Expat bars in Zhongli?

Following on from just_chris’ recommendation, I thought I’d add an update to what is now more a general bar/restaurant thread for Zhongli rather than expat bars (since there is only one).

The original Pick&Eat (自由選食) is also in the CYCU neighbourhood area, with a second newer branch near Kuva that I haven’t visited yet. Never been to the states so I have no idea what a Chipotle is like. Food is good for the price and Mexican cuisine is not too easy to find around these parts, but the decor leaves much to the imagination. Its not somewhere I’d ever go to find idle chit chat with fellow foreigners (or locals for that matter).

Also in the CYCU area (I study Chinese there, so sue me!) are the following:

Diamond Hill Cafe (中壢中原夜市) - an overly indulgent, overpriced coffee shop/restaurant that actually sells some half way decent European/Mediterranean food, albeit as previously mentioned, overpriced. You are however able to find halfway decent conversation here on occasion if your an outgoing type and like to strike up a bit of banter.

Milu Cafe is rammed every lunch time with students - ok tasting coffees but fantastic subs and fries for a good price. A lot of big dining tables everyone sits around so its a good place to strike up a conversation.

Going further afield around Zhongli…

Hop In (精釀啤酒小舖) is the latest bar to grace Zhongli with its presence. A wide selection of craft beers in bottles plus a couple of local craft brews on tap. Just down the road from the River Bar, its drawing a good crowd now, good place for (expensive) beer and good banter. In fact all of Datong Rd of late appears to have rejuvenated itself with the latest generation of bars to open up, whether or not they’re any good I’ll leave for some other brave soul to find out.

I’m yet to visit, but also opened in Neili (not too far a distance from Zhongli to be fair) is Show How (精釀啤酒專賣) - as I understand it, a similar kind of concept to Hop In, but with more emphasis on food.

Lahore Nights BBQ Kitchen (夜拉合爾巴比Q廚房) is a hidden gem that has recently opened up in the Longgang area of Zhongli - the owner is from Pakistan, he’s only been running a couple of months but business is picking up fast. He makes incredible Pakistani/North Indian food, decor is great, he’s up for a bit of banter, and if you’re that way inclined the food is halal. Definitely worth checking out.

Not sure how I managed to miss House+Cafe Since 1910 last time around. Located in a neighbourhood near to the Highway No 1 exit. Pricey Mediterranean food in a gorgeously renovated/extended old Taiwanese red brick house (presumably built in 1910, but I never asked). Its a victim of its own success, I wouldn’t recommend going for dinner as service is poor and standards frequently slip. For a lunch though its not a bad option.

Dotted around Zhongli is Boske - a bakery/coffee shop selling European breads and sandwiches. Personally I only go there to buy bread, but its soooooo good, so well worth it. They have a branch by Sogo and one (strangely) in Nova.

I should also mention the obligatory TGI Fridays branch in the Metrowalk shopping center - a bit of a way to travel, but I’ve never been there and not seen a few expats dotted around the tables and at the bar.

Thanks ryanjgillies. That’s a great list. I’m particularly interested in Lahore Nights. I love curries so Indian food is one of my favorites. I noticed you are in Longtan. Are there any restaurants you recommend in that vicinity? We drive that way all the time on the way to Hsinpu, Hshinchu. (I’m partial to Vegetarian places that aren’t oily.)
In Zhongli/Pingzhen we recently found a great Udon noodle restaurant called “San-he Hand-made Udon” on Hua Nan Rd across from “UR” Boutique Hotel. The Bank of Taiwan is about .5km. taiwanudon.com.tw I’m told it is a Japanese restaurant chain. The Miso shrimp or chicken are good. Around 160nt/bowl.

If you thought Zhongli was sparse, then consider Longtan to be empty. Not really much going on around at all, but I can give you a small selection of pretty much everything I consider to be decent around here. As a heads up to any expat, pretty much nobody around here does English reliably, so you gotta count on your zhongwen to get by.

Smokey’s as my friends call it, is a pub in Longtan that lives up to its nickname. Its a proper old locals bar that likely hasn’t been decorated since it opened (at a guess I’d say 70s!). Air particles consist of around 1 part oxygen to every 10 parts tobacco smoke. No english in here, but if you can get by with a little Chinese the bar girls will make you feel very welcome!

7Yunnan (one of my in-law’s restaurants) I can unashamedly say is one of the best restaurants in Longtan. Great venue, great interiors, great Yunnan/Thai/Burmese fusion food for unbelievable prices. I can’t recommend it enough, seriously.

Renaissance is a new a new-ish restaurant in town that I’ve seen a few expats frequent on occasion. Food is typically average coffee/pasta/cake kind of stuff you find everywhere else. Decor is a step up though, so its a comfortable place to visit if you’re looking for somewhere nice looking to dine.

Frank’s Texas BBQ is a good choice for some good western food - used to be over in Daxi but recently relocated to Longtan. I wouldn’t so much recommend their steaks, as I don’t think they are the greatest quality, and they are exceptionally overpriced. That said if you go for their other a la carte options, the food is pretty good, huge portions and reasonably priced. Plus they have beer on tap - win. Western diner, but no English here.

