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Tea time

By Anna Roe
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 18, 1999
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For those who have driven by the corner of Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue and wondered what the Velvet Tea Garden is, here is some information about one of Tucson's best kept secrets.

The Velvet Tea Garden opened a year and a half ago and combines the elements of a coffee house, a cafe and a night club all in one.

In the evening, the dim interior is garnished not only with the typical dining format, but with couches and colorful, overstuffed chairs. This comfortable two-room setting is decorated with impressionist, Van Gogh-style artwork.

Along with the artistic interior, the Velvet Tea Garden also provides a fully stocked cocktail bar.

Unlike the typical "campus-bar," the Velvet Tea Room is an all ages establishment with bar privileges for those who can produce the proper I.D.

Bill Johnson, the owner, said the most accurate description of the Tea Room is a "San Francisco-style coffee house."

True to that statement, the Tea Room has high ceilings and the front room is composed of all windows, allowing the insiders to watch the traffic pass as they enjoy their drinks.

The setting creates an easygoing vibe during the day and on weeknights, but on Friday and Saturday nights the place overflows to outside tables while the inside is packed with dancing people.

One other perk of the Tea Room is that after all the other bars close at 1 a.m., guests can join in the after-hours festivities, which continue until 4 a.m. Johnson said the idea behind this is for people to come after the bars close and have an espresso or a bite to eat before driving home.

The Velvet Tea Room's hours are 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for breakfast and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays the Team Room is open until 4 a.m. Tonight Psychic Bill will be spinning groovy lounge music.

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