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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, September 2004.

Living Big: The Taichung Nightlife Scene



Our 'Partytown' feature has given the lowdown on scenes in our fair city from Jazz to Punk to DJing, but it's time for a vacation to sunny Taichung for a weekend away. The city is well known for a dining and nightlife scene of far greater size and variety than the population would lead you to expect. Taichung is Taiwan's Texas - it's all big down there. Pubs and restaurants are often two or three stories and the discos frequently large enough to conduct military maneuvers in. Even better, the prices make us up here in Taipei recall the 1980's - which goes a long way towards covering the cost of a hotel.

Like to start the evening at a quieter place with style or unique character? One great place to get started is La Bodega (3, JingCheng 2nd St; 04-2310-7006), a Spanish-run bar that is cozy and specialises in great snacks (Spanish Tapas) mixed with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. If you like to sit outside, you can't go wrong with PJ's Cafe (23 DaYe Rd; 04- 2325-2457), with their pleasant indoor pub and a nice outdoor bistro area that is good for people-watching. Taichung even has an Irish bar in O'Chang's (Closed).

If you're feeling dressy or simply like a nice sofa, be sure to check out one of the many lounge bars in the city. Crystal (120-3 ZhongHua Rd Sec 2, B1; 04-2208-6206) and Escape (45-2, TaiZhongGang Rd Sec 2; 04-2328-0768) are both small, cozy and high-end establishments perfect for a date or meeting with friends. Liquid Lounge (98, ZhongMing S. Rd; 04-3601-9980) is classy and comfortable during the week, but frequently hosts the hottest parties in town during the weekend. Also, be sure to check out J&J Jeay & Jazz Bar (91, DaYe Rd; 04-2310-0136).

After a few drinks it's time to pick up the tempo, and perhaps catch some entertainment. Check out The Londoner (143, HuaMei West St. (04) 2314-6919) - fronted with huge Greek columns, a large outdoor deck, a lounge-like interior and probably the only outdoor pool table in the country. Chubby's (11, JingMing Rd; 04-2329-3327), rising up three stories and with an enclosed garden area is famed for interesting activities and great steaks. fM (185, BoGuan Rd; 04-2329-6400) is a fun and funky spot noted for having probably the finest cocktails in the country, art showings and occassional wild parties (like their famous underwear parties!). If art is your scene, then drop by Oldies (117, ZhongCheng St; 04-2328-7071) - with an surprisingly cozy museum-meets-gallery-meets-flea market decor and almost nightly performances. On the larger and noisier side, Live 2001 (5, NingXia E. Rd; 04-2311-8268) offers up cover bands and Concession (170, WuQuan W. 4th St; 04-2378-3576) provides cover bands, manpower and pole dancing shows in an old Shanghai setting.

No night out is complete without some dancing. Taichung's answer to MoS is Mint 27 (Taichung Central Dept. Store, 10F - 186, FuXing Rd, Sec 4; 04-3608-0599), a hotspot that features the best local DJs and performers (like Wu Bai and Power Station) as well as many international acts. A popular night spot for the over-25 set is the Pig Pen (41, DaGuan Rd; 04- 2383-4456), with a British-themed pub downstairs and a disco upstairs.

To wind down at a late night spot, and if burgers in a friendly attractive bar sounds good then be sure to drop by Peggy's Circle Bar (16-1, JingCheng 1st St; 04-2329-3998). Another spot which always retains a party atmosphere well into the late evening is 89K (89, ZhongMing S Rd; 04-2320-7010), a place where motorcycle enthusiasts mix with late night revellers for some high octane fun. For details on shows, events, parties and activities at all of these locations be sure to check our sister publication in Taichung, the COMPASS or download a copy at www.taiwan-guide.net.

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