by Kelly Wetherille
If the girls from Sex and the City lived in Tokyo, you’d probably find them at the ANA InterContinental hotel’s Champagne Bar for happy hour. The third floor bar is decked out in chic, modern and simple decor in beige and black, including cushy chairs and sofas, a sleek grand piano, translucent white curtains sectioning off the two areas, and soft yet dramatic mood lighting.
The menu at the bar includes various light food dishes, beer, wine, cocktails and, of course, a large selection of champagne. Lunch sets (¥1,365), made up of a salad, main dish, dessert and assortment of herbal teas are available, and make a welcome change from the usual bento fare. But perhaps the best offering at The Champagne Bar is the ‘happy hour for ladies.’ Every weeknight from 5 to 8pm, women can drink free-flowing champagne, champagne cocktails, wine and beer, plus enjoy a tray of appetizers, all for the very reasonable price of ¥4,500. Considering that a single glass of champagne here normally goes for ¥1,890 and up, this is one deal that’s hard to beat.
On a recent Friday evening the bar was populated by several small groups of well-dressed women looking for a fun way to end their week. The two types of champagne available during happy hour are G.H. Mumm and Louis Roederer. Both are pleasantly dry, but the latter has sweet notes that lighten it. There is also a third sparkling wine that changes seasonally—during the winter months the bar featured a strawberry variety called Fresita, which hails from Chile and Patagonia and makes a lovely dessert wine to end the evening.
Overall The Champagne Bar is the perfect venue for a stylish girls’ night out. Perhaps the only area that could be improved is the speed and service provided by the staff. When the bar filled up it seemed that there weren’t quite enough waiters to go around, and at one point we had to wait nearly 20 minutes for a refill of our glasses. But that said, I can’t think of a way I’d rather spend the early hours of a weekday evening. Good friends, good conversation, and free-flowing champagne— what more can one ask for?
Open Mon–Sat (11:30am–11pm)
1-12-33 Akasaka, Minato-ku