Goldfish Tea is where you can try more than 100 varieties of other premium loose-leaf teas from around the world. It is also a community gathering space that supports the local arts, including open mic nights and a variety of fandom events like Pokemon and Harry Potter throughout the year. At Goldfish Tea, you can choose from a diverse selection of board games to play with your friends, ranging from the classics like chess and scrabble to Jenga and Apples to Apples. Goldfish Tea also welcomes book clubs, non-profits and businesses to reserve space for meetings. The teahouse is also available for private events as well as catering. They’ve hosted bridal showers, baby showers, proposals, and more.
Goldfish Tea is located at 117 W. 4th Street in a ground-floor retail space. Its doors open to an ocean of pedestrian activity. It has a small sidewalk patio with a few tables and chairs that’s shaded by street trees. It’s a great place to sit in the summertime and you’ll regularly see people doing homework, socializing, or playing games there.
“We are a contemporary teahouse offering more than 100 varieties of premium loose-leaf tea from around the world that are free of artificial ingredients and flavors,” says Kimberly Alverson, one of the owners of Goldfish Tea along with her husband, Kent. “We also offer smoothies, iced teas, locally-roasted coffees from Great Lakes, Populace and Anthology, espresso, hot cocoa, frappes and lattes. Sandwiches and a variety of in-house made baked goods are available for lunch or a snack.”
The entrepreneurial power-couple acquired Goldfish Tea two years ago, adding to their business portfolio alongside hihi (previously featured) and Lift. All of their businesses are located on Fourth Street. “When the previous owners of Goldfish Tea announced they would be closing in 2016, it was an opportunity for us to reach out and ultimately help continue a respected Royal Oak space known for its tea and ambience.”
Goldfish Tea endeavors to be the finest purveyor of specialty teas in Downtown Royal Oak. “We work with over a dozen tea farms and companies from around the world, seeking out the finest quality teas to offer our customers.” For the Alversons, this is one of their passions, and considerable research went into crafting their vision for the tea house. “We spent several years visiting popular teahouses around the country while working on plans to open a space of our own. This spring we visited tea farms in the Shiga prefecture of Japan (Michigan’s sister state and the birthplace of tea in Japan) and we are further expanding our selection of Japanese teas.”
Goldfish Tea is a proud sponsor of local artists, featuring several art shows per year. I stopped in to an art show last February, where over a hundred people came to see works produced by various artists. “Our art shows feature local artists and we host live music. We host frequent events including weekly open mics on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” says Kim Alverson. They also observe obscure red-letter days from pop-culture. “(We host) themed events such as Harry Potter’s birthday party this Tuesday, on July 31st.” On Thursday nights in the summertime, you are directly across the street from the Center Street concerts organized by the Commission for the Arts.
With an eye toward the future, the Alversons are optimistic that the transformations occurring in Downtown Royal Oak will be lucrative. “Local service workers are very supportive of local small businesses and we hope to encourage more office workers moving into town to support independent businesses.” Surely there will be more office workers in the years to come, many of whom will find Goldfish Tea to be their favorite place for break time or lunch.
Goldfish Tea is open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 10:00 am to 10:30 pm on Thursdays, and 10:00 am to 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Stop in, take some time to appreciate the art on display, try a new tea, and enjoy.