On the south bank of the River Liffey in Dublin’s Temple Bar District, just down from the Ha’Penny Bridge, is The Clarence Hotel. The hotel was built in 1852 and was famously purchased and refurbished by U2’s Bono and The Edge in 1992. U2 played “Beautiful Day” on the rooftop of the hotel in September 2000. For us, that marks The Clarence as an interesting place to visit—but the U2 connection isn’t the only interesting thing. On our January 2019 visit to Dublin, we booked “Not Afternoon Tea” at The Clarence. As the name suggests, this was an experience a bit out of the ordinary.
We love tea, especially when we can enjoy it in Ireland or the UK. Cream tea—tea, scones, clotted cream, and jam—is a favorite which we’ve enjoyed in numerous cafes, museums, etc., over the course of our travels. As to jam-first, or cream-first, we adhere to local custom.
Whereas we often grab a quick cream tea where we find it, an Afternoon Tea is a bit of a step up, a bit more formal. Tea is accompanied by a variety of savory and sweet treats, often served on a tiered tray. An Afternoon Tea is more of an “event” deserving of more time and attention.
Not Afternoon Tea
So, what then is “Not Afternoon Tea?” We were about to find out.
We booked our Not Afternoon Tea through the website for Cleaver East restaurant at The Clarence, the early afternoon time intended to give us a bit of space between breakfast at the lovely Queen of Tarts and a later Whiskey Tasting in John Jameson’s office at Jameson Bow Street Distillery.
The most notable difference with the Not Afternoon Tea is there’s no tea—tea has been replaced by cocktails! We opted for the bottomless peach bellini. Where there is a similarity is in the serving of a mix of savoury selections followed by a variety of delicious sweet treats.
The excellent food, service, and ambiance all contributed to a wonderful experience. Would we do it again? We’re already planning a return visit. If you’re in Dublin and looking for a twist on the traditional afternoon tea, we’d recommend contacting The Clarence to book your own Not Afternoon Tea!