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52nd St. Bar
371-1, Du Shing Rd.
(04) 2203-7872
Hours: 7 pm-3 am
Getting there: Head south on Taya Rd., turn right onto Jian Shing (ChienHsing) Rd. About two blocks up, turn left onto Du Shing Rd. at the 0K convenience store and 52nd St. is on the right, a block down.


Good jazz and ‘heavy catalysis’ at 52nd St. Bar

By A.S. Keller

      “So many nice touches,” I scribbled among a pile of cryptic notes on the back of last month's magazine while sitting in 52nd St. Bar. At first glance, it looked like many of the small lounges that have sprung up in Taichung--hidden around a corner, smallish, hard to find by accident.

      I walked in, took a table in the back and ordered a drink (NT$100). Jimmy Rushing’s “Everyday I Have the Blues” was playing on the stereo, a good first impression. Over the course of an hour, there was some bebop, a little swing and a couple of crooners, all classic--Billie, Ella, Louis, Bird, Mel, Chet. My ears have no hesitation in recommending you find this place.

      The eyes had fun, too. One entire wall, running the length of the bar, is painted with an impressive black-and-white mural of a working jazz band. There's a Miles poster behind the bar and a great James Moody print hanging, like Moody would, in the very back. Even the menu has classic Miles cuts listed inside the cover and a transparency of Dizzy in the back!

      I learned a new word, "catalysis". It appears in the drink menu, modified by the adjectives “light”, “middle” and “heavy”. I looked it up: "An acceleration of the rate of a process or reaction, brought about by a catalyst, usually present in small managed quantities and unaffected at the end of the reaction…” There's a variety of drinks listed but the one that caught my eye, under the heading “Heavy Catalysis”, was something called "God Damn Floor". Doesn't sound like the sort of thing that one associates with being "unaffected at the end of the reaction".

      I didn't have time to eat, but I'm always on the lookout for a good hamburger and there's one on the food menu for NT$150. There was also a charming bartender named Miko (who speaks excellent English). Not enough? How about a huge projection screen TV in the corner showing the Jets being mauled by the Raiders? Great picture and a good place to watch the game.

      I hit my two-drink limit about the time the Raiders put it out of reach. The tune was "Hit the Road Jack" (no kidding) but I'll definitely come back for more.


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