Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“Champions sits on the second floor of the Copley Marriott, next to a lounge with soft seating and the overpass connecting the Pru to the Marriott.”
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Address: 110 Huntington Avenue
Date of Visit: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Server Name: Craig
So we are a bit bitter about this Champions location, because the old one just felt so much more like a sports pub. The “new” (it’s not really that new…probably about 2 or 3 years old now) Champions sits on the second floor of the Copley Marriott, next to a lounge with soft seating and the overpass connecting the Pru to the Marriott and Copley Place Mall. The new Champions does outdo the old in terms of overall quantity of televisions, though, as there are no less than 10 large HDTVs directly behind the bar, as well as individual TVs for your party’s viewing pleasure both in some of the booths as well as in the function rooms, which would be perfect for an alumni gathering or fantasy draft!
The bar area is expansive and boasts high ceilings and an open air feel, allowing patrons to view out into the hotel area. The bathrooms here are also across the expanse that is the hotel lobby. To the right as you enter are a couple of large private spaces as well as a more secluded dining area which boasts some long hightop tables as well as booths, many of them featuring the aforementioned individual TVs – these prove perfect for dinners when there is a game on and you’re with a few friends.
The staff here tries their best to be attentive, but they are clearly overworked. Despite wearing puzzle pieces to signify their importance to the success of the establishment, it seems that they are stretched a bit thin. We didn’t sit right at the bar, but the bartenders do a heck of a job pumping drinks out, which probably lends to their lack of true craft cocktails on the menu. While not quite a “beer bar,” they boast a good amount of better beers (not quite the local craft-types that have been the rage – but you can pick up a Magic Hat #9, Dogfish 60, Mayflower, etc.).
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: Strawberry Mojito
Ingredients: Bacardi Rum, Strawberry, Fresh Mint, Lime
Review: So this drink was not my first choice. I had wanted to try the Cran-Apple Margarita off the seasonal menu, but the bar did not have any cranberry simple. So I was forced to make a game time decision and go for the Strawberry Mojito, which I thought would be a good marriage between some yummy flavors. Unfortunately, this was not the case. This drink was a tad bit medicinal (think strawberry cough syrup) and was unbalanced between the strawberry flavor and the mojito flavor 0 it needed a lot more lime and mint to balance out the sweetness of the berries. It would have been nice to know what the menu meant by “strawberry” as I didn’t see (or taste) and real berries in this drink – was it juice, strawberry puree, or perhaps Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup? To be honest, it tasted like the latter.
Eric’s Drink of Choice: Sideline Cooler
Ingredients: Ketel One, St. Germaine, Cucumber, Fresh Lime
Review: “I have flowers in my mouth” – my first reaction when sipping the Sideline Cooler at Champions.
I really love elderflower cocktails. Like really a lot. There is just such an interesting freshness when infusing the flavor into a properly balanced craft cocktail. That being said, not even an elderflower loves elderflower enough to drink one of these after having their first. There’s not much I can say about the cocktail because it just tasted like elderflower – it was totally overwhelming, blow out your palate elderflower flavor.
“There are flowers blooming on my tongue…I just got pollinated” – me, about half way through the drink.
I want to try and find something nice to say about this drink. I feel like it could have been quite refreshing if there was some Sprite or club soda…maybe even tonic would have helped. But seriously, I often talk about drinks being “dangerous.” The only dangerous thing about this cocktail was ordering it, and then being so overwhelmed by the flowery flavor that I drank gulps (alternating with water), just to finish it and cleanse my palate with a beer. I may have to go back and order something else just so that I don’t discredit the bartenders here too much, as I’m sure they have talent and this is just a faulty recipe.
“Wow, I feel like I just chewed on elderflowers,” – me, as I set the drink down and flagged down Craig for more water and a beer.
Wine Prices: Thirteen whites and fifteen reds are available by the glass from $8 to $19 each and by the bottle for $28 to $74. Five sparkling wines/champagnes and three dessert wines are also available.
Beer Prices: The full list of beers at Champions is available online here – most of these were $6 for a pint and $8 for 22 oz. They also had seven seasonal beers on their menu during our visit.
Other: Champions has eight Signature Cocktails – along with the two above, other options include a Long Island Iced Tea, Pomegranate Sidecar, and Peach Margarita. All of these drinks are $8-10. They also had three Seasonal Drinks on the menu for $10 each, none of which were available to order as they were changing over the menu.