Taipei might not be the biggest cocktail drinking city in Asia right now, but it’s quickly catching up. As locals become more willing to pay more for a quality drink, the number of great bars has shot up in the last few years, and there is a whole world of experimental mixology to be embraced. Here are nine cocktail bars to discover in the vibrant Taiwanese capital.
RON XINYI is all about Taiwanese ingredients and most of all, the popular local Kaoliang wine — a high ABV liquor produced with sorghum. It’s hardly a spirit popular with foreigners or younger Taiwanese, but this bar showcases it in a fun and transparent way. Think Kaoliang and tonic presented with various garnishes and Kaoliang-based cocktails named after songs by indie bands. Even the food is fun, like the Panini with specialty dried duck from the neighbouring county of Yilan.
RON is located at No. 21, Lane 461, Section 5, Zhongshan North Rd, Shilin District, Taipei, p. +886 2 2883 6883. Open Sun-Thu 4pm – 3am, Fri-Sat 4pm – 4am.
AHA Saloon is no stranger to the limelight, and chances are, it’s always packed to the brim. If you’re lucky enough to get in, make your way to the bar to meet the award-winning trio of Kae Yin, Victor Yang, and Jeffrey Chang, who’ll then proceed to make you your drink. The punchy menu is derived from themes like ‘land’, ‘culture’, ‘faith’, and ‘memory’, and sees experimental things like asparagus juice, orange acid, and yam wine — yum. Just pick a flavour you like and let them work their magic.
AHA Saloon is located at No. 138, Section 2, Fuxing South Rd, Da’an District, Taipei, p. +886 2 2706 5206. Open Tue-Sun 8pm – 2am. Closed Mon.
Indulge Experimental Bistro
With accolades like the Michelin Guide and World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 (No. 11) under its belt, Indulge Experimental Bistro boasts three-time champion mixologist Aki Wang at the helm, leading his team to shake up trendy tipples marked by a distinct Taiwanese flair. Combining local tea drinking culture with cocktail classics, discover drinks like the Club Vieux Carre with fermented tea bitters, or Mar-Tea-Ni, which features a signature oolong-tea infused vermouth.
Indulge Experimental Bistro is located at No. 11, Lane 219, Section 1, Fuxing South Rd, Da’an District, Taipei, p. +886 2 2773 0080. Open Sun-Thu 6pm – 2am, Fri-Sat 6pm – 3am.
Alchemy Speakeasy Bar Taipei
Walking into Alchemy Speakeasy Bar is like travelling back in time to the Prohibition Era — you’ll need to pass a custom vault door and another hidden bookcase entrance. You’ll then find an intimate space with jazz tunes playing in the background, and a menu of inventive cocktails created with ingredients such as chrysanthemum, miso, and sake. A crowd-favourite, Paradise, mixes Amaro di Angostura with passionfruit, hibiscus, and orange blossom.
Alchemy Speakeasy Bar Taipei is located at No. 16-1 Xinyi Rd, Section 5, Xinyi District, Taipei, p. +886 2 2720 0080. Open Sun-Thu 8pm – 2am, Sat-Sun 8pm – 3am.
R&D Cocktail Lab
R&D Cocktail Lab is a particularly unassuming bar. The exterior is nondescript and its Asian-themed interior (think wooden bar counter and medicine cabinets) wouldn’t look out of place in a Chinese medicine shop. But this is where ingenious cocktails are meticulously developed layer by layer with original infusions and bitters, among others. Tart flavours such as strawberry and passionfruit are prominent during the winter months, while in Summer, you’ll see drinks like Mango Agogo, a rum concoction with mango sorbet and syrup.
R&D Cocktail Lab is located at No. 36, Jiaxing St, Da’an District, Taipei. Open Sun-Mon 7pm – 1am, Tue-Thu 7pm – 2am, Fri-Sat 7pm – 3am.
Bar Mood gets as close to ‘fine drinking’ as you’ll find in Taipei, featuring some of the world’s finest spirits and housemade syrups and juice made with local ingredients. If you plan to order more than two drinks, you’ll be allowed into the main bar where mixology legend Nick Wu and his skilled team shake up exquisite cocktails with a focus on rare spirits. Our pick? Beyond Paradise, a refreshing blend of jasmine tea-infused Mount Gay Rum. Don’t miss the 100% artisanal Iberico ham from the food menu either.
Bar Mood is located at No. 53, Lane 160, Section 1, Dunhua South Rd, Da’an District, Taipei, p. +886 905 773 621. Open Sun-Thu 6pm – 1am, Fri-Sat 6pm – 2am.
Looking for a brand new way to enjoy cocktails? Situated off of Zhongxiao East Road, Draftland is a minimalist bar where the cocktails comes from 18 taps. That means no bartenders, but bar ‘engineers’ that pour you the perfect pre-batched draft, stripping the nature of cocktails to its bare essentials. The menu is ever-rotating, and sees things like an English Milk Punch with brandy, dark rum, and fruits, and a Hibiscus Cocktail with hibiscus tea, vodka, and passionfruit.
Draft Land is located at No. 2, Lane 248, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Rd, Da’an District, Taipei, p. +886 2 2731 8975. Open daily 6pm – 1pm.
Marquee is all sorts of things at once: an American-Italian restaurant, trendy nightclub, and a lavish bar all decked out in Victorian-style decor. Popular among Taiwan’s celebrities and socialites, this is where you will find original cocktails designed by award-winning world-class bartenders. Perpetual favourites include a Lavender Whisky Sour and Violet Sangria — they sound simple enough, but they’re delicious!
Marquee is located at No. 16-1, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei, p. +886 2 2729 5409. Open daily 11.30am – 2am.
Ounce is a bit of a speakeasy, and you can access it through a button at the back of Relax Cafe. Here, your menu is one of the well-respected mixologists whose knowledge of cocktail history will leave you in awe. Many of the bar staff here are from the States, in a campaign by owner Yee Soong to bring New York City’s cocktail culture to the Taiwanese capital. Take a look at the back bar if you get the chance — it’s stock full of speciality spirits that will leave any drinks lovers jealous.
Ounce Taipei is located at No. 309, Section 4, Xinyi Rd, Da’an District, Taipei. Open Sun-Thu 6pm – 2am, Fri-Sat 6pm – 3am.
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