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Everything you ever wanted to know about afternoon tea but were afraid to ask
Questions About Renting
Questions About Tea
What days are available for private event rental?
Almost any day of the year. Weekdays or weekends. Daytime or evening. Summer or winter. Short meetings or week-long events. Our place is your place. We’re available roughly 300 days per year.
We like to reserve four blackout dates every month for our “public” teas on the 2nd and 4th weekends (i.e., two Saturdays and two Sundays). But with enough notice, even these dates can be reserved for your own private party.
How much does it cost? What's included in the price?
Our rates are simple: It’s just $150/hour, with a two-hour minimum. That’s it. For as little as $300, you and your guests can enjoy the entire first floor of the Hart Mansion (built in 1893) with its original stained-glass windows, crystal chandeliers, hardwood floors, period wallpapers, tiled fireplace, and more.
That rate includes everything you’ll need: Tables, chairs, tablecloths, linen napkins, dinnerware, silverware, water glasses, wine glasses, beer glasses, salt & pepper shakers, background music, Wi-Fi, cleanup afterwards… you name it. There’s nothing else you need to rent or buy. Just bring guests!
Food and beverages are optional extras. If you don’t want any food or drinks, then the simple hourly rate is all you pay.
We offer lots of enticing food and beverage options, from simple appetizers, to a full sit-down meal with wine and wait staff, to our signature “afternoon tea” service (which isn’t limited to just afternoons). You’re also welcome to arrange for an outside caterer, if you prefer. You can even bring food from home. We might charge a small cleanup fee for outside food served on our dishes.
We offer a huge array of wines, champagne, craft beers, cider, and soft drinks as well. Unlike with the food, you can’t bring your own drinks. We are required by law to supply all of the alcoholic beverages.
How big is the space? How many people can you accommodate?
You and your guests will have exclusive use of the entire ground floor of the Hart Mansion, including three parlor/dining rooms and two restrooms. The entire area measures about 1200 square feet (including the commercial kitchen) and can accommodate a maximum of 36 seated guests. For a stand-up affair such as a wine-and-cheese mixer, we can hold about 40 guests.
We are wheelchair-accessible, too.
Can I bring my own food?
Yes! We don’t require our guests to order our food — or any food at all, really. You’re welcome to bring in your own food, or to organize an outside caterer, or to bring Grandma’s famous casserole from home. We’d love to cook for you, but it’s not required.
Can I bring my own alcohol?
Maybe. California law allows you to bring one or two bottles of wine, which we will open and serve, subject to a $15/bottle corkage fee.
You may not bring in any distilled spirits (i.e., vodka, Scotch, tequila, gin, etc.). We do not serve hard liquor, nor is it allowed on the premises.
We offer a 50-page wine list, including everything from local Monterey County, Napa, and Sonoma County favorites, to imported wines from around the world. Because we buy our wine wholesale direct from the winemaker or distributor, our prices are quite good — cheaper than most restaurants — and we can probably deliver exactly what you’re looking for.
Do you do catering? What about outside caterers?
We’re happy to cook for you while you’re here at The White Hart. We can serve you anything from small appetizers, to a full steak-and-potatoes dinner, to our signature “afternoon tea” service with fresh scones, sandwiches, and desserts. Just tell us what you’d like and we’ll make it happen.
Or if you prefer, you can make your own arrangements with an outside caterer. We don’t charge a penalty for using another caterer. We can even recommend a few caterers for you. Finally, you’re welcome to bring your own food from home. It’s all the same to us.
We don’t cater outside events, however. We’re happy to cook for you, but only while you’re here.
Do you have overnight rooms?
Nope. We are not a bed & breakfast inn and we do not offer overnight accommodations. Contrary to popular belief, the Hart Mansion has never been used as an inn or B&B. Quite the contrary — it’s always been a private residence, just like now.
We are happy to recommend some nice local B&B’s in the neighborhood.
- The Gosby House Inn is an historic Victorian inn, located immediately next door.
- The Centralla Inn is another charming Victorian inn, located just three blocks away.
- The Seven Gables Inn is perhaps the nicest example of a Victorian inn on the Central Coast.
What days do you serve tea?
On tea days, we’re open from 12:00 – 5:00 PM. The first reservation is as 12:00 noon, the last reservation at 3:00 PM, and we we seat guests every half-hour in between. There is no “early seating” and “late seating.” instead, we accept reservations on every half-hour.
Guests are usually welcome to stay until closing time at 5:00 PM. The exception is large groups. Groups seated at a large “party table” on a public tea weekend are often limited to two hours.
How does it work? Is there a menu?
The menu is fixed each day, and depends on seasonal availability of ingredients. Every guest at the table receives the same selection of sandwiches, scones, and desserts. There are no choices to make, and there are no vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options.
Each guest receives their own assortment of four different finger sandwiches, four different hand-made desserts, two freshly baked scones, and their own individual pot of loose-leaf tea, all piled high on an elegant three-tiered tray. You’ll also get helpings of our authentic house-made organic clotted cream, Meyer lemon curd, and strawberry preserves to spread on your scones. Cost is $27/person (before tax & gratuity) for every person at the table, regardless of age.
We also offer champagne, mimosas, red and white wines, locally brewed craft beers, homemade lemonade, and our own hand-crafted sodas if you crave a little something extra.
Do I need to make a reservation for tea?
Don’t forget to tell us (a) the date you’d like; (b) the time you’d like; (c) the number of people in your party; and (d) a phone number so we can call you back.
Do you serve alcohol?
Can I bring my husband, boyfriend, or brother?
Can I bring children? Do you have a kids' menu?
We welcome families and multi-generational groups, but we do not offer a children’s menu or special pricing. We serve the same food, and charge the same price, for every single person seated at the table, regardless of their age, appetite, or dietary restrictions. If someone in your party eats mostly Cheerios and applesauce, he/she might be happier at home.
How long does the tea service take?
The exception is large groups. Groups seated at a large “party table” on a public tea weekend are often limited to two hours.
We close at 5:00 PM.
Are you wheelchair-accessible?
*Because the house is more than 120 years old, our access is not fully ADA-compliant. Some doors and ramp angles are slightly outside of what ADA guidelines suggest. We do the best we can, and it seems to work for all of our guests.
Do you offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb, halal, or kosher food?
Do you do private parties?
For a private event, you can choose the food and beverage service you want, from a deluxe sit-down dinner party with wine and wait staff, to light snacks, to our signature afternoon tea service. You can even bring in your own food, or hire your own outside caterer. We have a huge 50-page wine list, we serve local craft beers, and we offer our own hand-made soft drinks. It’s your party at our location.
The only requirements are (a) between 6-36 guests, and (b) the date isn’t already booked for some other occasion. Simple!
Can I have a party on a tea weekend?
Groups larger than 12 may need to book a private event on another day, where you can stay as long as you like, bring your own music, decorate, play party games, order from a much broader menu, request different/special wine or champagne, and more.
Is there a dress code?
At the other extreme, we’re happy to welcome guests who put on their best pearls and hats before coming for tea.