The Perlov Tea House

perlovteahouseThis Hole in the Wall is a mammoth Chinese pagoda building on Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, a 5 minute walk south from Chistye Prudy metro station. Originally a high-renaissance style building typical of most of the others on this street, the building housed the offices and show rooms of the Perlov family; who were highly successful tea merchants.

In an attempt to be granted the privilege of having extraordinary Chinese ambassador Li Hongzhang, invited for the coronation of Nicolas II, reside in the headquarters of the family business, the Perlovs commissioned architect Karl Guippious to redesign the building in 1895. The façade was entirely changed and decorated with Chinese architectural elements. The interior also underwent many modifications and the first floor was turned into a store.

The Ambassador did not accept the invitation, however the building became possibly the first successful example of retail signage and remained in use as a tea shop throughout the Soviet Period, although the upper floors were turned into communal flats. The building was renovated and returned to the Perlov family in 1997.

Today the shop houses a vast collection of tea from India, Ceylon, China and Kenya with coffee beans from Italy, Brazil, Costa Rica and Kenya. The place is worthy a visit.