Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Only in Taiwan

Engrish in Taiwan: Informatiob of Dept. of Education

Engrish in Taiwan

Butchered English

Top Human

Pubs, Bars, Nightclubs in Taipei

My Top Picks:

Alphabetical List:

Brass Monkey

Nice pub with good food and service. Easy access to MRT.


Best feature: Sunday Brunch

Citizen Cain

This is a small bar with a DJ, they serve food including pizza.


You know what to expect here.

In-House DJ Lounge Restaurant

JP Pub

Friendly service and a foosball table with primarily Japanese and local patrons.

Le Ble Dor Brewery and Restaurant

Specialty beers.

The Living Room

This is a very laid back place with sofas and live music.


This is a nightclub with a posh interior, two different music rooms, and plenty of attractive young people dressed to be noticed. While casual attire is tolerated, they draw the line at sandals and you may be turned away if you’re shoes are judged to be inappropriate. The cover charge is $400 if you arrive before 10pm. After that the cover charge is $700. This is one of the few places in Taipei that actually asked for my ID, so be prepared.

Getting to Luxy

Luxy is located about 20 meters from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station Exit 2 on Zhongxiao Rd.

My Other Place:

Of all of the pubs at this is the worst. While it is not bad, the atmosphere is a bit sterile. There is little to make this pub stand out from any other. Another complaint is that even if you are ordering alcoholic drinks, they will not give you water.

My Place: see The Zone

Panter Cigar & Wine
The best feature here is the walk-in humidor and large selection of imported cigars. This is also a quiet, laid back place to enjoy a drink while you smoke your cigar. They are located at No. 33, Lane 8, Sec. 4, Ren-Ai Rd. There are several other bars in this same area.


Best Features: Sofas, Water Pipes, Belly Danci

The Roxies:

Roxy 99 is a basement nightclub without much ambiance but attracts a young crowd with its reasonable prices and good location.

Roxy Jr. is an actual pub.

Roxy Vibe is an after hours nightclub

Saints and Sinners is a comfortable pub but nothing special.

The Shannon has good pub ambiance and drinks. They have a back room that is separated by a curtain which is smoke free. It's not perfect but better than nothing. It is next to Dan Ryan’s Restaurant.

The Taiwan Beer Bar features cheap Taiwan Beer and outdoor Seating

The Voice: Good drink specials, outdoor seating, and friendly service.

The Zone is a block featuring a mix of bars for different tastes.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Taiwan Storyland: The Lamest Place You'll Ever Go?

it would take a fool to come up with the concept of a multifunctional museum-theme-park-restaurant; or a visionary.
-Mark Caltonhill, Discover Taipei, May-June 2006
I vote for fool, since I considered this to be multi-dysfunctional. Now I know the Taiwanese love obscure themes for museums, and I haven't managed to go to the paper museum, the water museum, the tea museum, the hot spring museum, or the miniature museum, but I have trouble believing they could be more half-assed than Taiwan Storyland (although they could be equally half-assed). Struggling for visitors they have bought or begged a feature article in the May-June 2006 issue of Discover Taipei, which is a publication of the Taipei City Government.

The theme of Taiwan Storyland is 1965 Taiwan. There is a small replica of a 1965 community. Perhaps this is to show how much Taiwan hasn't changed in 40 years. The classroom looks remarkably like a modern day buxiban classroom with the exception of chalkboards, an organ, and the fact that it’s clean. There is really nothing here that held my interest. The article says they are relying on their restaurants as their primary source of income. The restaurant I ate at served very ordinary Chinese food, and I certainly would not pay a cover charge to eat at this restaurant.

The only thing they have going for them is location. It is located across the street from Taipei Main Station. The address is B2, No. 50, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao West Road.

The website is

Taipei Site Seeing Index:


Edit 4/2007: I have tried to link all posts in this blog to this page, or to categories listed on this page. I'm sure that there are some ommissions. To help, I have assigned each post labels so that you can find all posts which share a common label. Hope it helps.

Edit 1/2008: For the moment I have given up on updating the table of contents, but have been consistently adding labels to posts. Here are the labels to date (hyperlinks may not work, so use the search function):

101 airport AIT alcohol ARC Asiaworld Australia bars BBQ beaches Beer Beitou Beyond Taipei BOCA books BTCO buffets bus camping Carrefour certification check Chinese cks comfort contents Daan dumplings east coast embassies Engrish entertainment exam export food groceries health hotels hotsprings Hsinchu hypermarkets import Indian Indonesian Japanese JFRV links malls maps marriage Mexican Miramar misc MOFA mountains Neihu night markets nightclubs northeast parks pasta pets Pinglin Pizza post Restaurants scooters shops sites South Africa sun moon lake Taipei County Taoyuan taroko tax tea temples Thai theaters trade offices transportation trivia UK USA visa websites Xinyi Xinzhu Yangmingshan Yonghe Zhonghe




Daily needs

Health Care:


Site-seeing in and around Taipei

Beyond Taipei:


Mountain Areas:

Taipei 101 and the Surrounding Area

Taipei 101 and the Surrounding Area

For a brief moment in time this is the world’s tallest building. Taipei 101 houses a large upscale shopping mall. Besides the observatory, highlights include the Page One bookstore on the fifth floor. It has one of Taipei’s largest selection of books in English. There is a large food court in the basement which has something for everyone, if you can find a seat.

