A tradition of hospitali-tea at Swing The Teapot

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Travelling through Long Island, I stumbled across a joint in Floral Park that really does deserve far more from this area than to merely be stumbled across.

This café/bar goes by the name ‘Swing The Teapot’ and, the only thing that seemed more intriguing than the name, was the place itself. As soon as I walked into the building I knew that the place was like no other of its kind. None of the plates matched one another (nor did the cutlery for that matter), the tables and chairs all had lived lives of their own in New York, and before I found myself sitting on what I later realized was a church pew, I became completely enamoured by the artwork that adorned the exposed brick walls. My eyes glanced across each piece, gradually reviling the collective works of nothing short of a genius.


I chose to indulge myself in what turned out to be the best fish and chips I’ve had in America, washed down with a cup of hand blended Irish tea. Both warmed my trans-Atlantic blood in equal measure and cured my taste buds of their homesickness.

It was soon after, whilst sitting to dinner with the owner Shane and his daughter Lara, where I learnt that the paintings were the works of Shane’s late brother Orwin, and the name ‘Swing the teapot’ dated back to 1929 where, in true longstanding tradition of public houses (that’s an Irish pub to you or I), Shane’s father-in-law would tell his mother to “swing the teapot”, filling up the cups for the dozen-odd guests that would attend dinner in the family home.

To this day, the same sense of hospitality can be found sitting down to a comprehensive (not to mention delicious) menu of traditional Irish classics, incredible home baked breads and desserts from Shane’s ‘Tulip Bakery’ and contemporary-American delights in the teapot at any time.

I chose to indulge myself in what turned out to be the best fish and chips I’ve had in America, washed down with a cup of hand blended Irish tea. Both warmed my trans-Atlantic blood in equal measure and cured my taste buds of their homesickness.

After my meal I did what I recommend anyone in Long Island to do, and stayed for the best in local live music that is held every Friday and Saturday and is guaranteed to leave the teapot swinging just as it did all those years ago.

I wouldn’t stay away from this place… not for all the tea in Ireland.

Swing the Teapot
6 Verbena Ave. (off Tulip Ave.)
Floral Park, NY 11001
(516) 488-2180
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Sun-Wed, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m; Thurs, 8:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri & Sat, 8:00 a.m.-midnight… or later!

photo: Peter Regan

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