By day, the is a bustling community hub, offering a cavernous space filled with overstuffed couches, tables, lamps and more coffee than you can shake a stick at.
“It’s a big living room,” said owner Jonathan Spiel, perfect for the mom-n-tots out for a leisurely afternoon snack, or the horde of freelance writers that set up makeshift office space, taking advantage of Tea Lounge’s free Wi-Fi.
At night, though, the mood takes a turn, with coffee and tea giving way to beer and wine at the Union Street hangout. The stereo is replaced by live music that runs the genre gamut, with singer/songwriters, rock and jazz musicians on display three to four nights per week.
In the same vein, the Tea Lounge also offers a wide range of affordably priced potables that cater to a variety of clientele. For those looking to drink on the cheap, the Tea Lounge offers a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. ($3 draft and $4 house wine), and a number of daily specials publicized exclusively on its Twitter account (@tealoungeny).
Tea Lounge offers an impressive draft selection, with 10 beers on tap at any one time, including ever-present standards like Guinness and Stella Artois, as well as a smattering of regional brews that are rotated regularly.
“We always have at least two New York breweries on tap, and we try to swap them out seasonally as much as possible,” said manager Michael Wilson.
But it is the Tea Lounge’s cocktail menu that makes the strongest impression, with many of the drinks containing an ingredient seldom seen in the wide world of mixology: this is, of course, tea.
One of the bar’s specialty drinks is the Royal Earl, an earl grey infused mixture of Citron vodka, fresh lemon and brown sugar that starts sweet but ends light, with a pleasing citrus aroma and a fierce, smoky bite. Also of note is the bar’s most popular cocktail, the Moroccan Mojito, a standard mojito that has been infused with green tea, imbuing the beverage with a mellow undertone that contrasts nicely with the mulled mint.
Of course, if these don’t sound like your cup of tea (pardon the pun), then there are a number of other, non-tea cocktails with which to wet your whistle.
In particular is the impossibly delicious Cucumber Julep, a combination of Crop cucumber vodka, limonata, brown sugar and mint. Not too sweet and not too strong, this cocktail is crisp and snappy, with a clean finish that leaves the drinker feeling refreshed.
From the outside, Tea Lounge might not seem like the most obvious slice of Park Slope’s ever-growing nightlife scene, and that’s because it’s not.
By not resting on its laurels, this coffee lounge-cum-bar-cum-music venue has been able to diversify and set itself apart, providing something for everyone, young or old, regular or newbie.
“That was the whole idea, building a community space where everyone is comfortable, people can put their feet up and be themselves,” said Spiel, “And I think we do a pretty good job.”