We are The Bootleggers. We review the best bars in Taipei.

★★★ See our Top 10 ★★★

MANIA 躁鎮

Bar for a younger crowd who wants to get inebriated in a more fancy way. The atmosphere and the light are pleasant. No menu (we like that). The staff know their classics. The bar itself doesn't have a large choice of liquors.

2018-10-16.

Geography Bar

Located in Ximen, on the 4th floor of a building, Geography Bar feels a bit lost between the hair salon and the restaurants. The staff was busy and we didn't get a chance to interact much. The cocktail menu is limited without anything particularly interesting.

We like the look of the cocktail though. Even if it doesn't contribute to the taste, we really appreciate the work on the garnish.

Not many options in term of liquors.

2018-10-16.

Animal 鳥小屋: a Japanese bar where you can pet tiny birds as you're enjoying your drink

An unusual Japanese bar filled where birds flying around you.

2018-09-09.

Draft Land: pre-mixed cocktails served quickly

  • Average per drink: 300nt (light pour)
  • Asia's first full “cocktails on tap” bar
  • Standing room only

Think of Draft Land as the pub you’d go with friends or coworkers for a quick pint, but instead of beer, you’ve got yourself a small selection of ready-made cocktails to pick (and sample) from. The menu took inspiration from Jerry Thomas's 1862 classic "Bar-Tender's Guide" (a.k.a. the first cocktail book in America), and features 4 main drink categories—the Fizz, Cobbler, Punch, and Classic Cocktail. If you’re looking for quick service and the opportunity to easily sample different cocktails, Draft Land is the place you’d want to check out. But do note that while the drinks are cheaper than most “fancy” bars, the portion sizes are actually a bit smaller than most places.

2018-05-05.

Zhēn: neighborhood dive bar meets craft cocktails

  • Opens on Saturday and Sunday only
  • 2 concept menus (1 for long drinks and 1 for short drinks)
  • Average per cocktail: 350+

The original Ounce was a very special place to many of us living in Taipei at the time. Sadly, the iconic speakeasy had to relocate to their new & more spacious home last year, but former employee Peter has decided to revive the old place and turn it into a pop-up bar for the time being. Opens on weekends only, Zhēn delivers a very different ambience from its former residents—from the choice of music, to the “dive bar” vibe, it’s a comfortable spot with creative cocktails that isn’t too crowded at the moment. Recommended.

2018-05-04.

Ounce: oldie but goodie in the heart of Taipei

As briefly mentioned in our Zhēn review, the original Ounce held a very special place in our memory mostly for the intimacy it represented. After relocating to their new & more spacious home on Xinyi Road, Ounce continues to deliver quality cocktails in a similar speakeasy setting, though it does feel a bit different from the Ounce we’re used to visiting. However, when compared to the average bar in Taipei, Ounce definitely stands out among the bunch. We’d still recommend the place if you’re looking for a “chill” place to drink in Xinyi.

If the bar is full, within walking distance you’ll also find Digout, R&D, Sidebar (gin), PUN (speakeasy), 榕 RON (always packed), Larriere-cour 後院 (whisky), and Bar Between 架橋 (Japanese bar), all in a 5-minute radius.

2018-05-04.

Bar Pun: total knockout, definitely worth a shot

  • Average per drink: 400+
  • Speakeasy with entrance located in the alley, hit the fire alarm button to enter
  • Packed on weekends but takes reservations

Opened at the end of last year, Bar Pun is a relatively new speakeasy with a lot of buzz around it. With a gimmicky entrance leading into this modern & sophisticated-looking speakeasy, PUN has got some very interesting cocktails in store—Jon Snow, Siri, and U.N.C.L.E., just to name a few, and we’re happy to report back that every one of our visits so far had ended in high spirits, with minor memory loss. Overall, PUN is a beautiful, intoxicating place with great drinks to offer, which certainly raises the bar for other businesses to follow suit.

2018-05-04.

With the man behind Gin and Tonic Day

We have interviewed Perry, the main actor behind Gin and Tonic day. See our interview.

2018-04-26.

Gin And Tonic Day, Taipei 2018. The Bootleggers Report.

We were at Gin and Tonic Day Taiwan. Checkout out report.

2018-04-25.

Blog is now live

The blog section is where we’ll be covering all the bars not on our Top 10 List. If you’ve got a favorite bar that we haven’t reviewed yet, contact us through Facebook or Instagram, or email us at amunsellck@gmail.com to submit your suggestion.

Check the list for all the bars we've been to.

2018-04-20.

Mr. Bean: not a big fan (of the bar, not Rowan Atkinson)

  • Average per drink: 400+
  • “Speakeasy” style entrance
  • Dull cocktails
  • Private booth available

Backed by local comedian/celebrity “Bean”, the bar Mr. Bean is a prime example of what it looks like when opportunists attempt to cash in on the speakeasy trend. Menu was consisted of 12 signature cocktails representing the 12 astrology signs, but the drinks themselves were quite disappointing, and likely too sweet for most.

