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Live 98

416, HuaMei Street
?? Closed


      This spot is almost always busy, passing the 'hotspot' test - so COMPASS dropped by to learn why. One clue is that 70-80% of the customers are regulars - this club has built its own community of friends. Co-owner Coco suggests why: "Anyone who comes in, even if only in groups of one or two, always ends up mixing and mingling with people from the other tables."

This loose community is made up of mostly businesspeople and office workers in their late 20's on up. During the evening many will get up on the stage and sing. But this is no karaoke, the singer reads from songsheets and is backed by a live keyboard player - not a TV in sight! The crowd is noisy and supportive of the amateur pop stars in their midst and, on the night I visited, a guitar player joined in.

The decor is comfortable and classy without being pretentious. Antique bicycles scattered about add a quirky touch. The tables are well-spaced, allowing for a sense of expansiveness and space but without being so distant as to be anti-social. Non-smokers will appreciate that the ceiling rises two floors in height, allowing cigarette smoke to rise and dissipate. There is a small dance floor in front of the stage, and there are a couple of tables upstairs with a good view of the proceedings.

Cocktails run NT$250+, bottled and draft beer NT$160+. Bottles of high-end whisky start at NT$2500, tequila NT$2500, wine NT$1500+ and bottles of cognac weigh in at NT$3000 and up.

The food is worth checking out, the Kao Ru Pigeon (NT$300) and the Salty Pork ( NT$250) being notable stand-outs. Regulars know to order the Fried Thousand-Year Old Eggs (NT$250), which is not noted on the menu.

It should be noted there is an NT$500 minimum charge and a 10% service charge - but that is a small price to pay to join in this circle of friends.

Alcoholic drinks are strictly prohibited
for those under 18.
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