A wild night to remember at Ringside
Written and translated by Diva
Photos by Andy Lin
10, SiWei Rd
When the automatic doors opened into Ringside, all I could hear was a live band and a crowd of people singing along to Bobby Chen. First impressions of this nightclub have to include the word "cozy". The space, which can accommodate about 100 standing people, is routinely full and a nice-sized venue for the frequent live shows. The atmosphere and interaction between performers and audience are so intimate that many people become regulars after just one visit to Ringside.
On stage, Bobby told the lively crowd that, although he was only scheduled to do one 45-minute set, he was determined to rock until the morning and no one could stop him. The crowd, roaring with approval, seemed to not mind paying the NT$500 cover, which came with one free drink. The night wore on and paused for a rest only when Bobby squinted at a man in sunglasses, sitting at the bar, "Hey! Who is that?" Bobby asked the audience. "Why, isn't it Xiao Huang-Chi, the famous singer?" As everyone's attention shifted to the bar, Xiao gave a little wave. "I wonder if he'd give us a song or two?" Bobby said as the crowd erupted and pleaded with the famous singer.
Xiao, who is actually Ringside's owner, gave in, got up, and walked to the center of the stage where he sang a blazing three-song set that kept the audience shaking and singing along. Camera phones broke out, people were screaming and pictures were snapped from every corner of the bar as the unexpected show continued. Xiao sounded great. You could feel it in the air--that night was something special and would become legendary at Ringside.
Indeed Ringside is full of surprises and there's more to it than meets the eye. It is a restaurant, a club, a lounge and a venue for special events. Interestingly enough, the place must be kind of romantic, too; in the last few weeks alone, there have been five marriage proposals and each one was a success. One thing that makes the place really stand out is its event planning. Whether you want to have a birthday party, anniversary, graduation, company gathering, Christmas or marriage proposal, Ringside can cater to your needs, plan the entire event, and execute every detail.
Many regulars enjoy Ringside's business lunch (Mon- Fri 12-2:30 pm) for two reasons: the all-you-can salad bar and reasonable prices (NT$150-180). Dinner starts around NT$300 per person and the menu changes every six weeks. Currently the most popular entree is Steamed Monkfish & Scallops with Mustard Coconut Sauce (NT$620). The fish is served like a sushi hand roll and, surprisingly, it doesn't fall apart when you eat it.
Ringside prides itself in being a cultural center, by promoting art, drama, live bands and magic shows. Even the cocktails have fancy, literary names. A good drink to try is Oedipus the King (NT$280), which is made with red wine, triple sec, and Midori melon liqueur--but don't worry, the only thing "Oedipal" about it is the name. If you're a Shakespeare fan, try The Tempest (NT$300), which is Xiao Huang-chi's favorite and made with Oreo cookies, Bailey's, fresh milk, and a scoop of mango ice cream. Yum.
Manager Howard says that the worst part of his job is turning away customers who show up too late or don't have a reservation; he insists on ensuring quality and service by not overcrowding the bar. If you want to join in on the fun and surprises at Ringside, he suggests browsing their website regularly and making reservations one month in advance for live shows.