Canal District veteran Live 98 Piano Pub offers a place to unwind
By Ann Li
Translated by Ann Lee
416, HuaMei St
Almost a decade ago, there was a good number of night clubs and pubs clustered together in the Huamei Street "Canal District" area. While some have come and gone with time, you'll still find all sorts of nightspots there. Notably, these include Live 98 Piano Pub, which has been in business longer than any other nightlife venue along the canal, as it continues to generate a lot of fun memories for its evening patrons.
Live 98 attracts passers-by with its entrance garden and wide, very large door. The main decor color is black and, while it may not be the trendiest or hippest place in town, it does exude its own charm. The spacious, high-ceilinged interior is one of the biggest pluses here, and helps waft tobacco smells away from non-smokers who enter. The big 130-ping space is also a rarity for most pubs. If you're looking for a relaxing night out, you'll be entertained with live keyboard performances by two talented pianists, who sing everything from Mandarin and Taiwanese songs to classic Western tunes. Or you can jump on stage yourself and perform karaoke-style.
There is a good liquor selection at Live 98, with whiskies averaging around NT$3,000, brandy around NT$3,300, and beer costing NT$220 for a 600cc bottle. You might also want to try their cocktail selection, and there are non-alcoholic beverages like teas and juice. The kitchen offers snack-type items like fried chicken nuggets (NT$250), dumplings (NT$200) and the signature noodle dish (NT$200)--all good options when you get hungry after some drinks. Customers get to enjoy a few free appetizers and, if they're very lucky, one of the complimentary daily specials the boss himself provides.
Live 98 opens at 9 p.m. but is also available as a venue for private gatherings, birthday parties or corporate gatherings. For these events, starting from 6 p.m., the kitchen will prepare a buffet catering service for the entire party. Groups of 36 or more that would like to organize an event involving dining and karaoke should contact the pub three days in advance.
The secret to Live 98's longevity is quite simple. As owner Da-Ge notes, it exists to offer patrons a place to feel totally at ease and relieve themselves of stress through some good old relaxation, drinking and singing. That makes this establishment a favorite destination for old-timers and first-timers alike.