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Chinese tea house

Public establishment in China or of Chinese origin, where primarily tea, but often also other refreshments, are served. It typically doubles as a social meeting place. In the past, especially in larger businesses, also entertainment, such as Chinese Opera, was provided. Though tea houses are in Chinese commonly known as cha guan (茶馆), cha wu (茶屋) or as cha lou (茶楼) if the house has more than one storey, larger establishments that also offer entertainment, are usually referred to as cha yuan (园), literally ‘tea garden, yet ‒since it is a place where people gather for social interaction‒ the word yuan is here perhaps better translated as a ‘site used for public recreation’. One famous such establishment of the past is Dangui (丹桂) Tea House in Shanghai, which name means ‘Orange osmanthus’ and was coined on the Chinese term for Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans), also the city flower of Guilin (桂林), which in turn literally translates as ‘Tea Olive forest’. It was the earliest theatre offering Peking Opera (fig.) in Shanghai, a concept that proved to be so popular, that besides the original tea house, built in 1867 by Liu Weizhong and later referred to as the Old Dangui Tea House, a second branch was opened in 1884, which was consequently called the New Dangui Tea House. See also tea ceremony.