The Britannia Tearooms debuting in Midway District

Selina Stockley, of Surrey, England, has been living in San Diego for 31 years and this new business venture has long been her dream.

SD Britannia Tearooms Drink Up 2023

The Britannia Tearooms is at the corner of Midway Drive and Barnett Avenue — and nearly ready to open.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Happy Drink Up Month. Today, we’re spotlighting The Britannia Tearooms, a British-influenced, Victorian-themed tearoom opening Monday, July 31, in the Midway District near Liberty Station.

The business is owned by British expat Selina Stockley, who’s been running Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe & Afternoon Tea on India Street for 20 years. Her Shakespeare’s location will remain open as a quick-service shop and cafe, but her full tea service will move to Britannia Tearooms. Stockley recently showed us around her new space — let’s peek at her vision.

The building — formerly the Country Waffles restaurant — stands at 2323 Midway Dr. Stockley says the front yard will feature an English country-style garden, created with help from Walter Andersen Nursery.

Inside, guests will find décor thrifted or donated from across the county, including intricate chandeliers, old clocks, a princess-style carriage, and a carousel horse.

SD Britannia Tearooms Sherlock sitting room

We spy the beginnings of the “Sherlock Holmes"-themed sitting room.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Guests can expect Instagram-worthy themed areas like the “Sherlock Holmes” sitting room, “Harry Potter” bathrooms (witches and wizards), and “Mary Poppins” gift shop. There’s also The Lily Pond, a semi-private area attached to the main dining room for larger parties, and The Mad Hatter’s Tearoom, a private party area for 18 or more guests. A small, mushroom-filled garden connects to the party room, dubbed Alice Through the Looking Glass.

The main dining room seats 55 guests and afternoon tea sittings will be available on weekends — 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. — while themed teas will be available select weekdays, 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. As always, reservations are encouraged and walk-ins will be first come, first serve. It’ll be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Stockley says the kitchen is much larger than her space at Shakespeare’s, so she’ll be cooking up a storm in there.

SD Britannia Tearooms Drink Up 2023 Selina Stockley

Selina Stockley began her tearoom business with Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe & Afternoon Tea on India Street.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

4 quick questions with Selina Stockley:

Q: Why has your tearoom business been a hit?
A: “I’ve really concentrated on my food — making my own jams, curds, cakes, scones. It’s all about attacking everybody’s taste buds — I believe in bursts of flavor. Everything is thought out and thought through.”

Spilling the tea: The menu features 60+ loose teas, about 20 of which are “character-blends” created to match the personality of a character. For instance, the “James Bond” blend has rose petals, because “he was a ladies’ man.”

Q: Describe your business in three words.
A: “Magical. Traditional. Fantastic.”

Spilling the tea: Stockley’s smile answering this one said it all.

Q: What do you want people to feel when they visit Britannia Tearooms?
A: “I want people to step through those doors and they’ve stepped back into another era, like they’re visiting Britain. I want this to be a step out of your normal life into something where you can just be — two hours where you can just be.”

Q: What do you want people to feel when they leave?
A: “I want them to come out of here feeling refreshed, full, and ready to take on the rest of the day. I want it to be an experience, and I want it to feed the soul.”

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