Tea at the Soho Hotel, Soho

Will you be joining us for tea?

The Vibe

The Soho Hotel is tucked down a little alleyway off Dean Street, safe from the wandering undesirables who don’t know where to find it or haven’t yet been invited by a media hustler. Whilst the bar, Refuel, is often the refuge of minor celebs who go on papped but ‘classy’ benders, the Drawing Room is an elegant resting place full of long (pink) sofas, fancy (pink) chairs and charming waiters.  The crowd is mostly identikit mother-daughter duos, female friends in faux-casual day wear (fancy jeans, heeled boots, cashmere), the occasional hotel guest and, sometimes, daters. Certainly, there’s something to be said about mixing up the dating formula of dinner and drinks. If afternoon tea is your thing, as in you like a bit of sugar with your sugar, then this is a charming start to a day-to-night Saturday Soho date.  Pretty settings and an air of formality force you to behave but there are a glut of drinking holes on your doorstep once you’re all classed out.

The Order

Tea at The Soho Hotel offers food that you pick at instead of scoff. The champagne is perfectly chilled and the podium of tea items looks as cutesy as you would expect. More appealing than the traditional tea is the Winter Tea (£30 with champagne), purely based on the fact that there is more savoury action going on and the delicious mini stilton quiches are replenished. On a date the food acts more like a prop- you can comment, try and taste it but don’t attempt to work your way through the spread, a sugar high will only add to nerves.

The Game

Unless you are one of those rare creatures who has been dating like a Victorian gentleman since you were old enough to order a glass of champagne for the lady, you need to be a tad tongue in cheek about this. It’s not really like afternoon tea at places like the Cadogan or Ritz- you’re in a liminal sphere where edgy and slightly weird Soho décor fuses with a traditional format.  So this is the plan. Tell your date you’re going to have a Soho adventure. Meet for tea here at 3pm, giggle through the funny formality, sit together on the sofa and gradually, as you sip on champagne, slouch down into it, facing the room like it’s a stage. Comment on the performance around you, debate which nibbles to try next, talk more loudly than you should, be conversationally inappropriate and hope someone hears. Have one more glass of champagne then cut ties and stumble out into the trashy Soho streets in search of a bar. Head to Mark’s Bar at Hix, prop yourself up against it, order some chips and a cocktail and bed down.

The Faults

Do you like afternoon tea? In my opinion it’s a funny old meal, but each to their own. It’s not the most relaxed of first dates but a fourth or fifth would work.

Sex Factor

0. It’s for a girly girl or a couple who like to use formal settings for extended foreplay. Make-out central it is not.

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