Nearby is a Theater (Formerly Warner Village). This is a large multiplex theater and shopping complex. There are also many other shops and department stores including New York New York, which features a replica of the Statue of Liberty. This is Taipei’s most pedestrian friendly area and doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the city. There are several blocks of pedestrian thoroughfares, and it is one of the few places where scooters and vendors are kept off the sidewalks. This may be because this area is trying to present an upscale image or maybe it’s because it’s next door to Taipei City Hall. Either way this is the cleanest and most orderly area you will see in Taipei.

Getting to Taipei 101: Take the Blue Line MRT to Taipei City Hall Station. If you go out of Exit 2 there is a free shuttle bus, but the line is often long and it is an easy walk. To walk from the MRT take Exit 3 and follow the sidewalk past the park on one side and the fenced off field on the other. This fenced off area is no doubt marked for future development. You will cross a bigger pedestrian walkway and continue south. On the next block you will cross Songgao Rd. and the sidewalk will lead you past some department stores. At the next block you will have reached Songshou Rd. and you will see the former Warner Village across the street. Cross over to the Warner Village side of the street and turn right. You will come to New York New York and you will see the Statue of Liberty on the corner. Turn left here and keep walking until you see Taipei 101 on the opposite side of the street from New York NewYork. The Mall Entrance is clearly marked.

Taipei Site Seeing Index

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Taipei Pubs: The Zone

The Zone is a block of bars hiding just off the main street on Lane 32 Shuang Cheng St. It is located within walking distance of Minquan MRT. Also called The War Zone or The Combat Zone, The Zone started as an entertainment district for foreign soldiers and has a mix of good pubs and annoying or sleazy hostess bars.

If you spend about 30 seconds in the hostess bars here you will have a bar girl ask you to buy her a drink. Regardless of your intentions this is not necessarily good or bad, as this is a normal part of Asian culture. If you buy a lady's drink, be prepared to pay about $300 for it. If a lady asks you for a drink, don’t be afraid to ask the price or to refuse her. If service has been good, consider buying a lady’s drink instead of tipping. Tipping is not part of the Asian culture, but bar hostesses are.

Some bars and girls are quite aggressive. My best advice is the harder the girls try to get you in the door or solicit you to buy them a drink, the less you will probably want to be there. These bars are often marked by women standing in front of the entrance; either loitering or encouraging you to come in for “one drink”. Some but not all of them are prostitute bars. I usually don’t spend enough on the lady’s drinks to be propositioned, but don’t be surprised if it happens.

Most bars don’t even open until after 7pm and are open until 4am; others are open as long as you want to stay. Some of the bars never seem to have any customers, so it is probably pointless to list all of them, as the name may be different next week.

Getting to the Zone

Exit at Minquan MRT, Red-Danshui Line. Come out Exit 1 and turn right on Minquan Rd. You will take a left on Zhongshan N. Rd. and then cross to the other side of the street. You can also take the underpass diagonally across the street. At the next block Zhongshan will intersect Nongan St. Cross the street and turn right. Then make an immediate left into the small lane. You will pass by some lanes where you can only turn right. The third lane is Lane 32. You will know this is the right one as the glow of neon goes down the lane on both sides. In the surrounding blocks you will also find many bars. You have reached The Zone.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in The Zone

My Place

This British pub features friendly service, free popcorn and a pool table. This is one of the spots that I keep stumbling back to. They are open until 4am, and they have a good assortment of pub food. They will occasionally stay open later if there is a football (soccer) game on.

Located in The Zone, about half way down Lane 32. This appears to be a typical British pub and does not have much ambiance but the friendly people on both sides of the bar make it worth checking out. You can check out their website at

Address: No. 3-1 Lane 32 Shuang-Cheng St., Taipei

Telephone: 02-2591-4269, 02-2592-8122. Most of the employee’s speak English so you can have them give directions to your taxi driver if you are having trouble.

The Farmhouse: This pub is next door to My Place. I've never been inside, but it's supposed to be ok and from time to time they have live entertainment.

The Manila

Across the street from My Place on Lane 32, this is a typical pub with good service that attracts a steady crowd.


This is a small hostess bar. I don’t recommend it unless you want to buy lady’s drinks in the hope of feeling up your hostess. Tokyo is located next door to The Manila on Lane 32. There are several similar bars along this block.

The Manhattan is a small hostess bar. It used to be ok, but since I've been there most of their staff has turned over.


This is a bigger hostess bar located at the end of the zone, on the corner across the street on Shuang Cheng St. This place offers what you can expect from hostess bars here. The girls range significantly in looks, from hot to not, and I have been offered additional services here. I don't really care for this place, but it is what it is.

Malibu West

This is a laid back place for a drink. They have a pool table and darts. It is located across the street from the main block of the zone. If you cross the street from the main zone, head East down the Lane 32 past Meilann, which is on the corner. The same owner and website as My Place:

Ai-Mei’s Coyote Pub

Open until 4am or until the last drunk stumbles out, they have friendly service and free Karaoke in English and Tagalog. The same management also has a Sunday afternoon disco, which is popular among the Filipino expatriate community. There is a free bus from the pub to the disco. Although it’s not strictly a hostess bar, the girls may ask if you want to buy them a drink.


This is a basement disco located on Shuang Cheng St. It is depressingly empty on Saturday nights. It will fill up with Filipino expatriates on Sunday afternoons.

Phoenix Piano Bar

They have a posh interior, but the musicians where not my style, especially when they started to do karaoke. This is located in the basement level of Shuang Cheng St. #23.

Other Bars in Taipei: