Niu's Kitchen: Taichung's all-around nightspot
By Daniel White
Translated by Carrie Chang Chien
177, XiTun Rd, Sec 1, West Dist.; (04) 2326-5879
Hours: 6 pm-2 am
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Some people go out to a nightspot for the ambiance, some for the food. However, at Niu's Kitchen, you get both and a little more. Gazing into the dining area, your eyes are first drawn to high-beamed ceiling with brickwork that gives way to cool blue walls below. Posters of classic rock bands and paintings are hung throughout the space and muted lighting gives everything an intimate feeling.
At around 8:30 p.m. live music fills the bar with mellow pop and rock songs, both in English and Chinese. Later in the night, owner Niu himself takes to the stage and will handle any song requests directed his way. Furthermore, after 1 a.m. patrons are invited up to the stage to sing music themselves, accompanied by Niu on the keyboard.
The menu is extensive, with a wide range of drinks and alcoholic beverages, plus a large selection of food to satisfy the hungriest of music lovers. Beers run from NT$160 for Heineken or Budweiser up to NT$250 for Guinness Special Export. Harder liquors can be bought by the bottle, starting from NT$2,500, or by the glass from NT$180 and up. Cocktails start at NT$160 and wines at NT$1,200 per bottle. Wednesdays also feature the great offer of all-you-can-drink cocktails for NT$500.
If you're hungry, Beef Fried Noodles (NT$150) is one of the most popular dishes. Spicy Chicken Wings (NT$200 for 5 wings) is also quite good, with a dry crispy breading and the right amount of spice that allows a bite without setting your mouth on fire. The drink menu is in Chinese and English, and the food menu is only in Chinese, although the super-friendly staff is happy to help foreign guests out with recommendations and orders.
Niu's Kitchen may be slightly pricier than some of the other bars in town, but with the live music, great food and wide selection of drinks, you really get some great bang for your buck. So eat, drink, sing and be merry...and then take a taxi home.