Google ‘a night out in Keelung’ and you’ll find endless information regarding the famous Miaokou Night Market or the Kanziding Fish Market. Yes, both are at night. Almost the whole night. But it’s not exactly what I had in mind for a Saturday night. I was looking for a different kind of neon night but where exactly to go on a night out in Keelung?
Fortunately I was invited on a bar crawl. This is normally a polite ‘No’ from me. I like to choose the pace I drink in the environment that suits my vibe. But as I was minus the inside knowledge of bars in Keelung it was an immediate yes. A fairly enthusiastic one, even when a t shirt was produced for me to be “one of the gang.”
Being aware I was in a city, I was still surprised by how many places we visited for a night out in Keelung. My whole time here I have felt as though I was in a Port town as opposed to a city. Who knew Keelung had such a hidden network of bars tucked away in its alleys and narrow streets.
The definitive ‘Night out in Keelung’ list:
Alcohol Bar – No. 23, Lane 3, Zhongyi Road, Ren’ai District, Keelung City, 200
The word for alcohol in Chinese is very similar to monkey and so it’s no surprise the logo for the establishment is a chimpanzee enjoying a glass of whiskey. This is one of the nicest whiskey bars I’ve been to and probably the nicest bar of the whole list. Slightly more pricey than the others, the variety and quality of whiskey that’s on offer is justification enough. Taiwan’s own award winning whiskey is on the menu here and a perfectly good reason to put this top of the list for a night out in Keelung.
Columbus Pub – 孝三路30巷23號 仁愛區, 基隆市 200
This is definitely the place to go for those who like a little history on their night out in Keelung. Masked by the array of cocktails on offer is a story of how bars came to Keelung during the US involvement in the Vietnam War. Perhaps the original bar of Keelung, the walls proudly wear the history of its conception. If history and nostalgia aren’t your thing simply order one of the many western cocktails and toast with the locals.
Live House Bar – 200, Keelung City, Ren’ai District, Aiyi Road, 33號
The title says it all really. Live music, beer, you’ve got it all here. For me, the music doesn’t necessarily have to be my usual taste, if the bands having a good time and I’m in the right company, I can listen to most things.
So Fun Music Club – 基隆市仁愛區愛三路49巷38號2樓
A place for anyone who loves beer towers. Quite literally. There are also girls dressed to represent the Heineken brand. An easy place to sit with a group, drink and laugh. Not somewhere I’d feel comfortable coming by myself hoping to meet others as the layout really suits groups more. Maybe bar crawls aren’t such a bad idea after all.
Opus Two – No. 19, Jing 1st Rd, Ren’ai District, Keelung City, 200
A quaint British themed bar with random masks from Iron Man sums up this bar pretty well. It’s definitely a cozy place and I can’t imagine moving when it’s busy, but as a quick stop off on the route it serves it’s purpose perfectly. The staircase has the cutest pin board of Polaroids taken of fellow drinkers. I would have loved to have access to the camera to add to the Polaroids but the film is expensive and I’m pretty sure people would burn through it and result only in a capture of blurriness and forgotten memories.
387 Music Bar – 仁愛區愛二路54巷11號, 200 Keelung, Taiwan
The first place with a DJ. Tall, beautiful, female. This place immediately had a great vibe to it. Again not very big but I’m coming to realize that the bars here are all small. And down alleys which is why they are not the easiest to find! They all follow a nice route leading onto one another though so find the first and it won’t take long to discover the rest.
Fight Bar – 202, Keelung City, Zhongzheng District, Zhongzheng Road, 2號
With checkered floors that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland we have Fight Bar. This bar is small but on two levels. The first floor housing the bar and tonight a talented band. We manage to convince them to continue playing past the scheduled time and by the end of it the entire bar is singing. We finish on the pretty reckless. The second floor is a cozy seating area with a pool table.
Commecafe – No. 284, Xin’er Road, Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, 202
This is a place for the day and night. Come in the light and enjoy some delicious coffee. By night it’s a bar with a wall filled with empty Jack Daniels bottles and an acoustic guitar sitting in front. A relaxed vibe, it’s unfortunate we left this one till near the end of the night. Another easy bar to relax in as opposed to singing drunkenly along to the music. Fortunately for me, it’s at the end of the street where I’m staying so there will be a return visit.
Q bar – 基隆市仁愛區仁一路293巷1號
Found down the smallest alley we enter the darkened room lit in red. The mood slightly changes here, feeling that you are in an upmarket bar that is designed and colored to create an atmosphere perfect for seduction. The bar in lined with local men and again this isn’t somewhere I’d come to explore alone.
Big Machine – Ren Yi Road 49 Keelung, Taiwan 20141
The last on our tour at around 3am. Here you are able to order popcorn and chicken and play darts while horrifically drunk. All fun but potentially a hazard. None the less a good place to end the night. From what I remember the place seemed to fit the interior of a dinner but admittedly by this point I was a little drunk and not sure that my memory can be relied upon.
So there you have it. There are more bars of course, the names of which I don’t remember to match the location but I know we found a rock bar that shocked me. We entered from a lift and accidentally smashed a glass on our exit. Money in different currencies were displayed on the wall. I can’t tell you any more than that. It’s worth noting a lot of the drinking culture here is included with food so restaurants actually make a great place to drink with locals.
Now you know where to go on a night out in Keelung.