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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, September, 2005.

All's well down in the Underworld

45, ShiDa Road, B1
Tel: (02) 2369-0103
Hours: 8 pm-4 am;
Fri/ Sat 8 pm-5 am

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--By Mark Payne Translated by Ann Li

On June 30, the long-standing live music venue Underworld, located on ShiDa Road, staged its last gig. This certainly seemed to be a major blow to the Taipei underground music scene. However, upon paying it a visit last Saturday, I discovered that perhaps all is not lost. Underworld previously staged live gigs until around 11 p.m. Due to licensing problems, it was forced to cease live music. The bar has now re-invented itself in the pre-11 p.m. slot to what it always was to those who favoured visiting earlier in the evening--an excellent place to hang out and drink.

The Underworld has all the hallmarks of an excellent watering hole; there is a friendly and competent staff, a relaxed atmosphere, an underground vibe, and an interesting crowd of drinkers to chat with. Despite its name, strange but wonderfully vibrant murals (painted by established artist Keith) prevent the bar from looking gloomy, even as it still manages to retain the feel essential to its character.

A different DJ plays from both personal collections and the rather extensive in-house collection every night. The music isn't overpowering and generally centres around the Indie/Rock /Alternative genre with each DJ adding his own twist. The DJs seem friendly, relaxed, and certainly open to suggestion.
The Underworld is open from 7 p.m. every day till the early hours, although they prefer that you arrive before 4 a.m. Beer (Budweiser, Heineken, Corona) prices are pretty reasonable, at NT$130, while large standard Taiwan Beers are NT$150. High Balls are NT$160 while the well-mixed cocktails start at the same price and move upwards from there. Tequila Shots are most enticing at NT$100 /shot. For those that prefer teas and coffees, these start at NT$130. In addition, the bar has recently begun serving homemade pizzas (NT$120-150).

The Underworld may have temporarily lost the ability to host live acts but something tells me that mere red tape won't stop them from remaining one of the leading bars in Taipei underground scene.


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