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All-in-one nightlife options at Champs Elysees

129, AnHe Rd., 1F(Howard Prince Hotel Taichung)
(04) 2463-2323
Hours: 10 am-1 am
(food orders 11 am-12:30 am)
Credit cards accepted. Parking available.
10% service charge. NT$150 minimum bill per person.


-- By Douglas Habecker Translated by Ann Li

In the universe of watering holes, there are a number of standard stereotypes: the friendly neighborhood pub, the chic-looking lounge bar, the bar and grill, the hotel lobby bar, and so on. Surprisingly, in one way or another, the Howard Prince Hotel Taichung's Champs Elysees has very successfully managed to become all of the above for a growing number of resident and visiting patrons.

Located next to the hotel's lobby, Champs Elysees immediately defies the hotel lobby bar image in size, decor, intimacy and offerings. With a long, gleaming black-stone bar, high ceilings, comfortable sofas and other seating, subdued lighting, a grand piano and other classy touches, plus seating for over 50, it very intentionally models itself as a lounge-style bar. Early evenings on any given day of the week, the place fills up with a comfortable mix of foreign and Taiwanese hotel guests and area residents, with personnel from the nearby Science Park strongly represented among both groups. Thanks to the hospitality of bar staff, like Assistant Manager Linda Wang, who goes all-out to befriend her customers, Champs Elysees has become a lively social crossroads.

Being in a hotel guarantees more than just attentive service and a nice setting, however. Champs Elysees provides a full dining menu of reasonably-priced food, including salads, soups, appetizers, desserts, sandwiches and Chinese and Western entrees, ranging from the Grilled Salmon Fillet with Creamy Dill Sauce (NT$480) to the Howard Beef Noodle Soup (NT$210). Other options include a selection of 15 different barbecue sticks (NT$40 each), made on a grill in the bar from 6 p.m. to midnight, or NT$180 flambe desserts, prepared tableside, from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays/Saturdays. On Christmas Eve, a NT$1,200 semi-buffet Christmas dinner will also be available (see "What's Cooking" listing for details).

The drinks menu is comprehensive, offering just about every spirit, liqueur, cocktail and beer that one wants, not to mention non-alcoholic juices, teas and coffees. Beers are mostly NT$140 and cocktails are NT$180 to NT$200. However, in December, each Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., an all-you-can-drink selection of cocktails is offered for NT$450. This month there are also Friday/Saturday Japanese Whisky Nights (see Nightlife "What's On" listings). Another recent hit among patrons is the refreshing--albeit unusual--Heineken Green Tea (NT$60, NT$40 6 p.m.-12 a.m.). Keep looking for more monthly specials, particularly when it gets warmer and Champs Elysees re-opens the attached poolside seating area to 200 more customers.

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