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World-class ambiance & cocktails at Barcode

By Amelie
Translated by Ann Lee

9, TaiZhongGang Rd, Sec 2, 2F (Landis Hotel)
(04) 2323-0778, ext. 2217
Hours: 6:30 pm-2 am (to 3 am Fri/Sat/holidays)
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge. Reservations recommended on weekends.

Taichung's nightlife crowd may be forgiven if at times they forget about one of the coolest lounge bars in the city. After all, Barcode is almost hidden on the second floor of The Landis Hotel, at the top a staircase behind a large wooden door. Step inside, however, and you'll quickly be immersed in a chilled-out establishment that serves up a relaxing ambiance and some of the tastiest cocktails in Taiwan.

Open now for almost a year and a half, Barcode is related to Taipei's popular Room 18/Barcode group, which just opened a third Barcode in Kaohsiung. That means you get to enjoy the elements which made the original such a success in the capital city's demanding, competitive nightclub market. The Taichung ambiance includes a lot of white marble, red and white leather seats and sofas, a chic-looking bar and a variety of house, lounge, chill-out and jazz music. Manager/bartender Simon Chiang says he wants his customers to be able to enjoy a quieter, relaxing ambiance where you don't have to shout to be heard.

Amazingly, despite the upscale setting, the minimum charge is just the cost of a single, basic NT$200 drink--and a glance at the delicious-sounding names on the cocktail menu will probably have you ordering at least a few. Simon says the emphasis is on healthy, fruit cocktails with interesting ingredients, from mint to lemon grass. The Beverly Hills Iced Tea replaces the usual cola with champagne, while the Turbo Mojito uses a special eight-year rum plus grape and mint flavors and some champagne.

Barcode Originals (NT$300-350) include the Black Mystery, invented by their Taipei bartender Pete Kendall. "Most ladies don't like whisky, but they will after drinking this," says Simon about this mix of fresh juices, whisky and honey. Then there's the Ula Ula, made with Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and fresh apple and lemon juices, sweetened with honey. Other alluring concoctions include the Yello, Honey Berry Royale, Space Gin Smash, and House Cosmopolitan, in addition to traditional favorites like the Mai Tai and Singapore Sling. Perfect for cooler evenings, there are even hot cocktails, like the Blazer--cognac fired with bitters, sugar and liqueurs. Of course, there's also a full selection of beers, champagnes, wines, whiskies and other spirits.

If that weren't enough, Barcode just started its "Match Up" promo that mixes four amazing desserts with equally-good cocktails. This includes the Appleberry Jr. cocktail with a Sticky Date Pudding with toffee sauce; Passion Pie cocktail with Apple Cake with brandy cream sauce; and the Espresso Martini with Panna Cotta with whisky caramel. If that doesn't have you madly salivating and charging out the door for Barcode, you're probably not human.

Alcoholic drinks are strictly prohibited for those under 18.


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