Open every day since August 12, 1892, The Brown Palace Hotel has a long history in downtown Denver. Its guest list reads like a who’s who in the world, ranging from U.S. Presidents like Eisenhower to celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and musical legends like the Beatles. With that long history, it’s no surprise that The Brown also serves a longstanding English tradition, Afternoon Tea.
The Afternoon Tea menu includes some 14 teas, from herbal to organic to house specialties and property steeped for five minutes. The servers are trained in the fine art of English tea service. No detail is missed. I chose Vanilla Rooibos, a top grade African rooibos liberally flavored with Madagascar vanilla. At the first pour from the engraved silver tea pots, the smell of vanilla was heavenly, especially on my rainy Spring day visit.
Our Afternoon tea of choice was the “Royal Palace” that included a glass of Kir Royale, Crème De Cassis (blackcurrant liquor) topped with Chandon Champagne and fresh berries. The Brown offers a full menu of wines, champagnes, sherries and ports. In the background, a pianist tickled the black piano’s ivory keys, while other times a harpist provided the musical entertainment.
Once the tea and champagne were served, the fun began with a tiered serving plate of signature Afternoon Tea dining, all served on specially commissioned Royal Daulton bone china.
Warm house-made scones (buttermilk and spinach) and Devonshire cream shipped directly from England.
Petite finger sandwiches – cucumber; turkey & red pepper cream cheese; and egg salad – on crust-less and soft bread.
Oh and the top tier, chocolate!
FUN FACT: Except for crackers and sandwich bread, The Brown Palace Hotel prepares all of its own baked goods in a unique, carousel oven – catalogued at more than 50 years old. The oven is one of only three in the world known to be in existence and is still used every day.
Take a moment in the eight-story Atrium surrounding the lobby. Try to find the two UPSIDE DOWN cast iron grillwork panels on the railing. The historic atrium transports you back to the
Victorian days, and you can’t help but imagine all the historically famous people who took afternoon tea at the Brown.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown? President Teddy Roosevelt? The Beatles? They all stayed here, so it’s entirely possible. In fact, during one of pop star Billy Joel’s visits, he even played a duet with the pianist in the atrium lobby for elated guests enjoying cocktails.
Brown Palace Hotel – Afternoon Tea
321 17th Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
Afternoon Tea is served at The Brown Palace seven days a week in the Brown’s atrium lobby, 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m. Space is Limited. Based on Availability. Reservations required during holiday season.