Drink Magazine

Liberty Cafe, Regents Street

By Kittyblake @kittyteaatthree

Liberty CafeDarjeeling
Liberty CafeLiberty was established in 1874 by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, selling ornaments and objet d’art from the East. By the end of the 19th century it was hugely fashionable and influential, collaborating with the foremost designers of the day, particularly of the Art and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. In Italy Art Nouveau is known as ‘Stile Liberty’.
The store was frequented by artists and aesthetes – Oscar Wilde declared:

“Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.”

Over the years Liberty has worked with contemporary designers and artists including William Morris, Gabriel Dante Rossetti, Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent. The mock-tudor building, from the 1920′s, used the timber of two ships, and is still a beautiful space.

I have always loved the Liberty Cafe – my favorite place for a posh cuppa – so was looking forward to my tea. My heart sank however to find that it has had a re-furbish.

As I remember it, the old cafe was original and unique; fresh, elegant and a bit arty. It is now off-the-peg ‘retro’; Union Jack bunting; ‘vintage’ (new) bistro chairs; whimsical line drawings of dogs; ironic neon flying ducks; mis-matched crockery (this works with junk-shop finds, as at the wonderful Drink, Shop and Do, but I can’t see the point with new stuff). I hope the chairs, which were lovely red and white zig-zags, are at least enjoying a second life in one of the retro caffs that Liberty seem to be trying to emulate.

Having said that, Liberty and it’s Cafe is still a lovely place, and if you didn’t see the old cafe, I guess you won’t be missing anything. I had a very good pot of Darjeeling. I loved the black willow pattern saucer and the service is professional and welcoming.

I would recommend Liberty Cafe, but maybe not quite special enough to pay £3.50 for tea, and I doubt it would be even half fabulous enough for Mr Wilde.

To cheer myself up I later went to look at teapots – but the crockery department has changed too – and I’m not sure the ‘artistic shopper’ would approve.

You can see the old Liberty Cafe here.

Liberty CafeLiberty CafeLiberty Cafe

Tea at Three, Tea in London Notes

Price of a Cup of Tea in LondonPrice of a Cuppa : £3.50

Tea in London, Tea LeafLeaf or Bag : Leaf

Cup of Tea in London, Tea PotCrockery : Mis-matched pottery

Tea shops in London with MusicMusic :

Cup of Tea in LondonService : Professional

Kitty Blake Little TeapotKitty says: Excellent place for a cuppa (if you have no memory of how it was)

Address: Regent Street, London W1B 5AH

Website: Liberty Cafe

Nearby Liberty Cafe, Regent Street

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