Best Place to Chill Out - 2000
Imperial Tea Court
There's Golden Gate Park, but you never know when an errant Frisbee's gonna smack you upside the head. There's a trip up the coast, but outwardly directed road rage is a dangerous and ever-present probability. No, give us the Imperial Tea Court when the stresses of daily life have taken their toll and a little quiet time is absolutely imperative. Despite its location near the always-bustling North Beach-Chinatown border, this quiet, wood-paneled venue is a thoroughly soothing getaway spot. The ceremonial manner in which the tea is served and sipped forces you to slow down, to relax, to let time pass unheeded. There are 32 varieties of tea to choose from (at $3 to $5 per cup), and you can replenish your cup at your leisure from a pot kept warm on a tableside hot plate. Several millennia of chill-out experience go into these restorative brews; there's no hurry, no hurry at all.