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L.S. Ayres Tea Room

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650 W. Washington St Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2725, United States 317-232-1637 Website Owner?

A symbol of elegance in dining for nearly a century, the L.S. Ayres Tea Room has been recreated in the Indiana State Museum.

From 1905 to 1990, the downtown L.S. Ayres department store operated its Tea Room for special elbows–off–the–table luncheons. A destination for gathering generations of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, friends and businessmen, the Tea Room was enormously popular. It was where you took someone special for any occasion.

Because of the affection visitors have always held for the Tea Room, the Indiana State Museum includes a replicated, 64–seat, fully functioning L.S. Ayres Tea Room restaurant. Today’s Tea Room recreates the atmosphere and elegance of the original. To capture the authenticity, great care was taken to replicate the ambiance of this popular dining facility.

Recent reviews

    • Lorraine Gallagher

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      This tea room is no longer available. Only for groups of 15 or more. There is no more daily luncheons.

    • Sharon

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      Disappointed It was like having tea/lunch in open one room hall. With no real ambience. Very loud crying children, even the few adults talking seemed like the whole place echoed. The environment was not what we expected, food OK and alittle pricy,small tables and chairs. We had to move things off the table to have enough room for the lunch plates. A tea bag in pot of water. Seems like the room could be broken up with something interesting. Art, plants etc from Indiana. Staff very nice

    • Leslie

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      I only wish I would not have let my nostalgia over the old L.S. Ayres Tea Room compel me to go back. Now instead of fond memories I have only disappointment.

    • Eileen

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      If memories of the original Ayers tea room make you want to go to this one, you'll be disappointed. Some of the original furnishings are there, but otherwise It's a very nice restaurant for a museum with nothing special except for the name and a few original dishes.

    • J. Barker

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      We took our first grade Brownie troop to high tea on a Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago. The price for children is extremely reasonable, only about $4 per child. Adults are about $10. They made special tea sandwiches for the children, pb&j and grilled cheese along with some of the traditional offerings, like egg salad. The adults had quite a variety of sandwiches - smoked salmon was my personal favorite. Plenty of cakes and scones as well! Everyone enjoyed the fantastic selection of tea and we found the service to be very good in terms of accommodating us, not very knowledgable, however each child received a small goody bag, which was a very nice touch! It is too bad that high tea is not offered more frequently, we really enjoyed ourselves and look forward to going again. The ambiance was special because we were there close to Christmas, other times of year don't expect too much in terms of frills. All in all we really enjoyed ourselves despite the lack of a more 'personal touch' you get at most smaller, independent tearooms.

    • A. Miller

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      My husband and I love tea rooms and we travel often. We always search teamap for a local tea room (or two) if we are traveling for work or pleasure. L.S. Ayres Tea Room is perfect for a cafeteria 'feeling' lunch; but it is not a tea room. I was quite disappointed as the 'hours description' noted by reservation only. I called a week in advance for a Friday afternoon 'tea'. Only to find out that they only serve tea on Sundays. Or rather, they have tea time only on Sundays. Upon making my reservations, I explained I was visiting for a wedding. No explanation. I invited family members and friends to tea only to have an average lunch...at best. However, one of the attendants recommended a historic Canterbury Hotel after we expressed our disappointment. Needless to say we had already received hot water for our tea and decided to not to be rude and leave...regretfully so. Great for lunch....not so great for the tea experience.

    • Susan Yachiye McKeen

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      L S Ayres Tea Room is located inside the Indianapolis Museum. Museum admission is not required to enter the tea room. Lunch/Tea from 11 - 2:30 pm 7 days a week. Reservations recommended.

    • Blueberry mom

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      We went for lunch, not tea so can't give any info on tea. The food was surprisingly good so I would recommend going if you're downtown, walking on the canal. Open from 11 to 2:30 for lunch Mon-Sun. My children received little gifts which was unexpected- sweet!

    • L. Van Horn

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      The Ayres Tea Room was THE place in downtown Indianapolis for lunch. From the Chicken Velvet Soup to the famous Chicken Salad, everything was just right and simply delicious. The recreation of the Ayres experience at the Indiana State Museum is remarkable. From the velvety curtains to the exceptional 'just-as-you-remembered-it' food, the Tea Room shines again. For a special dessert, try the Pecan Ball--a generous scoop of rich vanilla ice cream drenched with a thick layer of warm and inviting chocolate fudge, covered by sweet and tender pecans.

    • Catherine

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      We went for lunch recently while visiting the museum. Somehow we had missed seeing it on another visit- it is around a corner, kinda hidden I think. Wow, surprisingly good food. Definitely go if you are in canal area. (Sorry did not have tea so don't know about variety or artistry.)

    • Michelle

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      I must say I went to this tea room expecting a traditional tea room. This it is not, but I was so glad I went. This is a GREAT Place for lunch. If you want high tea you MUST call in advance to arrange.The inviting atmosphere and Friendly service made our trip to Indianapolis one to remember. The food was great and the artistry of the food preparation was very inviting! The rasberry ice tea was yummy and the service could rival any tearoom I have visited. We will definetly be back.