From the street, it looks like a New York brownstown with an Asian flair about it. Yet walking in, you will find a hobbit-like den of the most exotic teas around the world. Cafe seating, couches and even a tea bar all make Mad Hat a great place to go on your lunch break if you are tired of the usual coffee shop experience. Tobin, the owner, will usually be around, hovering, hanging out or just doing his own thing, yet he is always happy to help you find the right tea for you. But be warned, as he doesn’t take his job seriously (in a good way), which makes the tea drinking experience that much more comedic. Who says sober drinking can’t be fun? Me usually, yet it works here.
When the owner of this opium-less den of chai isn’t around, you can rely on the afro-wearing, pornstar mustache-wielding MC of sorts to be your sober man’s bartender. Sitting at a tea bar with him is both a super fly and insightful experience as you will not only get to hang with the Cats Pajamas who will make you feel like the Bee’s Knees, but you will also gain valuable knowledge about tea with respect to what is good and bad, what suits you and what’s just straight up overrated.
They also do things like Kombucha and microbrew workshops on select weekends where you can rub shoulders with Washington’s world-renowned microbrew community. Which subsequently leaves you walking away as a bit of a beer expert.
Located on Commerce and nestled between 13th & 11th Street right by a Link station, there aren’t many excuses to not check out Mad Hat Tea. It is here where you can develop that old timey relationship with the man serving your drinks sans alcohol, browse the most diverse selection of teas from around the world, or just lay claim to one of the best kept secrets of downtown as your personal study.