The Crown & Crumpet tea salon is a modern take on a familiar classic.
At the recently reopened Crown & Crumpet Tea Salon in San Francisco, tea is not just hot, it has a sense of humor. The salon appears to be a collaboration of a Vespa driving granny and the Mad Hatter from its amped neon colors and plates of endless sweets you can experience a sugar rush without even eating. The quirky British style shows none of the uptight formality of a formal hotel salon.
Many tearooms appear to be a mock version of a Victorian teahouse that’s akin to wearing a hat pinned with plastic flowers. A mass of lace doilies and chintz is not the experience you will find at Crown & Crumpet. “It’s time to step up the tasteful quotient and ambiance that is out there,” says owners Amy and Christopher Dean. “We try to be tasteful to a point and then we just want to have fun! So we are bright, cheerful, cheeky and English.”
Amy’s approach to design is personal. She considers her work through the eyes of someone’s taste she admires. “Is this tasteful? Fun?” Amy poses. It comes to no surprise that Cath Kidston’s hallmark vivid fabrics are seen throughout the salon.
The salon is designed with so much color you may wonder if someone hit the saturation dial. A modern interpretation of something comfortably familiar takes hold. Everything is given a sugary, childlike makeover, as if all accessories were finished by gum chewing Oompa Loompas. A pillow with Queen Elizabeth’s regal silhouette is colored in unexpected neon shades. There are burl wood-swirled lamps topped with polka dot shades. “It’s a room with tea and wit,” says Amy.
Guests will discover fun quotes in tea saucers, handmade sugar charms in the sugar bowls and pink napkins but it won’t detract them from a comprehensive tea menu. “We take our tealeaves and our food seriously but the ritual and the overall experience is fun, exciting, pretty and playful,” says Amy.
Inspired by a love of all things British and tea parties, Crown & Crumpet was created as a place the Deans would want to spend time in. “We found a lot of elements in England and France at antique fairs and things from Chris’s family home. I always look for a piece a furniture with good bones and then figure I can find a great piece of fabric to go on it or a lick of crazy high gloss color paint.”
In a changing world there is a constant inside the Crown & Crumpet, to visit a special place where guests receive a break. “The excitement of seeing that three-tier coming your way really lights people up. Everything looks so tasty and small–it just sparks excitement,” says Amy. To preside over a tea party each day with such cheer and whimsy is life at its sweetest.
By Jacqueline deMontravel
For more information, visit crownandcrumpet.com.
Photography by Kristen Loken