It may surprise some that you can actually enjoy some pretty civilized pursuits in “Sin City”. Art lovers can visit galleries like the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (currently featuring the exhibition “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light”). If you visit at the right time, you might catch a symphony performance at the Smith Performing Arts Center. And, of course, you can always indulge in an afternoon tea.
What’s that, you say? Afternoon tea, that most civilized of activities handed down from our British forefathers? Why yes. There are a few places in Las Vegas where you can relax over a hot cuppa tea, little finger sandwiches and small, delectable pastries during the middle part of the day when you’re feeling a bit peckish between lunch and dinner.
Here are four locations for afternoon tea that are easily accessible to Las Vegas visitors:
The Tea Lounge, Mandarin Oriental
Score yourself a bit of tranquility at The Tea Lounge on the 23rd floor, which provides the visitor with a bird’s eye view of the Las Vegas Strip, “far from the madding crowd”. You can get a Classic English Afternoon Tea here from 2pm-5pm for $36. Choose from a selection of freshly brewed loose leaf teas (including Mandarin Orange Blend, Golden Assam, Organic Lychee Green tea, Jasmine Pearl white tea, and more); sandwiches (including smoked salmon and cucumber, Black Forest ham, and curried chicken salad); scones with clotted cream and jam; and a Chef’s selection of assorted tea pastries.
The Petrossian Bar, Bellagio
Those looking for a tranquil spot for tea may want to avoid this one. The Petrossian is in a high-traffic area between the lobby and the casino. But the tea is reportedly very good, the bar provides a classy setting, and if you’d like to do a spot of people-watching while you indulge, this is the tea for you. The Petrossian’s Afternoon Tea service is offered from 2pm-5pm daily. Enjoy a selection of open-faced sandwiches, English tea sandwiches, fresh scones with clotted cream and preserves, and various miniature pastries, along with a variety of teas, of course. Cost: $35 per person, and an additional $2 if you choose the Jasmine Tea. You can add in sparkling wine for another $13. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.
The Verandah, Four Seasons (Mandalay Bay)
The Verandah is an Italian restaurant located on the lobby level of the Four Seasons in Mandalay Bay. Afternoon tea at the Verandah is served Monday-Friday from 3pm-4pm, making it a bit more restrictive, time-wise. The cost per person is $30, or $38 if you want champagne or a green tea martini with it. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. This tea offers seasonal menus. Scones with Devonshire cream, Strawberry preservers and Lemon Curd are standard, along with a delicious variety of tea sandwiches and tea pastries that I am already drooling over. Milk chocolate and candied Mandarin velvet cake, anyone? Teas include Orange Pekoe, Organic Assam, and Blackcurrant, among others.
English’s Quintessentially British, Town Square
Town Square isn’t on the Strip proper, but is easy enough to get to by car, by cab (fare should be roughly $12-15 from the Strip), or by bus (use the “SDX”, Strip & Downtown Express). English’s is a restaurant offering traditional British food made from scratch. English’s Quintessentially British Afternoon Tea is served daily from noon-5pm offering several different “tea packages” ranging in price from the Sussex Cream Tea for $10 (tea service, scones, jam and cream) to Cream Tea for $18 (tea service, scones, cream jam, finger sandwiches and pastries) to Champaign Cream Tea for $25 (same as Cream Tea but with a glass of champagne). They also offer the more creative Pimms O’Clock (a 2-person jug of pimms with fresh strawberries and cream) for $20. In addition to a selection of teas that include green tea, darjeeling, and Earl Grey, they offer a variety of coffees (including french press, espresso and cappuccino) for us Americans who just can’t seem to make the switch.
One thing all of these places have in common is that you will want to bring a healthy appetite with you–or perhaps a new friend–to help you eat all the food that is included with tea. And I recommend wearing something a step up from shorts and sneakers. This is supposed to be a civilized experience, after all.
Photo credit: Afternoon Tea by _CrystalHuang, Creative Commons.