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Late, very laid-back
nights at Sound Garden
By A.S. Keller
If you've lived in Taichung for any length of time, you've probably
already had a drink or three at Sound Garden. If you haven't yet,
it's only a matter of time. Sound Garden is inevitable, much like
the sunrise that finds many patrons still partying at this interesting
and unique nightspot. When the rest of Taichung's night clubs
are telling you to drink up and clear out, SG is just gearing
Located on Daguan (Takuan) Road across the street from the
The Pig Pen, this is perhaps the most laid-back juke joint
you've ever seen. It's an outdoor establishment, very well-suited
to the late, late crowd. Don't let the lack of walls and
a roof hold you back as there's more here than meets the
eye. The service bar bordering the sidewalk is, more or
less, a small shack, with flip-up service windows and stools
lining the sidewalk in front. Draught beer and shots are
a very reasonable NT$100.
As you arrive, you'll smell the charcoal grill where you
can satisfy your hunger with a pretty good hamburger. There's
a variety of snacks on the menu, all delicious hot off the
grill. Mr. Wong, your genial host, is usually on hand and
his gentle and friendly Dalmations are always happy to assist
As you move deeper into the open-air garden, you'll find plenty
of benches and trellises that lattice into the treetops. Overturned
cable spools serve as tables near a 40-gallon drum where a fire
is kept burning on the cooler nights. From a converted railcar,
DJs keep a cool mix of tunes spinning through a solid sound system,
as you dance anywhere and anytime the music and mood moves you.
At Sound Garden, the dance floor is where you dance, which is
to say, anywhere you dance, THAT'S the dance floor.
Sound Garden is also a great spot to people-watch--folks
coming and going from The Pig Pen and Lion King make for
an interesting show as the night slides by. On more than
a few occasions, Yours Truly has watched the sky grow lighter
from a comfortable bench near the fire, then wandered out
to the bar for one for the road.
Sound Garden is an experience. For some, it's almost a ritual.
Check it out--this is a bar with character and characters.
And bring your sunglasses. You may well still be there when
the sun rises.