Assuming you have already done the night market scene, if you’re into the nightlife but are looking for a more interesting atmosphere away from the big clubs, Taipei is the place. Particularly the quaint and charming Daa’n District. Da’an is made up of residential, commercial and educational establishments making this area quite peaceful. Daa’n is made up small, clean neighborhood roads dimly lit by warm streetlights. You will find that at night it is very peaceful, doors closed, cars parked along the road and very little street noise. This is until you enter your first neighborhood bar or speakeasy.
Nowadays the speakeasy concept has started to rise and obviously not due to alcohol being illegal but I would think it’s to provide an escape. A hideout from overbearing night spots that don’t really provide warmth, craft and detail to your cocktail and rendezvous experience. In Da’an it is all about the neighborhood vibe, here you are free from rage, and you, may speak easy.
In Da’an I would suggest three bars. One would be Monomono, which provides a nice small lounge and neighborhood vibe atmosphere. The entrance would be highly unassuming with a dimly lit sign as the only indicator of life. As you enter you pass through a dark small hallway where you can already hear the merriment and comforting chitter-chatter a good bar always provides. The main area is dimly lit with music nicely humming in the background. It has a great selection of whiskies and cocktails to enjoy. The crowd seamed to be mostly students and a bit of yuppies making the atmosphere very relaxed.
Second is Wootp. It is a spacious area with a low ceiling and is finished with copper, wood, steel, some 50’s decorative pieces and a bit of a steam punk feel. Here, the long and comfortable bar is highly inviting but for those that want to be a bit more private, table seating is available. Here, they boast their specially crafted cocktails. So if you’re craving something that’ll wake up your taste buds then this is the place.
Lastly, do not forget to head to Ounce. In real speak easy fashion it has no sign or visual clue that resembles a bar whatsoever. You will find yourself staring at this café that says “relax” at the front door. When you get inside you will surely doubt yourself and maybe even feel embarrassed to ask if there is a bar tucked away somewhere in this wholesome café. On a wall filled with frames and photos you will find a buzzer toggle, when pushed! The wall will slide open and a receptionist will seat you. The interior is a small, warm, cozy hideout with old 20’s music playing. Here they have your standard cocktails made with great detail or you may describe some flavors to your bartender and they’ll make it for you. Now since I do like to munch on small orders while having a cocktail (who doesn’t right?) I was a bit bummed that they didn’t offer any appetiser or bar chow menu. Other than that this place does it right.
After all the markets and bars I would highly recommend relaxing and ending your trip by going shrimp fishing on Zhishang rd. Entering this big space with a warehouse like roof you will see a huge square man made pond filled with freshwater shrimp. You register upfront, buy your bait, grab your pole, drop your line in the water and sit back and wait. Whatever you catch you may eat so don’t be shy! The is a cooking and eating area complete with a cleaning and prepping area. Salt, soy sauce and wasabi is available for seasoning and dipping and ofcourse the broiler! Believe me, shrimp has never tasted so succulent and sweet until that day. Oh! Did I mention they sell cold beer?
Here in Taipei the food is alive and the nightlife is diverse. Despite the remnants of communist structures, Taipei is a modern city with a gentle beat and I will surely be back.