Restaurant Openings

Boston Public Library Lounge Opens with Tea Cocktails and Charcuterie

The Map Room Tea Lounge by the Catered Affair rolls out new menus, inspired by storied surroundings.


The Map Room Tea Lounge opens this week with literary-inspired cocktails and a new food menu

The Map Room Tea Lounge opens this week with literary-inspired cocktails and a new food menu. / Photo provided by the Catered Affair at the Boston Public Library

There is an art and poetic flair to cocktail-making—and now, at the Boston Public Library, there are cocktails inspired by art and poetry. The Map Room Tea Lounge opens later this week inside the iconic Copley Square landmark, adding an a la carte bar menu and literary-inspired cocktails to the library café’s traditional tea service.

“Our goal was to create a space for a new generation to discover the afternoon tea experience that we have offered in the more traditional Courtyard Tea Room,” says Ryan Clarke, marketing coordinator for the Catered Affair. The Best of Boston Weddings-winning catering service has overseen the BPL’s events and in-house restaurant since May 2009.

“With the library steeped in history, from art and architecture to classic and modern works of literature, we felt it was a natural fit to highlight our connection to literary,” Clarke says. With drinks like Tequila Mockingbird, with blood orange-hibiscus tea-infused tequila; and Dorian Gray, a vodka cocktail with blue flower Earl Grey and grapefruit, “our menu and tea-cocktails pay homage to our surroundings as well as some of the authors whose works have become part of that history.”

The Courtyard Tea Room will continue to take reservations for afternoon tea service. But patrons can also walk into the new Map Room Tea Lounge for drinks, and plates like a smoked salmon, or avocado tartine; chowder, bisque, or the soup of the day; and charcuterie and cheese boards. BPL sous-chef de cuisine Dan Martin and sous-chef Kathi Wagoner are behind the new menu, and the Catered Affair is working with local companies Mem Tea and Martignetti Distributors on the beverage program, Eater Boston reports. Both venues will host cultural programming, Clarke adds. Follow them on Instagram at @library_tea.

Updated design features in the tea lounge will include more modern, industrial furniture and rustic tableware; and the team also plans to upgrade the back-bar with new display shelves. While the Map Room will start to welcome guests and make drinks on Wednesday, March 20, consider it a soft-opening period before a grand opening slated for May 21. “It’ll be more of an immersive experience once we have all our furniture and have a our back-bar done,” Clarke says.

The Map Room Tea Lounge is open Wednesday-Thursday from 3-8:45 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Sundays from 1-4:45 p.m. The Courtyard Tea Room is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Sundays from 1-4:45 p.m.

700 Boylston St., Boston, 617-859-2251, librarytea.com.