Best Bars in Taiwan
“May the most you wish for Be the least you get.”
You don't have to search the earth for a lively evening of relaxation. Taipei offers a wide variety of opportunities to slake a thirst and to meet new and intersting people. Most of the five star hotels provide waterholes, many with live entertainment, however for the more adventurous, we offer the following recommendations - 10 of Taipei's best bars and pubs for starters.
Taipei's Combat Zone
Rumour has it that the zealous former mayor of Taipei wanted to close down the Zone which would have been a pity; aside from the over-priced Japanese style entertaining area around Linsen North Road, it is the one and only entertainment area that is (a) reasonably priced and (b) safe.
Patina - Located in the heart of Taipei's "combat zone", the Patina is nevertheless slightly off the main drag and caters more to resident expats and Chinese than to the laptop itinerants. A friendly bar with a strong following of regulars; reasonable prices and a pool table as well.
Hsiaoling - The Hsiaoling has been in the same spot for more than 12 years and under the same careful management - two ladies with a head for business and knowing what keeps customers happy. Their formula works; the Hsiaoling is ALWAYS crowded.
The Bridge -The Bridge is one of the newer pubs in the Zone but has quickly gained a reputation for its friendly atmosphere and attentive service. The staff speak good English and foreigners are well looked after. Prices are reasonable.
The Front Page - Located on the ground floor of the recently renovated Imperial Intercontinental Hotel on Lin Shen North Road, The Front Page provides an attractive sports bar ambience and is anideal meeting spot for a quiet business drink or for launching (or finishing) an evening exploring the "Combat Zone".
L.A.P.D. - The Los Angeles Pub and Diner (popularly known by its acronym - LAPD) offers good Californian & Mexican food at reasonable prices. This is a professionally run bar under American management. Good food, reaonable prices, friendly service and bar games make this Pub worth a visit.
Sean's Irish Pub - It is hard to believe that Taipei's Westin Hotel on Nanking East Road has been open only a little more than a year. Thanks to a central location, spacious design and good management, the Westin has quickly established itself in the minds of the local foreign community as one of the best places to meet up for a drink after work.
Malibu - Some bars come and go but the Malibu has been around for yonks. It seems to get more popular with time. Most nights of the week you will find the expat business crowd hanging around the bar discussing everything from the state of the yen to presidential sex lives. Located just of Ren Ai Circle (behind Wendy's) in Hsinyi district, Malibu has to be one of the best.
Brown Sugar - Possibly one of the best bars in Taipei for live jazz music; the Brown sugar (located near the corner of Hsinseng South Road and Hoping East Road) is usually packed to capacity seven nights a week. Choice of stand up bar or seating in the entertainment area, this place makes for a great night out.
The Pig - A long time ago in a place and time far, far away, the Pig & Whistle opened its doors in Tienmou and ushered in a whole new era of drinking and entertainment. The Pig (a change of ownership forced a change of name) has a large horseshoe bar, dartboard and live music. Add in hoards of classy Chinese ladies and an expat crowd with their wedding bands slipped quietly into their pockets and you had for a while an unbeatable combination. The Pig is still good fun but is not the place it
The Original Pig & Whistle lives on in Hsinchu and in Kaohsiung and just keeps getting better. Increasingly, Hsinchu is becoming a dormitory city for Taipei but the adjacent Science Park means that more and more expats are finding themselves living in Hsinchu and indeed in the southern port city of Kaohsiung. If you are either of these areas, then the Pig & Whistle is probably the best place to start your evening. You will probably meet some interesting people at the bar and may well stay until the place closes.