Cheers to another round at Laku Restaurant/Bar
By Vesper Stockwell
Translated by Naomi Lai
422, HuaMei St
Hours: 9 pm-4 am
NT$300/person minimum charge. 10% service charge.
Credit cards accepted.
Just off the canal along HuaMei Street, the sleek white and glass exterior of Laku stands out amongst a row of darker lounge bars. Inside, the decor is just as modern but also cozy. One of the managers, Jimmy, explains, "We wanted the place to be stylish, but also comfortable. That's why we chose soft sofas instead of stiff chairs." Indeed, the combination of disco balls, felted filigree wallpaper and plush red, crocodile-embossed faux-leather booths works to create a fashionable yet relaxing environment to savor drinks and a late-night meal.
If the complimentary caramelized, seaweed-sprinkled popcorn doesn't quite satisfy, try the popular Thai Shredded Beef (NT$200), Hakka Stir-Fried Squid (NT$180) or any of a wide range of sauteed and grilled dishes like Lamb Skewers (NT$160). In addition to your standard whiskeys, wine and cocktails like the syrupy Singapore Sling, Laku's main attraction is a small selection of German-style Deluxe Beer varieties (NT$150 for 330cc; NT$250 for 600cc; NT$350 for 1,000cc), all produced in a local brewery and served on tap. According to Jimmy, German customers have vouched for the authenticity, from the crisp and refreshing Gold Pils beer to the darker Dunkel with its distinct malty flavor. Made from soured grains that yield a characteristic tart, tangy taste, the Weissbier is said to be favored by the ladies. Perhaps this is because--according to a Deluxe Beer description--the higher amount of yeast is purported to help one lose weight. Beer diet, anyone? To create a more novel and interactive beer-guzzling experience, bring a couple friends to share at least two liters of beer (NT$700; NT$980 for 3 liters)) from your own table tap cylinder.
Tucked in the back, a fringed curtain drapes off a VIP corner that seats roughly 10 and can be enjoyed for a minimum charge of NT$6,000. You can celebrate your birthday with a free cocktail or go a step farther and arrange a private party. Laku can accommodate up to 80 people comfortably for approximate fee of NT$24,000, which includes an assortment of food. While many of Taichung's pubs and lounges offer KTV, Laku boasts a better-than-average audiovisual setup. With several strategically-positioned flat screens around the bar, you can be a singing sensation from any seat. So tap into that delicious liquid courage and pick from a dizzying list of Chinese or smattering of English songs. You can at least expect a round of applause from the staff, if not your date.