TAIPEI 2018 - THE 12 BEST BARS FOR STUDENTS AND TRAVELERS

2018-02-07

TAIPEI’S 12 BEST BARS FOR STUDENTS IN 2018

New to Taipei? Backpacking or studying here?

Here are the most essential  bars you should experience in 2018.

(For full and current event listings at these Taipei bars all in place, click here to go our daily event directory)

Taiwan bar prices can be expensive. There's no denying that.

That's why we've created this list, and are also recommending when is the best and most affordable time to visit if you're on a tight budget.

(in no specific order)

1.    BRASS MONKEY – SPORTS BAR

Best Night: THURSDAYS -  Ladies Night/ international Mingle

The Brass Monkey bar has been an institution in Taipei over the last 15 years.Primarily a sports bar on most nights, the Brass Monkey is one of Taipei’s best bars, with an excellent food menu and premium craft beer selection on tap, thanks to manager Bob Marshall’s highly discerning nose for only the best craft beer.

However, come every Thursday, this popular Taipei bar lets its hair down with its infamous Ladies Nights that rages on till 4A.M. Expect a very diverse crowd of teachers, students, locals and business visitors . Girls get free cocktails from 9pm-midnight and beers start from 150NT if you buy it from the bar girl at the door. A bucket of Moosehead beer is also a good (albeit short-term) investment.

Even better, the Foreign Students in Taiwan (FSIT) organization usually have a weekly International Mingle networking event here every Thursday from 7pm to help foreign exchange students connect and network better. Ask around for co-ordinator Daniel Tarpy to help you get settled in if it’s your first time.

Nearest MRT Station: Nanjing Fuxing Station

Address: No. 166, Fuxing N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104

2.    JAMES JOYCE IRISH BAR

Best Night: Live Bands (Saturdays)

James Joyce Irish Bar recently moved to a new spot facing the Roosevelt and Xinsheng intersection.It’s a true Irish bar in every sense of the word and has infused some much needed life into the beleaguered Gongguan nightlife scene. 

Owner and friendly Irishman Mark makes  it his mission to support live music in Taiwan, and you’ll find mindblowingly good local expat bands such as the Flat Fives, Twangover and 3Day Bender on the stage every Saturday night.

Entry is always free, the Guinness is on tap and  icy cold and the atmosphere lively and inviting.

3.    REVOLVER  左輪手槍– LIVE MUSIC BAR

Best Night: Weekends and Wednesdays

Taipei’s longstanding patrons of live music, situated near CKS Memorial Park, is the best place to rock out in the city, a bar where the music always comes first . British-owned yet reminiscent of everything good about a Japanese rock dive bar, evergreen Revolver is still as popular as when it started out.

Most nights you’ll find talented local indie bands or visiting Japanese and Western bands shredding anything from rowdy death metal to punk and rock in the cavernous upper levels of this small venue.   This live house puts a huge emphasis on supporting and showcasing local Taiwanese bands to bigger audiences.

Revolver bar is usually so packed with creative types and students on weekends that the crowd spills out onto the streets. After the bands wrap up around midnight, you can usually catch some excellent DJ playing experimental ambient,  electronic and Drum’n Bass sets  till late.There's pretty much something to do at Revolver every night of the week.

VERDICT: The best supported and most consistently excellent live music bar you’ll find in Taiwan.

4.    1001 NIGHTS HOOKAH BAR

Best Nights: Ladies Night (Wed); International Nights (Fri)

This late-night Middle-Eastern hookah bar (that’s hookah, not hooker, please pay attention), is growing more popular every time I go there, and probably the most international bar in Taipei.  It’s a haven for lovers of salsa, hip-hop, world music and its International, Student and Ladies Nights are well supported by Taiwan’s student, African, Carribean and Latino communities.

Friendly owner Amini is always around to make sure the bar always oozes Middle-Eastern hospitality and authenticity. You’ll find the best sisha and belly dancing performers in Taiwan here. 

1001 Nights can get very packed on especially weekends and the dance floor usually heaves with Latino dancing until the early morning hours. If you’re looking for Latin or Carribbean music after 3am, head here.

The bar is perfect for large groups with its comfortable table and sofa pairings, but you’ll need to book in advance.

Wednesdays are Ladies Nights, with free drinks and entry for girls, and Fridays are International Nights, where guys pay 500NT cover with 3 drinks and girls 300NT with 2 drinks. Drinks options are a spirit mixer or beer.

