19, Lane 149, MeiCun
(MeiTsun) Rd, Sec 1; (04) 2326-3295
Hours: 8 pm-2 am
(open to 3 am Fri/Sat)
No service charge.
Credit cards not accepted.
One-drink minimum charge.
Six young friends from various professions and parts of Taiwan have injected a tremendous amount of creativity into this comfortable, laid-back lounge bar. Doing most of the work themselves, they converted an old unoccupied printing factory into this bar. Co-owner Alfie Li, an industrial designer, says that Matches' slogan, "a little cozy flame in a dark alley", means that coming here after a bad day at work is like "lighting a match", making one feel happy and comfortable. Besides cocktails (NT$200-300), there are basic mixed drinks (NT$150), various Scotch whiskies and spirits, wines and draft beers--San Miguel (NT$130, 500cc) and Hoegaarden (NT$150/300cc, NT$250/500cc). Heading south along the JingGuo Boulevard parkway from Taichung Port Road, Matches is on the last right-side alley before reaching GongYi Road, within 100 meters of Park Lane/Eslite shopping mall (see Compass Map). --By Douglas Habecker, translated by Naomi Lai
A. Bartender Dan Hsu poses with "Wonderland" and "Crazy Tingles", two of Matches' dozen creative cocktail inventions. Each of these was designed to tell a story or symbolize something from the owners' lives. Hsu won a cocktail-contest award in Hong Kong for Crazy Tingles, made with fresh strawberries and cranberries, red chili sauce and vodka. Its spicy-sweet flavor represents the emotions of flirting and falling in love. Wonderland, made with Midori melon liqueur, fresh kiwis and vodka, represents co-owner Alfie's Peter Pan-like feelings of not wanting to grow up or get old.
B. The interior features a mix of old and new styles and includes a variety of table and sofa seating areas. The long bar's red velvet bar chairs are meant to resemble matchsticks, while built-in shelves and slats underneath allow one to rest one's feet or store purses and bags.
C. Besides the long drink menu, patrons can also order some simple foods, like the addictively-tasty Duck Breast (NT$180) and satisfying, topping-covered Hot Dog (NT$120).