keeps aiming higher
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
532, YingCai Rd, 29F, West Dist. (Hotel ONE)
Hours: 6 pm-12 am (open to 2 am Fri/Sat)
English menu available.
Minimum bill NT$380 +10% per person Sun-Thu, NT$480 +10% Fri/Sat.
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Parking lot available.
Up until about several years ago, hotel bars were certainly not at the forefront of Taichung's nightlife scene. However, things rapidly changed following the deadly Ala Pub fire a couple years ago. With most popular nightspots suddenly under the government magnifying glass, many of the hotel bars--being fully legal establishments able to stay open later--became the new rage as watering holes.
Situated on the 29th floor of Hotel ONE, Lounge ONE probably benefitted the most, as it was already a popular, swanky lounge bar oozing chic appeal, together with a large bar, great drinks, lots of sofa-style seating and an attractive, professional staff. Today, things have mellowed a bit since the red-hot days when one could hardly find a spot to sit without a reservation, which is a good thing, although it can still be busy on Fridays and Saturdays.
Despite this success, hotel management now aims to continue making ONE a local nightlife trend-setter, introducing fresh cocktails and live music popular elsewhere. On the drinks side, it has started featuring outstanding guest bartenders to broaden horizons a bit, starting with bartender Mark Huang from Woo Taipei in October. Huang introduced eight new cocktails, including Flower of Agave, Sun of Mexico, and Heart of Agave, made with premium Don Julio tequila. The bar will continue serving ones that were especially popular, such as Woo Fashioned, Zegroni and Heart of Agave.
Left: November Guest Bartender Kit Cheung
Some of Mark's new cocktail creations.
From Nov. 9 to 24, veteran Hong Kong bartender Kit Cheung will stop by to offer six new cocktails, all created with Taiwan-made sake, vodka, mango liqueur, Kaoliang liquor and plum wine, plus fresh fruit. These include the Mary Mist, using rosemary-infused Taiwanese sake; Mango Black Tea, featuring Taiwanese black tea infused with Taiwan mango-infused vodka; and Pasabi, made with wasabi and local plum liqueur. All this joins ONE's already-extensive regular drinks menu that includes draft and bottled (NT$190-210) beers, 28 single-malt Scotches alone and a long wine list.
Following a string of guest bands every night of the Taichung Jazz Festival, Lounge ONE plans to organize similar events, perhaps during the lunar new year. In the meantime, there are weekly live bands from about 10 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays, such as Wailin' Soul on Fridays.
Left: Guest Taipei Bartender Mark Huang
Right: Guest band Parallax plays at Lounge ONE