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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 $165/hour (including tax), with a two-hour minimum. That’s all. For as little as $330 “out the door price” 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, two restrooms, and more.
We even include everything you’ll need: Tables, chairs, tablecloths, linen napkins, dinnerware, silverware, water glasses, wine glasses, beer glasses, salt & pepper shakers, background music, Wi-Fi, and cleanup afterwards. There’s nothing else you need to rent or buy. Just bring guests!
Food and beverages are extra, and you can choose between our food or someone else’s food (or no food at all). If you’re not having food or drinks, the simple hourly rate is all you pay. Even the sales tax is included in the price.
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. Or you can bring food from home. (We charge a small cleanup fee if you want to serve outside food on our dishes.)
We offer a huge array of wines, champagne, local craft beers, cider, and soft drinks as well. Unlike food, you cannot bring your own drinks. California law prohibits guests from supplying their own 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 1100 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?
Sorry, no. California law prohibits outside alcoholic beverages. But why would you need to? We offer a 50-page wine list at very reasonable prices. We can pour anything 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, in fact — and we can probably deliver exactly what you’re looking for.
We also stock local craft beers, direct from the brewery. And we carry nonalcoholic beverages like sparkling cider. We also make our own hand-crafted soft drinks, such as The Gentleman Caller, the Fainting Couch, and the Dog’s Nose.
Distilled spirits (vodka, gin, Scotch, tequila, etc.) are not allowed on the premises under any circumstances.
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?
We serve tea on the second weekend and fourth weekend of every month. That’s two Saturdays and two Sundays (four days total) each month. The other 25+ days in each month can be booked for weddings, parties, business meetings, family get-togethers, and other private events. Our calendar is here.
During weekend tea days, we’re open from 12:00 – 5:00 PM. We seat guests every half-hour beginning at 12:00 until the last seating at 3:00 PM. We close at 5:00 PM.
Do I need to make a reservation for tea?
Yes, reservations are required, as we are filled to capacity on most days. We recommend booking at least a week or two ahead of time for the best choice of date, seating time, and table size. Call (831) 375-8090 for reservations.
All reservations now require a nonrefundable deposit of $50. The deposit will be credited 100% toward your final bill, so it effectively costs you nothing, but it will not be refunded if you cancel on short notice or no-show. We’re happy to take your credit card details over the phone at the time of your reservation. You may also mail a check if you prefer, and your reservation will be complete after the check clears.
If you cannot keep your reservation, please tell us immediately so that we may release the table to other guests. Don’t be a no-show!
How does it work? Is there a menu?
Afternoon tea is supposed to be a relaxing affair. The hardest decision you should have to make is what day to visit.
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.
The flat price of $35/person includes all taxes and tips, so that’s an “out the door” price. Optional extras include champagne, craft beer, wine, sparkling nonalcoholic cider, hand-made sodas, and more.
Each guest receives their own assortment of four or five different finger sandwiches, three or 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.
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 you serve alcohol?
Can I bring children? Do you have a kids' menu?
Yes, you can bring small children. No, we don’t have a children’s menu.
We welcome families and multi-generational groups, but we do not offer a children’s menu or special kids’ 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 your youngster’s diet consists mostly of Cheerios and applesauce, he/she might be happier at home.
Can I bring my husband, boyfriend, or brother?
Absolutely! The White Hart is definitely a “guy friendly” place for lunch or a mid-afternoon date. Our chef proudly carries both X and Y chromosomes, so all the food is man-compatible. Did we mention the six craft beers we serve?
How long does the tea service take?
That’s up to you. but we find that our guests typically stay for about 90 minutes to two hours. We do not re-book (“flip”) most of our tables, so once you’re seated, that table is yours until 5:00 PM.
The exception is large groups seated at our “party table.” Groups of 6+ are generally limited to two hours, specifically 12:00 – 2:00 PM and 3:00 – 5:00 PM. If your group needs more time than that, call us at (831) 375-8090 to discuss booking a private event.
Are you wheelchair-accessible?
Yes, we are wheelchair-accessible*. There is a continuous ramp from street level all the way into the dining rooms. We even have our own folding transport chair for guests who don’t have their own.
*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?
Yes, all the time, 7 days a week, 300+ days/year, daytime and evenings. We host parties and get-togethers for all occasions, from bridal showers to wedding ceremonies to business meetings to club gatherings. In fact, The White Hart hosts more private parties than weekend teas.
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?
Yes, with some limitations. The largest single group we can accommodate on a “pubic” tea day is 12 guests. Your party will be limited to two hours, and gift-giving, activities, and/or special decorations are very limited. Remember, you will be sharing The White Hart with our other guests.
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?
We don’t enforce a dress code at The White Hart — “Elegance Without Attitude” is our motto — but guests arriving in shorts or T-shirts will likely feel uncomfortably under-dressed. We recommend “business casual” as a starting point.
At the other extreme, we’re happy to welcome guests who put on their best pearls and hats before coming for tea.
Do you do birthday parties?
Yes, for celebrants aged 16 and older. We’re not equipped for small children’s birthday parties.