Picture 023aAn admirer of Bogart and Forties Hollywood, QueensOfVintage.com editor Lena was keen on spending a Saturday afternoon at Tea at Rick’s, a tea and tease event at London’s Cellar Door Club. Unfortunately, things weren’t quite as expected.

When I first heard about Tea at Rick’s, a Saturday afternoon ‘high tease’ event at the Cellar Door, I was thrilled. Rick’s to me means Casablanca, Bogart in a sharp suit and hat, Bergman’s white Forties dresses, men in uniform. Disappointingly though it was anything but that.

Advertised as “Bogart meets Bacall amongst the belly dancers and blackjack players in Rick’s Casablancan Cafe”, I’d expected to be emerged into the world of Forties Northern Africa. Instead I found myself in a tiny cellar bar in Covent Garden. There was nothing Casablancan about the very modern decor, despite the incense and fez-wearing waitresses.

A few small tables were set up against the mirrored wall, but having only booked a standing space, I was asked to stay in the bar area. The crammed space was already taken up by the blackjack table and a few other guests.

Complimentary glass of champagne in hand I decided to wait and see. Guests can book a full ticket, which includes a burlesque show, chips to play at the blackjack table, a glass of champagne and afternoon tea with sandwiches and cake. If you’re feeling a bit credit-crunched you can opt for a standing ticket, which will get you just the champagne and the show.

A piano player entertained us while the place was starting to fill up. Our hostess, a bellydancer, welcomed us all and kicked off the afternoon with a dance. Now don’t get me wrong, the dancing was lovely and the costume was nice, but it was neither burlesque nor did it have anything to do with the Forties.

bellyaThose who’d booked the full ticket were now served their first course of high tea, a rather meagre portion of sandwiches. Having been to other afternoon tease events, where sandwiches had been served on vintage china tiers by traditionally uniformed waitresses, this just emphasised the lack of detail and unimaginative set-up. Behind me, a bloke asked his girlfriend if they could leave. Which is what I did.

Tea at Rick’s is fine if you have money to burn and want to spend an afternoon with your friends with a few cocktails, just having fun and trying out a bit of blackjack. It’s definitely not worth going if you’re expecting a burlesque show or anything to do with vintage. Or Casablanca as a matter of fact.

Full ticket £33 if booked in advance
Standing ticket £15

More info at Cellar Door

One Response

  1. Michele

    Sounds like a complete rip-off to me. So many people are trying to cash in on the “vintage” thing and some get it completely wrong. Will definitely give that one a miss!

    I think they are trying to copy “Afternoon Tease” at Volupte.