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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 per hour (including tax), with a two-hour minimum. For as little as $330 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 the furnishings like tables, chairs, tablecloths, background music (yours or ours), and Wi-Fi for the same low price.

Food and beverages are extra. We can serve you and your guests anything from small appetizers to a full sit-down steak and potatoes dinner with wine and wait staff. Or you can bring your own food. Or you might have no food at all. If we provide the food, then our silverware, dishes, glasses, linen napkins, and other accessories are included. If you’re providing your own food, you should bring your own tableware, or you can use ours for a small additional fee.

We offer lots of enticing food and beverage options, from simple appetizers, to full dinners with wine, 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 tableware 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 38 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 arrange for an outside caterer, or to bring Grandma’s famous casserole from home. We’d love to cook for you, but it’s not required.

(If you do bring in outside food, be sure to also bring all the silverware, glasses, dishes, napkins, and serving pieces you’ll need. They’re not included in the basic rental fee unless we’re providing the food. If you’d like your food on our dishes, we’re happy to set the tables and wash up afterwards for a small additional charge.)

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, so we can probably deliver exactly what you want for less than you’d pay at a restaurant.

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?

Huh? No. We’re not a bed & breakfast inn and we don’t offer overnight accommodations. The Hart Mansion has never, in more than 120 years, been used as an inn or B&B. 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 begin taking reservations 1 month in advance (i.e., the reservation book opens on March 12 for an April 12 table). We recommend calling a week or two ahead of time for the best selection of seating time. Call (831) 375-8090 for reservations.

If your plans change and you are unable to keep your reservation, please tell us immediately so that we may offer 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?

Every chance we get. The White Hart stocks an extensive list of wines from around the world, including French champagne, local Monterey County wines, and interesting imports. We also serve local craft beers by the glass. For teetotalers, we offer sparking organic cider, mineral water, freshly squeezed lemonade, and our own original soft drinks made in-house.

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 most guests stay for about 90 minutes. In some cases, we may limit guests to 2½ hours because we’re expecting another party at that table later in the day.

If you’d like to stay longer than that, just let us know when making your reservation. We’ll try to seat you at a table that’s not being re-booked later in the day.

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?

No, we do not.

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, games, 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 many other benefits.

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.