Verdict: Visit here if you like Latin style bars that are packed, loud and open till sunrise.

5.    ANOTHER BRICK - BELGIAN BEER BAR

Best Night:  Weekday evenings

This elegant new bar/café  opened its doors in 2017 and is a welcome addition to Taipei’s student bar scene.Another Brick offers a bit of Parisian cafe flair in Taipei’s Shida district, and it's owned and managed by  a small team of European beer importers and a local Taiwanese. 

With minimalist and creative décor, a musical theme (spot the Pink Floyd reference in the name) and cool ambient lighting, it’s a bar for older students and visitors, and the perfect venue for a date or a few quiet drinks. The long bar counter is friendly and inviting and you have an extensive choice of quality craft beers and cocktails.

Their pita bar offers contemporary and healthy food options if you’re sick of nightmarket food.

Another Brick is classy and always good for a relaxing visit on week nights, but gets especially busy on weekends where you might be lucky enough to catch guest DJ set in their secret and totally awesome basement.

VERDICT:  Perfect for Post-Exam or Pre-Drinks

6.    PACHUCO - MEXICAN BAR

Best Night: Saturdays (DJ) and Taco Mondays

This cosy Mexican restaurant and bar is frequented by long time expats and new arrivals alike. Situated in the Dongchu (East Side) district of Taipei, Pachuco offers events on most nights of the week, where you can expect to catch top acts like Marcus Aurelius and O-Soul Brothaz play anything from reggae, hip-hop  to old skool.

The Tex-Mex menu is top notch and authentic, and drinks offer good value for money, with Taiwan Beer drafts starting at 130NT.

Best of all, whenever co-owner Gabe is around, there’s a good chance you might have some free tequila coming your way!

Verdict: The perfect spot if you're craving good Mexican food and old skool DJ tunes

7.   LEVEL UP EXPERIENCES

Best Night: Hip-Hop Night at Triangle (check their FB)

Level Up Experiences is not a venue but an innovative movement headed by Daniel Black and his team of friends who are on a mission to set new standards for parties in Taipei. They’re always on the lookout to bring something fresh and original to Taiwan’s nightlife scene.

New York-raised Daniel has a strong vision for what’s exciting and he always executes this with passion and flair, whether it’s upscale or unassuming, organizing the kind of events that he enjoys. Their portfolio includes hip-hop nights at Triangle or Marquee, a beach party,  a pool party in the opulent Shangri-La Far Eastern Hotel, a handpicked dinner night at a secret gem of a restaurant, secret house party, or a charity art event to support abused women or raise funds for a disaster area.

This team are master networkers and some of the nicest people you’ll meet in Taiwan. They focus on quality, not volume.

Level Up events really captured the zeitgeist of Taipei’s continuing international evolution and new generation for me in 2017 and builds on the legacy of previous expat organizers.

Verdict: To paraphrase Jimi Hendrix: Are you experienced? 

Well, if you’re not, get on the Level Up elevator in 2018. It’s only going up.

8. TRIANGLE

Best Night: Student Nights (Wednesdays) and Fridays

Underground king Triangle is a wildly popular French-managed bar/ club that has quickly developed a very loyal following for their diverse range of club nights that support the student, hip-hop, D n’ B, LGBT and other communities.

Ask most expat movers and shakers in Taiwan what their favorite hangout is and you’ll most likely get Triangle.

The vibe is always energetic and unpretentious. Drinks are affordable and often times most club visitors will relax outside the venue with cheap drinks from “alternative” venues (7-11) It is extremely popular with students for this reason.

Wednesday nights are Students Nights (free entry and drinks) and Fridays and Saturdays are also packed.

Triangle is located in the Maji Square with a few other bars, restaurants and a fantastic international pop up food stall market to visit earlier in your night.  To get there, take the MRT to Yuanshan Station and head towards Maji Square.

VERDICT: An essential venue to visit ASAP

9.    BLACK WIND - ROCK DIVE BAR

Best Night: Wednesdays and Weekends

Black Wind Bar  is one of Taipei’s best kept secrets- an absolutely brilliant little gem of a rock bar, frequented by yours truly a few times a week.It's adorned with rock memorabilia and rather unexpectedly, probably the biggest Transformer robot you'll see in Taipei.