2018-04-13.

Blue Bird

  • Minimum charge: 600ntd
  • Japanese bar
  • Good whisky cocktails. Avoid other drinks.

A typical Japanese bar near Zhongxiao Fuxing. The bartender is friendly and knows his whiskey. Were pleasantly surprised by the whiskey cocktails but disappointed by the Gin drinks. The bubbly drinks need to be more sharp.

2018-04-12.

6 hidden bars in Taipei

We made a video of 6 interesting hidden bars in Taipei. Checkout out the video.

2018-04-12.

HANKO 60: nice venue with disappointing cocktails

  • Minimum charge: 500nt
  • Average per drink: 300-400
  • Substandard drinks

If you care about the quality of your drink, we wouldn’t recommend HANKO 60 even just to check out this intriguing speakeasy with a ticket booth-like entrance. They’ve got plenty of interesting (and promising) cocktails on the menu, but none of what we tried were any good. Drinks with soda in them tasted like the soda itself, while many of their signature cocktails would make you believe you were drinking straight syrup with rubbing alcohol.

P.S. no relation to “Ping Pong 129 Gintonería” in Hong Kong.

2018-04-08.

Sidebar: A great hidden gem

  • Speakeasy (specialty: gin)
  • Average per drink: 300+
  • Takes reservations

Cozy with a touch of that “underground garage band” vibe, Sidebar is staffed with a team of polite yet approachable bartenders all eager to whip up your next drink. But what makes this place truly special is its small, gin-only speakeasy hidden behind a locked gate - there, you’ll find the passionate, knowledgable bartender Soso with his glorious gin collection at this bar within a bar.

Definitely worth a visit.

2018-03-29.

Indulge Bistro: highly regarded for good reasons

  • Top-notch cocktails and food
  • Average per drink / dish: 450+
  • Takes reservations

Aki Wang’s Indulge Bistro is among one of the most celebrated cocktail bars in Asia. While we are certainly more than impressed by the quality of their drinks and dishes, the establishment is lacking in ambiance in comparison with other cocktail bars at the same price point.

2018-03-29.

R&D: a tourist and local favorite

  • Average per drink: 350+ plus 10%
  • Takes reservations
  • Quality bar food (fish tacos!)
  • Very busy on weekends

Remaining a tourist and local favorite, R&D continues to deliver consistent, exquisite cocktails over the years. With a wide variety of house-made bitters and infusions, the folks at R&D always try to stay up to date with the newest techniques and trends in the bartending world. You’ll also find some of the best bar foods in Taiwan here. Keep in mind the place gets packed very quickly on a busy night.

2018-03-29.

Bar 小谷 Otani: eerie yet oddly charming

  • 350nt for all cocktails
  • Minimum: 500nt
  • Walk-in only

Low-profile Japanese bar serving up meticulously crafted cocktails in a quiet, almost serene setting. No music is played at Otani, which means the bar is filled with silence most of the time - aside from the quiet chatters among its customers. Groups of 4 or more are not welcomed, but it’s a great place for drinking alone.

2018-03-29.

Bar After Nine: the epitome of average

Nothing particularly interesting here.

2018-03-29.

The Key Company 鑰匙行: not a cocktail bar

  • Takes reservations
  • Average per drink: ~300nt (no cocktails here)
  • Speakeasy-esque entrance

If you come into The Key Company expecting to try some exciting cocktails, this is not the place for it. There's nothing wrong with the eatery itself, but you might be disappointed if you were looking for a speakeasy bar.

Drinks served here: reds, whites, a few whiskies, and plum wine (umeshu). Pours were light.

2018-03-29.

TÚ MII 荼醾 - love the high chairs

  • Great for larger groups, takes reservations
  • Average per drink: 350+
  • Comfortable seating

Tu Mii didn't look like much from the outside, so we came in with fairly low expectations. But as we got to discover the seating area, the basement (which doubles as an art venue), the couches, and the comfortable high chairs—it became a different story.

Cocktails were surprisingly well made, and the bar's spaciousness made the drinking experience that much more relaxing. Would recommend.

2018-03-29.

Ginza Sakoh 銀座酒向: good drinks, but overpriced and overhyped

  • Speciality: whiskey
  • Average per drink: 350+
  • Hidden fees (“seating charge” + service charge)

To make your overpriced journey to Ginza Sakoh worth the trip, go with a few friends and order at least 2-3 drinks each to make up for the seating charge. Ginza Sakoh is a nice-looking bar with a decent whiskey collection, but at the moment it’s clearly overpriced, overhyped, cocktails are not particularly interesting - and all-in-all, just a bit too grandiose for our liking.

2018-03-13.

Design: Yi-Hsuan Li

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