Taichung's ultimate all-American bar
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Ann Lee
166-35, XiTun Road, Sec. 3
(06) 2286-6332 (Tainan branch)
Hours: 11 am-2am (kitchen closes 11:30 pm)
Credit cards accepted.
No service charge.
Taiwan is full of misnamed places, but Cosby Saloon isn't one of them. Walk through the double swinging wooden doors and you'll find yourself in a setting that could be a classic bar anywhere in America. Everything--the walls, tables, long bar--is light varnished wood. The walls and ceiling are covered with Harley-Davidson paraphernalia, American West pictures, Jack Daniels signs and U.S. license plates. It's the kind of place where Eagles music is almost mandatory.
No-nonsense, Harley-riding owner Robert Luo, whose preferred drink is a shot of Jack Daniels, opened his first Cosby Pub in Tainan in 1988. He notes: "At that time, no one used the term 'pub'. However, eight years later there were pubs everywhere--'KTV pubs', 'talking pubs' and so on--so I changed it to a saloon." "Cosby", he explains, came from Bill Cosby, who was in his heyday back in '88. Last year, Robert opened on Taichung's XiTun Road, following many of his Tainan Science Park regulars who had relocated to the nearby Taichung Science Park. The Taichung branch is a comfortable, warmly-lit place that seats about 70 downstairs, with an upstairs 50-person room available for parties and other functions.
The great thing about Robert's place is the fact that he fully complements his ambiance with everything that you'd expect from an American bar in the food-and-drink department. His big, tasty burgers come on a whole-wheat bun with all the fixings (lettuce, cheese, tomato, etc.) and fries; options include the third-pound Sirloin Burger (NT$220), double-patty V-Twins Burger (NT$280), Road King Burger (NT$280) and Turkey Burger (NT$250).
Just as good are the steaks, served with garlic bread, vegetables and baked potato (or fries), ranging from the NT$410 Rib-Eye to the NT$580 New Yorker. There are many other choices, too, including bratwurst, hotdogs, spaghetti, sandwiches, salads, soups and snacks. Another good option is the NT$140 weekday lunch (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) special with a choice from two main entrees, plus salad, bread and soup. For drinks, there's a full range of beers (NT$110-160), whiskies and other spirits, and cocktails, not to mention soft drinks (NT$80-100).
Walk into Cosby Saloon today and you're probably more likely to see a young Taiwanese couple or Indian software engineer, rather than a denim-clad cowpoke or bearded biker, enjoying a burger and beer. However, this delightful shrine to the all-American bar promises to keep you guessing just who might be next through those swinging wooden doors.