Bar manager Stephen (previously from DV8) makes sure your glass stays full and is a rock music oracle of wisdom. Ask him about Fuji Rock and he’ll play you any song you want to hear.

You’ll also find a faithful group of local regulars hanging out here, giving it a truly Taiwanese vibe.

The vibe can change within in seconds, and you can hear anything from metal to rock to psy-trance, depending on who's there.

Laid-back and casual, and a short walk from the East Side pop up bar and Pachuco, you’ll find familiar faces here most nights of the week and ice cold Taiwan draft beer from 150NT per pint. A great little dive bar to make friends, play some electronic darts (2 boards) and spend quality time with friends.

VERDICT: Great and cheap for small groups looking for good music, conversation and darts.

10. ROXY ROCKER 搖滾客 - LATE NIGHT BAR

Best Night: Saturdays

Taipei’s oldest and most famous bar chain has now been re-consolidated into one location on Heping East Road near Daan Park.

Inside this massive basement bar you’ll find 3  distinctly different areas, Roxy 99, Rocker and Roots, each celebrating Roxy’s heritage over the last 30 years.

The main room, Roxy 99, continues the hedonistic debauchery of its ancestors with rowdy rock and pop classics belted out to keep everyone’s (usually drunken) asses on the dancefloor till 6a.m. You can go from the Doors to ACDC to Katy Perry within minutes.

The 2 other rooms are quieter and more relaxed, playing mainly rock, metal  and reggae classics. Feel free to request any song from the DJ and admire the record collection and Led Zep artwork everywhere.

 Roxy’s open till 6am on weekends and is a very popular after party spot for many as it closes when the sun comes up.  You’ll find an interesting mix of mainly students, teachers and local regulars here who you’ll get to know within a few visits.

Roxy Rocker is also an excellent choice if you’re meeting up with friends during the week and looking for a chilled, relaxed venue with good music. Cover charge is 300NT with 1 drink (pay 20NT more at the bar to get a Heineken draft beer). Bring your ID as it will be checked by the door.

VERDICT: Need a place after 2am? Come on over.

11.    ON TAP TAIPEI – BRITISH PUB

BEST NIGHT: Lad's Night (Wed)  AND Spicy Sundays

Taipei’s best British pub has great food and drink specials on their “Spicy Sundays”, with Mexican food and beer combo’s starting from a ridiculous 199NT until 11PM.

The outside patio usually fills up early evening with patrons and expat sports teams taking advantage of the Happy Hour ( everyday from 5pm till 8pm) to finish their weekend off in style. 

There are dartboards, a pool table and a giant wooden Jenga set downstairs to keep you busy, and they show pretty much all popular sports, including the EPL and NFL.  Ask manager Josh when he’s going to trim his beard and you might receive a free beer. Or a slap. Anyways…

VERDICT: Great for large groups, sport events and food specials on weekdays.

12.   PATIO 84 (Tienmu)

Patio 84 bar is Tienmu's most popular bar and caters especially for students and sports fans.

They have daily Happy Hours from 4-8pm andweekly specials, like $10nt wings,   Friday 5-for-500NT Moosehead  buckets and 90nt tequila shots. Check them out next time you're in the northern parts of Taipei. Patio 84 also shows all major Western sports events and have a great food menu.

Special Mention: 7-11

Best Night: Any night, every night. Always open, 7-11!

No report on Taiwan’s student nightlife scene can be signed off on without mentioning convenience stores such as 7-11 and FamilyMart.

It is par for the course for any cash-strapped expat to get their drink on at the plethora of 7-11’s conveniently located right next to all major clubs and bars.

They often get busier than the bars themselves! You'll quickly lose your shame of drinking on the sidewalk in full view of the public, as foreigners unfortunately do in Taiwan.

7-11 stores a wide selection of excellent beers and spirits at ridiculously affordable prices, and is open 24 hours a days. There is also no cover charge!

Just don’t try to sneak any beer into a nightlife venue. Trust me, not a good idea...

VERDICT: Pre-drinks, post-drinks. Hell, anytime!

MONDAYS: Pachuco and Black Wind (call to see if open)

TUESDAYS: Brass Monkey Salsa Night

WEDNESDAYS: Triangle and Revolver

THURSDAYS: Brass Monkey and Elektro

FRIDAYS: M Taipei, 1001 Nights

SATURDAYS: Revolver, Roxy Rocker

SUNDAYS: On Tap

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STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

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