My mom’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, my mother-in-law’s birthday, and my birthday are all within the same few weeks. Last year, in lieu of gifts, we did a girls trip to Las Vegas with several other ladies in our family to celebrate, several of whom also have birthdays around the same time frame! It was a blast and an experience I’ll cherish forever, but as the organizer, it was also a lot of work to plan a weekend getaway for nine people and make sure everyone was happy with all of the plans.
This year, we scaled it back a bit. My mom and my mother-in-law joined Natalie and I for an awesome weekend getaway in San Francisco that included dinner at Cadillac Bar & Grill, Les Miserables at the Orpheum, shopping in Japantown, and a quick pitstop in Chinatown to pick up from flat fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.
We also wanted to have afternoon tea.
We all love going to tea, but all of the tea houses near us have closed (sad face). I figured San Francisco would be the perfect place to find a fabulous tea house and I was totally right. When searching for a tea house in San Francisco, I came across a review on Atlas Obscura for Crown & Crumpet and instantly knew it was a place we had to visit.
Here’s what the reviewer had to say:
This Pop-Victorian gem is like Hello Kitty in Wonderland, hallucinating through the eyes of Barbie. If that’s not clear enough a description, this marvel is not too far from a Beatrix Potter-inspired shabby chic carnival explosion. A Care Bears-colored looking glass, the dazzling prevalence of polka dots, precious boutique relics and British ephemera…
Crown & Crumpet might be the only place on Earth one could find Rainbow Brite, Lady Lovely Locks, and Strawberry Shortcake consorting, but in any case, it should all begin and end with a curtsy.
Now here’s what you need to understand about that review: It’s no longer relevant.
Crown & Crumpet was founded in 2008 by Amy and Christopher Dean in San Francisco. The original British Tea Salon was located in Ghiradelli Square, but the rent became too high and the location closed. A new, smaller location opened in 2013 in Japantown. This mini version, in the lobby of the cool New People Building in Japantown, is called the Crown & Crumpet Tea Stop, and while it’s still decorated in the same spirit, it definitely doesn’t feel like the description Atlas Obscura Gives.
This is why I like blog posts and websites to have dates visible!
What You Need To Know About Crown & Crumpet
They may no longer have a big fancy location, but wow, Crown & Crumpet knocks it out of the park in terms of overall cuteness, tea selection, food, and service. You really can’t go wrong with their Afternoon Tea.
This fun and stylish, traditional-style British tea salon serves an Afternoon Tea for One, which includes a pot of tea, three freshly made finger sandwiches, two warm savories, one scone and crumpet, with clotted cream, house-made lemon curd and jam, and five bite-sized sweets and treats. A Nursery Tea is available for children 12- and adults 65+ that includes a pot of tea or hot chocolate, with mini finger sandwiches, a scone with jam, and three bite-size sweets and treats. Or, if you’d rather have a traditional meal or simple options like just tea and a scone, they’ve got those too!
Our Crown & Crumpet Experience
We had reservations for 12:00 noon on Saturday, which was perfect because it gave us time to find parking at the Japan Center Garage right across the street from Crown & Crumpet, which was super convenient. We were early and had about an hour or so to poke around the Japan Center Mall shops before our reservation.
While shopping, we hit the jackpot in Japan Center West. Yumi Boutique caught our attention with their sparkling, glittering jewelry and hair accessories but nothing quite said buy me, until I saw the hats. They have the most amazing collection of foofy hats in a rainbow of colors and a variety of styles. It couldn’t have been better timing because they were perfect for a tea party! Of course, we had to buy the hats and wear them to Crown & Crumpet.
We arrived at Crown & Crumpet a few minutes before noon and while the decor was super cute, we were honestly a bit thrown off by the location in the lobby. It was also very warm (very, very warm).
We were seated right away near the single oscillating fan by Andrew, our Trolley Dandy (server) and he was fantastic. Andrew helped make our experience at Crown & Crumpet a spectacular one and saw to every little detail and need before we even had to say a word. He also confirmed my dairy allergy right away and I really appreciated that.
We didn’t need much time to peruse the menus as we all ordered the full Afternoon Tea, and we all have the same tastes in teas. We ordered two pots of the Paris Tea (caramel and vanilla) and the Peach Crumpet Tea — both were delicious. Andrew made the helpful suggestion that we have two pots come to the table at the start of our dining experience and two pots come at the halfway point so we didn’t end up with cold tea. Brilliant!
While we waited for the tea to arrive, we had a chance to marvel at the decor, the tiny thoughtful details, and the pictures of the Royal Family under the glass on the table. When our tea arrived along with a three-tiered tray of sandwiches, savories, and sweets, we were all impressed and everything we ate was delicious… well, except for the crumpets. None of us liked the crumpets. If you’ve never had one before, they’re sort of like a rubbery, chewy English muffin. Weird.
When Andrew discovered we were all celebrating our birthdays, he brought us a each cupcake with a candle in it and the staff blew bubbles around us while we made a wish and blew out the candles — such a cute idea! After we wrapped up our afternoon tea, we wandered upstairs to check out the Crown & Crumpet’s small party room. There we met Amy, one of the owners, who was really friendly, invited us in, chatted us up a bit, and even snapped some photos for us.
Overall we loved our hats, we loved our tea and yummy delights, we loved Andrew, and we had a blast. In fact, we’re already planning our next visit and we’re all ordering the Afternoon Tea again with the exact same teas.
Know Before You Go
- Crown & Crumpet is located in the New People building in Japantown at 1746 Post Street, San Francisco, California, 94115 in San Francisco County.
- The tea house is open every day from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, the kitchen closes at 5:15 pm.
- Limited street parking is available but it’s very busy on weekends. Choose easy and park in the parking garage right across the street. It is the Japantown Center Garage and you can enter on Post Street or Geary Street. They don’t extend validation tickets to Crown & Crumpet, but you can get validation in the mall.
- Afternoon Tea for One costs $32.00 and the Nursery Tea for children 12 and under and adults 65+ costs $18.00. To split the afternoon tea, there is a fee of $8.00.
- Crown & Crumpet looks like a full tea house from the photos, but it’s actually not! While super cute, it is located in the lobby of the New People Building with no wall to separate it from the rest of the lobby and the people coming and going, which is not at all what we were expecting.
- If you have a special dietary need or food allergy, don’t sweat it! We really appreciated the staff asking if anyone in our party had a food allergy when making our reservations and when seating us at our table. I’m dairy-free and they were super accommodating. There is an upcharge of $5.00 for a gluten-free tea service though.
- If you’re visiting this San Francisco tea house on a warm day, know that it’s also very warm in the lobby, which isn’t very condusive to drinking hot tea too!
- If you’re planning on enjoying tea at Crown & Crumpet on the weekend, be sure to make reservations in advance. They do book up!
- Crown & Crumpet also serves tea at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Powell Street, near Union Square once a month on a Sunday.
- Stop at the Yumi Boutique across the street in the West Japan Center Mall to pick up fun hats to wear to your tea party!