Now you can order a cocktail with that free book.
The Boston Public Library in Copley Square on Wednesday is opening its revamped Map Room cafe as a tea lounge, complete with bar seating and specialty drinks wittily named after literary greats.
The lounge will also serve artisan snacks — including tartines, cheese and charcuterie boards, and desserts — as well as culinary mainstays like soups and salads.
“With industrial accents and a cozy intellectual vibe, the Map Room Tea Lounge draws inspiration from the literature and innovation of the 1800s to create a salón for the modern world within the historical Boston Public Library,” wrote representatives from The Catered Affair, which runs the food service at the library, in an e-mail earlier this month.
And those drinks we mentioned? They include aptly named tea cocktails like the “Tequila Mockingbird” (La Marca prosecco and blood orange hibiscus tea-infused tequila), the “Catcher in the Rye” (Diplomatico Mantuano and apple berry tea-infused rye), and the “Dorian Gray” (vodka and blue flower Earl Grey tea), among others. The cocktails all cost $12.
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At the Map Room Tea Lounge, tea doesn't just come in a cup, it comes in your cocktail! Our full menu of literary inspired tea cocktails is now on our website. Click the link in our bio to get a taste of what we're serving before we open! . . #tea #library #lounge #boston #secret #copley #afternoontea #hightea #tearoom #copleysquare #bplboston #bostonpubliclibrary #backbay #mass #local #news #staytuned #scones #sweets #cocktails #drinktea #tca
“The Boston Public Library, and the classic works of literature that line its walls, called to us and gave us the inspiration we were looking for,” officials wrote in an e-mail. “The great authors that have come before us, as well as the works they have given us, were more than enough to spark our creativity.”
The lounge will also serve wine by the glass and bottle; a glass ranges from $7 to $12, said Ryan Clarke, marketing coordinator for The Catered Affair.
Bottled beer from local companies like Sam Adams, Harpoon, and Night Shift will also be offered, Clarke said, and will run between $7 and $8.
The addition of alcohol is new to the former cafe, which was closed in mid-February to allow for minor renovations of the space, Clarke said.
Among the new decor? An expanded bar with a new quartz countertop surrounded by 10 bar stools, as well as distressed cherry wood tabletops and industrial-style seating, Clarke said.
“With the Map Room Tea Lounge, we first started thinking about how to bring top-shelf tea experience to a younger generation,” Clarke said. “With the exposed brick and warm amber tones, it’s definitely a different vibe than the white-linen, arched-ceiling, elegant Courtyard Tea Room. We wanted to play off the architecture and the style of the space, so we thought it was already a good fit to modernize and push forward what a tea experience could be like.”
And while the lounge will be fully operational by Wednesday, Clarke said there are still little decor items continually being added, such as signs and lighting, and noted that an official grand opening will take place in late May.
“We’re looking at [Wednesday] as more of a soft open,” he said. “Right now, it’s fully operational, but the experience will become more immersive once May 21 hits.”
As for how busy the room will get, Clarke said organizers are not sure yet, but he did note that the interest has been high.
Know before you go: The 10 bar stools will always be first-come, first-served, while the 24 tabletop seats are open for reservations. There is a catch for those hoping to reserve a spot, though — reservations require those attending to partake in the tea service, which costs $39 per person ($15 for kids under 12) Wednesdays through Fridays, and $45 for adults (again, $15 for kids) on Saturday and Sunday. The tea service includes a tiered tower of pastries, scones, and other small bites; alcohol and other a la carte bar menu items cost extra.
The tea room will also feature special events sporadically, including “Wisdom Wednesdays,” where a tea-leaf reader looks at the bottom of your cup (“We are not responsible for any bad news you may receive during your consultation,” library representatives quipped in an e-mail), a biweekly informal fashion show starting March 22, and “Treble Thursdays,” where classically trained students from Boston’s music schools play acoustic tunes.
The lounge will be open from 3 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Sundays, according to its website. (For anyone wondering why the lounge closes so early on the weekends: Clarke says it’s because the space is dependent on the library’s hours.)
Some photos of the fares and drinks offered: