Hanging in Taipei

Photos by MJ Klein and Hui-chen

We don’t go into Taipei very often. Its a love-hate situation. I like the cool stuff you can do in the city, but it’s….. well its a big dirty city and there is too much traffic and too many people for my liking. But after reading about Taiwan blogger Andres’ visit to the Taiwan Beer Bar, I really wanted to check the place out. After corresponding with Andres we decided to go up to Taipei and meet.

Hui-chen and I went to the Taiwan Beer Bar first, and sampled the fresh local beer.


This is how Taiwan Beer is supposed to be enjoyed – in a loud, raucous atmosphere. One guy was totally passed out at a table outside. Yup, its the Taiwan Beer Bar! You gotta love it!

They serve beer in one of those green insulated tapped coolers. Hui-chen thought it was cool so she asked the bartender how much they cost. His reply was that they do not sell them. However if someone wants to take one out of the bar, they must pay a deposit of NT$1,200. So, he said, if you want one just don’t bring it back. lol!

Ahhh, a refreshing draft Taiwan beer. I love my whisky of course, but a nice cold beer can quench my thirst better than anything else. I must say that the draft version is light-years better than anything I have tried in a bottle.

Hui-chen prefers whisky or Thai rum (tell me I didn’t marry the right woman!) but she also enjoys an occasional beer. She just doesn’t like to drink too much of it (and I don’t blame her).

The Taiwan Beer Bar also has a menu of typical Taiwanese style food. Since we were going to meet Andres for dinner later, we just got a plate of Chinese style sausage, shown here. We were doing what we normally do, drinking, eating snapping photos and not blending in. Notice the unidentified gentleman in the background, looking at me while I take this photograph. After I snapped the photo, he said “I think I know you. Aren’t you on Michael Turton’s blog? Oh, by the way, congratulations!” (he read about our wedding on Michael’s blog). That was Hui-chen’s first Rockstar Moment.

Somehow, these very tacky looking beer bottle lamps seem appropriate in this setting….

The cashier is right in the middle of all the action. One has to place their order here, and pay for it in advance. So, if you happen to be sitting at the bar like we were, and you’d like a refill, you have to go over to the cashier and place another order and pay for it. This was just another surreal aspect of the place. Plenty of foreigners were there and they were pounding down some brew, lemme tell you.

Awhile later, Hui-chen and I hopped in a taxi to go to the next place on our list, “Jolly’s” restaurant. We walked a couple of blocks in the very light rain because the taxi let us off on the other side of the block because it was easier.

I like these cobblestone streets a lot.

Hooters (pronounced “who it is” in New England). The place was packed. I resisted. We walked past.

Finally we met our party and went across the street to a Japanese grill place. Jolly’s was packed to the gills!

This is the famous Taiwan blogger Andres, and his very charming and beautiful wife, Karen (aka Pumpkin Girl).

Andres’ colleague Rich, is in Taiwan for a few more days working on a company project with Andres. Rich is a very knowledgeable engineer and so down-to-earth. I really enjoyed talking with he and Andres about business in Asia and other things, like drinking!

This is of course, Hui-chen, sporting the look that she gets when she knows that I’m going to take her picture because I have the camera out and it’s not going back in the bag until I take at least one shot of her. ­čśŤ

We talked for quite some time and then took off for Jolly’s across the street for some of their own brewed beer.

Andres and Rich (and I) enjoy a tall glass of a wonderful dark brew. It was smooth and flavorful. Later we checked out the Vienna Amber. Man that was great.

Hui-chen snapped this group shot. Next time I’m going to pack the tripod!

Saying our goodbyes, we headed for the Taipei bus station, since it was now after 1:00 am, and no trains were running. I haven’t been to this bus station for a couple of years so I took some shots of it (of course).

The only bus running at that time was the Ubus, so we got 2 tickets to Hsinchu for NT$80 each on the 2:00am bus. Hui-chen commented on how cheap the tickets were. Hui-chen says she doesn’t like that bus line, but I had ridden it once before with no problems.

If only….

The jacked spelling of “Shinchu” should have tipped me off, but, believe it or not, the bus driver missed the Hsinchu exit and attempted to back the bus up on the freeway!

Hui-chen got very upset, so we stood up and she told the bus driver to stop backing up. Another woman then engaged the driver in a conversation and convinced him to go ahead to the next exit, where she would direct him where to go to return to the bus stop. That woman was pretty cool actually, and kept saying things like “what a joke!” and “are you kidding?” because the driver didn’t know his way around very well.

What I found particularly interesting is that only this woman, Hui-chen and a single male passenger said anything at all to the driver about missing the exit, or what to do about it. But, when we made it back to the bus stop, about 15 people got off the bus. These people seemed perfectly content to just let anything happen to them without complaint. Weird.
After adding another 40 minutes onto our ride home trying to make our way back to the correct bus stop, and the taxi to Hukou to where our car was parked, we finally got home around 4:30am.

Let me say that hanging out with Andres, Karen and Rich was well worth it!

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  1. the ‘unidentified guy’ in the background is me, Prince Roy.

    I’ve been meaning to give Jolly’s a try. I think I’ll like the beer better there, but the Taiwan Beer Factory has an atmosphere all its own, capped off by the passed out local proles.

  2. I’m soooo jealous. Looks like you guys had a great time! Next time I’m coming!


  3. well, i’ll be dipped! next time, speak up man! we could have had a cool hang too! i had no idea who you were.

    Jolly’s beer was pretty good. we only tried a small papaya salad but it wasn’t spicy at all. i don’t know if we would go back to Taipei to go to Jolly’s but i would go back to Taipei for the Taiwan Beer Bar for sure!

  4. I thought about saying something, but I didn’t know if you’d know who I was. That would’ve been pretty embarrassing.

    Anyway, if you guys come up again, let me know. I agree, the Taipei Beer bar is a fun place to hang. I wouldn’t mind meeting Andre either.

  5. The same thing happened to me in China. The bus driver drove straight past our exit on the motorway and then maybe 500 yards up the road did a 3 point turn and headed back down the road – the wrong way in the outside lane! The first thing I did when I got off was change my underwear.

  6. hui-chen & michael, it was great to meet you guys. we had a really good time.

    i knew that was prince roy as soon as i saw that pic. now, i wished i had been there at the taiwan beer bar with michael and hui-chen that night just so i could have proudly said, “hey, i know you… you are prince roy!”

    we might go back to the taiwan beer bar next weekend. rich is leaving this week, but another colleague of ours from chicago is coming to town this week.

  7. holy cow! that was worse than backing up i think! i think i would have jumped out of the bus! Hui-chen and I were ready to get off when the guy was backing up!

  8. Well Andres, i guess we’ll just have to break the new guy in too, won’t we?

    i think we can manage a blogger hang out this Saturday at the TTBB!

    it would be great to hang out with you guys again. we could get some great pics of the bloggers hanging out.

    cu then!

  9. I like the bus story. I was on a train in Melbourne, Aust once that had to back up for about 3km after they went down the wrong track and we ended up in the freight yards.

  10. cif: man, if they made a mistake like that at the switch, it makes me wonder if they even knew where the trains were on the tracks. i would have been very anxious on that train backing up for 3km! wow…. glad you survived!

  11. I think for other passengers who did not complaint are because complaint won’t do anything.

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