The afternoon tea is served in the museum cafe on the main floor and is run by the Hester Street Café. If you're visiting the museum just for the cafe, no need to pay the museum admission. The space seats 40 people with a mix of tables for two to four to communal benches. I opted for the table for two since I prefer chairs with backs to bench seating.
There isn't table service so orders must be placed at the cafe counter. The staff was friendly and brought our afternoon tea set over to us once it was ready.
TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★★☆☆
Not a bad tea selection of seven loose leaf teas from McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co. considering the afternoon tea is just $20/per person. I got the Pan Fired Green Tea which was good.
Since there were two of us, we got the Afternoon Tea for Two for $35. Teas arrived first, then a little while later, a three-tiered tray with food for two.
The menu showed a selection of four tea sandwiches, but only two were available -- the Cucumber and Chives on White and Tarragon Chicken Salad on Wheat. You can pick three of the four tea sandwiches (or two in our case) per person. We got two of the Cucumbers. I thought the chicken was a tad dry, but the cucumber tea sandwich was very good. Everything tasted freshly made; no stale or cold bread which is always good. I had wished all four tea sandwiches were available though.
Didn't love the scone (we got one each) since they were on the dry side and very small portions of butter (not clotted cream) and jam were served. Plus, it was odd only one knife was given for the both of us.
The macarons were definitely a miss but the tea cake, mini bundt cake, and shortbread tea cookies were good, although forgettable.
The afternoon tea is priced just right for what you're getting. If you're visiting the New Museum or just downtown and looking for an afternoon tea break, the New Museum Café is a good casual option.
LOCATION: New Museum Café | 235 Bowery | New York, NY 10002 | 212.219.1222
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Served all day during cafe hours
COST: Afternoon Tea for One, $20 | Afternoon Tea for Two, $35