There’s nothing like caffeinated drinks in an array of novelty flavors to drive the American consumer. But can a cup of tea, with its air of subtle refinement, demand the devoted following of its more jolting caffeinated cousin? Argo Tea may be to Chicago what Starbucks was to Seattle-the local chain that takes the nation by storm. At least, so it hopes. The chain’s Chicago cafes share an uncanny resemblance to the Starbucks model, down to the mood lighting and stylishly stacked merchandise. Only instead of coffee paraphernalia, it’s hip, pastel teapots, and rather than “Pumpkin Spice Latte,” the banners read, “Try our new Mango Mateccino!”
Opening its flagship New York cafe at 949 Broadway, Argo Tea also has plans to roll out five more locations within the year, including spots at Columbus Circle and N.Y.U.’s Langone Medical Center. Argo signed a 10-year lease for its Flatiron location on Broadway. The asking rent for the space, about 1,200 square feet, was $250 a square foot, according to Crain’s. CB Richard Ellis‘ Andrew Goldberg and Matt Krell represented Argo in the deal; landlord Michelangelo G11K Flatiron was represented by Jeffrey Roseman and Kristina Dedekian of Newmark Knight Frank.
The Flatiron Argo Tea plans to open later this month. With a Starbucks on every corner and growing disillusionment with an instantly gratifying, cult-of-now culture, maybe New Yorkers will welcome a slightly slower-paced change. If the past year has proven anything, it’s that America still loves a good tea party.