To the Tea
Tea-totaling takes on a whole new meaning at Tbar, Julia Rugg and Susan Chu’s hip Center City teahouse (117 S. 12th St., tbarteas.com, 215-625-3926). The concept stems from the Korean sisters’ tea-infused childhood and a strong desire to create an alternative “bar” environment. Instead of alcohol, Tbar serves up a healthy menu of loose teas—nearly 70 varieties—along with trendy and treat-y “bubble” teas and fizzes. Classified as “shakes,” bubble teas get their ebullition from tapioca pearls strategically placed at the bottom of the glass for a lively interaction with milk, black tea or non-dairy creamer. Unusual flavorings include taro, lychee, red bean and mango; sugar is optional. Fizzes blend extracts such as strawberry, passion fruit, ginkgo leaf and ginseng with sparkling water (served chilled over ice), green tea or water (hot or cold). Tbar’s Awake fizz has made converts out of java junkies. A combination of gingko leaf, eleuthero, schizandra berries, gotu kola and pomegranate juice, Awake is high in antioxidants and enhances memory, circulation, alertness and stamina. Need a little hair of the dog? Try the gin fizz, made with chamomile and Paraguayan sweet herb (stevia) or black tea with ginger pieces, great medicine for digestion and nausea.