Urban Tea Loft: Happy Hour Report Card
The Hours: 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
The Details: Appetizers are 1/2 off, domestic beer is down to $2.50, and a glass of wine is $2 off. Urban Tea Loft's signature Teatinis are also $2 off, and a large pot of tea - because it is still a tea shop with a full bar - is $1 off. You can also get bottles of wine for 20% off.
There was a lot of lingering over the extensive Teatini menu - with names like Twilight Teatini and Persephone's Desire - before we settled on the Chocolate Rasberry Truffle-Tini ($7 - Chocolate liqeur, Vanilla Vodka, Carolines, and raspberry black tea). This is the kind of drink you fall in love with, a dessert in a martini glass: rich, thick, smooth, and oh-so-chocolatey, with that sweet hint of raspberry. If Tina Fey can have a brownie husband with a caramel filling, then surely it's not too wild to want to take this cocktail home and pick out curtains.
See how the appetizers stacked up next to the incredible Teatini after the jump.
The Caprese Tower made us love balsamic in a way we'd never loved it before.
For the non-drinker, we tried the Iced Tea of the Day ($2.75). Dubbed "Secret Garden" and flavored with rose and chamomile, it was a choice tea for cold season, like drinking Riccola or Vick' VapoRub - in a good way. There's something about the tea here that transports you to another time - like when you were tucked in warm in bed, missing school, with the scent of eucalyptus drifting through the humidifier - or, for our server, when she was a little girl at her grandpa's house.
The appetizer list is short, but based on what we tried, it seems to follow the philosophy of doing a few things very, very well. We ordered the Barbeque Chicken Pita Pizza ($4) and were warned that they had just gotten in a new barbeque sauce that was very spicy. For us, this was very good news - and when the pizza arrived, it's a wonder we didn't lick the plate clean. The sauce was extremely spicy but so savory, and the rest of the pizza was crisp and fresh.
We were lucky enough to sample the Barbeque Chicken Pita Pizza with a newly arrived, ultra spicy barbeque sauce.
Selecting at random, we finished with the Caprese Tower ($4 - tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese layered with balsamic and pesto). Every bite was sweet, tangy, and moist. The real standout was the balsamic, which had a rich, thick consistency and less bite, which made it an ideal complement to the dish.
The Interior: Urban Tea Loft is known for its trendy, downtown style, with high tin ceilings and bright colors on the walls and tabletops. There isn't a lot of seating inside, but there's also an extensive patio area looking out at the cute Chandler plaza. There are high shelves filled with cheery teapots, and plush half-booths. It's a particularly nice escape from the loud music of most bars: Here, there is a soft background jingle of jazz and country covers of Christmas classics.
The Cost: Two appetizers, one Teatini, and one iced tea, plus tax, totaled less than $19.
The Conclusion: A tea shop is probably not your first thought for happy hour, nor, on a late Wednesday afternoon, was it anyone else's. But this tea shop impressed us with the fresh flavors of its appetizers and the chocolate dream that was its Teatini. With any luck, its happy hour specials will soon catch on.
Overall Grade: A
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