Court at The St. Regis Atlanta in Buckhead. If being here reminds you of the latest episode of “The Gilded Age,” there’s good reason. Character Lady Caroline Astor (of the Astors who built the original St. Regis in New York), was an actual high society hostess of the late 19th century, when afternoon tea was all the rage. At this luxury hotel, guests wind their way up curling twin staircases to take tea in the second-floor Astor Court, which acts as an indoor balcony, overlooking the glittering lobby chandelier. Dainty finger sandwiches and pastries are served alongside warm scones with clotted cream and lemon curd. If you’re feeling particularly regal, make it a royal tea with a glass of bubbly.

88 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta.

For a globally-inspired tea, try Besties. The newly-launched tea service at Besties, which is known for its empanadas and Belgian waffles, includes desserts made in-house, savory sandwiches and proper scones served with housemade confiture.

5238 McGinnis Ferry Road, Alpharetta. 678-691-8184,

For a magical afternoon tea, try Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. Beloved in part for its charitable mission (funding female scholars in Darjeeling, India), this tearoom features mix-and-match china, walls lined with $1 books, and hanging paper lanterns and origami. The shop is open for walk-ins, making it a perfect option for a last-minute tea. Guests can also rent the piano room and garden patio for a private afternoon tea party.

1645 McClendon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-474-1402,

Dr. Karl Walbrook and Angela Avery, founders and owners of Ginger Yums and the Ginger Room. / Courtesy of the Ginger Room

Credit: Erica Wilson

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Credit: Erica Wilson

For a British afternoon tea, travel to the Ginger Room or Ginger Yums Sip Shop. What makes The Ginger Room stand out, beyond the beautifully redecorated interior in Alpharetta’s oldest home, is what owners Angela Avery and Karl Walbrook bring to their tea service: an emphasis on local sourcing, Walbrook’s London upbringing and a bit of pageantry. The tea menu is vast — including local and imported British teas — and detailed, providing each tea’s caffeine level and tasting notes. Avery designed the newly-opened Ginger Yums Sip Shop, an intimate and inviting space that offers tea service and allows guests to sample and purchase Ginger Yums’ ginger juices.

Ginger Room, 61 Roswell St., Alpharetta. 678-399-9964, Ginger Yums Sip Shop, 8465 Holcomb Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 470-997-2064,

For a Beltline afternoon tea, head to Just Add Honey. Owner Brandi Shelton works with growers to develop her own teas using natural ingredients, giving them locally inspired names like “Sweet Auburn” and “Berries on the Beltline.” Just Add Honey sources its food from local caterers and bakers. Shelton recently opened Bamboo House across the street for private parties of 10 or more.

684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-850-6510,

For an “on the square” afternoon tea, visit Mac’s Chophouse. Perched above the Marietta Square overlooking the green of Glover Park, Mac’s offers two seatings each day of its monthly teas. The tables are set with china and crisp white linens, and tea includes homemade crumpets and finger sandwiches.

19 N. Park Square, Marietta. 770-238-1202,

For a Victorian afternoon tea, drive to the Emerald Chandelier. Owner Teresa Eubanks renovated the 1870s home in which the Emerald Chandelier is located, including replacing cloth wiring with modern electricity and redoing the front porch, which had fallen in on itself. She also restored the house’s gingerbread trim, roof cupola, heart-pine floors and fireplaces. The tearoom’s dining area is also a showroom with items available for purchase, similar to how tearooms operated in the 1800s. Afternoon tea is served on vintage china, with the option to add on wine, beer or mimosas.

204 W. Poplar St., Griffin. 678-338-8363,

For a Renaissance Afternoon Tea, visit the Peacock Tea Room. Located at the Georgia Renaissance Festival, this open-air tearoom runs from April to early June. Arrive 15 minutes early for the opening act, when the queen welcomes everyone. Expect finger sandwich plates, scones and desserts, and a tea menu that describes each flavor. Chef Randy Sheppard is the artist behind the tearoom’s signage.

6905 Virlyn B. Smith Road, Fairburn.

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