The Art of Drinking: A Selection of Secret Spots in Taipei

Are you tired of going to the same, loud bars and lounges that all of your other expat friends frequent?  Then it’s high time to start discovering the many quiet, secret bars that Taipei has to offer. You won’t find any of the posh “who’s who” scenes at these places – these bars are purely for enjoying the art of drinking and for having intimate conversations with close friends. Secreted in back alleys throughout Taipei, most people unknowingly pass by without realizing it’s a bar. So if you’re looking for something different to do at night or a place to impress your next date, you’ll find a list of some very cool secret bars below.

1. MoD

A favorite hangout of both hipsters and whiskey connoisseurs, MoD’s high bar and cozy atmosphere is perfect for a date or night out with good friends. The dark entrance is set back from the street, with the bar’s neon logo pointing the way. The vibe here is that of a low-key, neighborhood bar and is good for a weeknight visit since it can get crowded on the weekends. We suggest the Whiskey Highball or asking the bartender for a whiskey recommendation and having it served on a perfectly round ball of ice.

Photo courtesy of MoD’s Facebook Page.


2. Watersheds

Tucked away in a quiet alley behind a fire station, Watersheds is one of the narrowest bars in the city. Despite having been around for 15 years, it’s still an elusive spot for many people, and just finding it can feel like an accomplishment. The limited seating and intimate atmosphere is unsuitable for large groups, so go with a close friend or two for a nice chat and ask the easy-going bartender to make one of his specials written in chalk on the blackboard.

Photo by Musee Wu


3. Carbon Bistro 備長炭

Situated in a quiet residential area, this Japanese-inspired bar and bistro offers great food and seasonally mixed cocktails. The super friendly staff and bartenders will be more than happy to cater to your tastes – just let them know what kind of alcohol and taste you prefer (sweet, tangy, bitter, etc.) and they will make a special for you. The understated décor and smoky atmosphere in Carbon Bistro gives the place an old-timey feel. They are also known for their large selection of Japanese whiskies and scotch. Drop by for a late bite and night cap.

Photo courtesy of Carbon Bistro’s Facebook Page. 


4. MonoMono

Expertly hidden behind dense foliage and dark walls, MonoMono’s entrance and impossibly small signage often lead people to believe they are permanently closed, especially since it is situated in such a quiet residential neighborhood. But once you step inside, the swarm of activity is an indication of the coolness that presides over this bar. In-the-know art, music, and media scenesters love to gather here and mingle over drinks and great music. MonoMono’s elusive and mysterious vibe, hard-to-find location, and association with the cool crowd all add to its status as one of the best secret bars in Taipei.

Photo courtesy of MonoMono’s Facebook Page.


5. Li Tun 立吞

The motto pasted on the walls explains it all: Stand up, take a bow, and kanpai! “Kanpai” means “cheers” in Japanese, and that’s exactly what you’ll want to do at this bar/restaurant where the tables and chairs are made out of stacked crates to imitate the humble, relaxed, down-to-earth style of small bars found throughout Tokyo. They serve crisp, fresh Orion beer on tap, along with a large assortment of Japanese sake, liquor, and shochu. Make sure you order the pomelo beer, which is their refreshing, signature drink. The food here is also delicious and very reasonably priced, we recommend ordering some yakitori to go along with your pomelo beer.


Photo courtesy of Li Tun’s Facebook Page.

Feature image by Musee Wu

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cyeh commented

Li Tun’s yakitori issss so gooood! love the pomelo beers too~

Sean Lee commented

Fucking Place for hispter dive (and film industry hang out), MoD Sequel (more modern take on MoD, same owners, bartenders used to all work at Mono Mono)

rp commented

nice, more of these please

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