Never fear if a six-pack of Taiwan Beer isn’t your idea of a good night of drinking; Taipei’s flourishing bar scene caters to all different tastes. Most mainstream bars are located in the Xinyi (信義) area near City Hall (市政府) MRT station, while the hippest indie bars are scattered throughout Dongqu (東區). If you’re looking for the it places to get a cocktail before going clubbing, Barcode, Halo, and Woo Bar are the places to go. Check out Fourplay and Alchemy if you’re a connoisseur of specially crafted drinks, or head to B-Line and Ron Cafe + Bar if you’re searching for a more relaxed environment.
Located on the fifth floor, this lounge draws crowds en route to the clubs in Xinyi with its classy decor, warm environment, and well-dressed patrons. The bar and booths are often crowded, so make a reservation, especially if you plan on coming during the weekend. Venture out to the balcony to enjoy a great city vista or play a game of pool. Not sure what to drink? Trust the bartenders to show you their best mixing skills and concoct something delicious. Don’t mind the tight security, especially around The Den, the VIP area; we’ve heard many celebrities frequent this lounge, so try to catch a glimpse if you dare!
Don’t bother asking for the menu here; there isn’t one. Fourplay is all about what you like, so simply let the bartender know and he’ll concoct a drink catered to your tastes. Not only are cocktails made with the freshest fruits and ingredients, but their presentations are also visually striking and their preparations entertaining to watch. Fourplay’s ambiance is cozy and relaxed, ideal for a classy date or a fun night out with friends. Patrons can sip their drinks seated at booths and small tables or at the bar as they watch the bartenders work their magic. Read more: Fourplay: The Art of the Well-Crafted Cocktail
Alchemy is home to one of the first Taiwanese speakeasies, created and opened in August 2012 by world-class bartender Angus Zou. It aims to bring an elegant drinking culture and lifestyle to the city of Taipei, providing a “safe haven” for patrons to enjoy a cocktail or two. As you make your way up the dimly lit staircase, you will immediately notice the ambiance change as you enter through the antique bookcase and surround yourself in luxurious 1920s-inspired décor imported from Europe and America. From the nearly 100-year old Italian marble table to smaller antique treasures such as lamps and mini crate barrels, the space will make you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time to someone’s cozy living room during the Prohibition era. Read more: Speak Softly: A Safe Haven for Cocktail Lovers at Alchemy
Opened in summer 2014 by the same owners of Spark ATT4Fun and situated in the same building, Halo is among the newest venues in Taipei. To call it just a bar is misleading: Halo serves an impressive dinner menu in the early evening before transitioning into a classy lounge at night, complete with a live DJ. Perhaps its biggest draw is the stunning view of Taipei 101 it offers from the balcony. Halo serves double-duty as a great venue for a dinner date or business meeting and as an ideal spot to grab a cocktail before heading to the clubs downstairs.
B-Line is the second venue opened by the owners of A Train, another bar tucked away on the second floor of a building in the city center. However, we find B-Line a little more convenient to get to, as it’s just three minutes away from the Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT station; look for the orange front door on the first floor that leads to stairways with subway maps of New York City as a background. When you arrive, expect to find a great selection of fine cocktails and unique flavors of beers, such as raspberry Hoegaarden. Designed in the style of an industrial New York loft, B-Line offers a cozy atmosphere especially suitable for small- to mid-sized groups. If you’re feeling peckish, order some food to accompany your drink; the pasta here is delicious.
An unassuming exterior belies the crowds of patrons that fill this trendy gay bar on weekends. Fluorescent lights, minimalist white furniture, and shiny metal bands that span the walls and ceiling lend Park a cool futuristic vibe. Weekends usually feature a live DJ, transforming the back area into a small dance floor. Park has developed a healthy following of regulars, so don’t be surprised to see customers being especially familiar with the bartenders when they’re not busy chatting with each other and sipping on the delicious fruity cocktails served here.
Photo via Park
Perched on top of the W Hotel, with the best pool patio in Taipei, Woo Bar is an unbeatable spot to hang out, day or night. Plush lounge sofas, minimalist decor, and a soaring ceiling make this bar ideal for the design-conscious traveler. There’s a wide selection of cocktails for you to choose from here, but mojitos definitely reign supreme; beyond the standard “Woojito,” Woo Bar offers eight different flavored mojitos, ranging from passionfruit to balsamic vinegar. Between their bustling weekends serving the pre-club crowd, their Mojito Mondays, and their Sangria Sundays, Woo Bar offers something for virtually every day of the week. Read more about Woo Bar here: Meet Me at the W: The 543 Tour of Woobar
Photo via UpAgaistTheWall
If you’re looking for something artsy, cozy, and removed from the bustle of Xinyi’s chaotic nightlife scene, take a 30-minute MRT ride to Shilin for a quiet evening. Founded by Taiwanese actors Rhydian Vaughan (鳳小岳) and Joseph Chang (張孝全), RON Cafe + Bar is a two-story bar/cafe hybrid. The simple wood and white-wall interior gives the space the intimacy of home, yet small touches like an eclectic collection of chairs and repurposed crates and the cool chandelier hanging above the staircase give the space an unquestionably chic aesthetic. Alcoholic drinks are served starting at 20:30, but you can drop by earlier for coffee and desserts during the day.