If sushi/sashimi/nigiri is your thing Zhong Pin Sushi (中品日式料理) is the best sushi place in town - really good quality fish, reasonable portions and a reasonable price. Also do a little grill, curry and ramen.

As a side note, you may or may not know of Roadies or Sammy D’s Diner. I can’t speak much to the man, but I know he’s been in expat circles for a good long time. He’s a nice chap, and just a few months back Terry from ICRT was playing a gig at his diner.

That said, I would honestly strongly recommend not dining there - its like dining in a strange mash-up of cheap diner/somebodies living room/3d printing parlour, and the food is just not up to standard. I recently forced me and my wife to return after a very long absence as they had moved venue. My lasagna was one of the driest I’ve ever eaten, and my wife’s ribs tasted exactly like the frozen ribs you get at Costco - the fact we saw it come out of a very similar looking box through the kitchen hatch has not convinced otherwise. My comments may or may not draw the ire of some folks here, and I wish I could give a glowing review, but I can’t. Eat elsewhere.

[quote=“meyers66”]Thanks ryanjgillies. That’s a great list. I’m particularly interested in Lahore Nights. I love curries so Indian food is one of my favorites. I noticed you are in Longtan. Are there any restaurants you recommend in that vicinity? We drive that way all the time on the way to HsinPu (Xinpu), Hshinchu. (I’m partial to Vegetarian places that aren’t oily.)
In Zhongli/Pingzhen we recently found a great Udon noodle restaurant called “San-he Hand-made Udon” on Hua Nan Rd across from “your” Boutique Hotel. The Bank of Taiwan is about .5km. taiwanudon.com.tw I’m told it is a Japanese restaurant chain. The Miso shrimp or chicken are good. Around 160nt/bowl.[/quote]

If you like curries I suggest heading over to the Taoyuan night market, there is a Pakistani guy who does a pretty good chicken curry. It’s good and cheap

Hi,

Thanks for all the information in this thread.

Just arrived in Zhongli last week and I’m still trying to get used to everything. :slight_smile:

Could someone living here give me a quick update on the current situation? Are there new bars, restaurants worth checking out?

I guess, I will be hitting the River Bar here first since it’s only a 5 minute walk away from my appartment. Would be nice to meet other expats living here.

You will meet them in River, no worries.

Been there about 5 times, met 1 shitty person, met some really awesome people from Europe who work here.

Yo calbat, you working here in Taiwan? Where are you from?

River is a pretty cool bar, HOP IN is also great. Zhongli is pretty small though, there is one night club called Club Search, I have never been but a lot of people warn me not to go saying it is dodgey.

I don’t drink alcohol anymore, but I do enjoy the social aspect of bars

Since I contributed to it so much, I’ll add one more - I opened a British Micropub here recently, The Imperial Pint! We import British beers and have some great styles plus awesome ciders readily available. Look me up anytime if you wanna hang!

Had some time tonight and did a drive by only bar-hop. The list below are ones that seemed worth a closer look. I was surprised seeing the old central town. I thought everything was mostly spread out. But first a couple questions.

  • Saw a LOT of big neon flashing massage places for $999. What is that?

  • Saw a few places with just pictures of girls all over the outside. What is that?

  • I’ve heard of a Thai area or weekend area? Where is that?

  • Taco Monkeys? How is it?

Bars I saw driving:

  • Hide Bar
  • Jalapenos Bar
  • River
  • 920 Lounge Bar
  • Hop In
  • Singasong
  • Drop Pub
  • Magic
  • Always
  • Search Nightclub

Big flashing lights are beetle nut shops

$999 massage places are for happy endings.

Taco Monkey is expensive but I thought the food was good. I’ve never eaten mexican food before though. It is the Lamigo Monkeys owner.

Never heard of a Thai area or weekend area.

Only been to River, that is a cool bar met some cool people owners are chilled and friendly.

Hop in has a shit owner who isn’t friendly.

920 looks like a gangster run bar.

Search I heard is full of gangster wannabe kids and younglings 18-20

Never been to any others.

$999 is what @Zapman said.

I did a short review on Taco Monkey in the Mexican food thread. The tacos weren’t that good and you only get two, but the Horchata was excellent and I’ve gone back just for the drink (then took it to Pick & Eat for my taco fix). It’s not always easy to find anything cinnamon flavored in Taiwan.

The Thai area is across from the train station, there’s a strip there with some Thai/Filipino shops/restaurants. Not sure if the day clubs are still going. I imagine they are. Few years back we were denied entry into the Thai day club, we were too obviously not Thai. But the Filipino ones were fun.

Jalapenos has a nice owner, Jack, who makes his own salsa. I recommend the beef enchiladas.

River is the ‘go-to’ foreigner/westerner bar. The old owner is super cool and friendly and the staff are too.

I’ve only been to Hop In once, but the owner was very friendly to us. Had a nice beer selection.

Drop Pub is a darts bar. The owner, Joe, has been in the darts scene for a long time and speaks very good English. (Trivia: This bar used to be called “Good Morning Vietnam” and was owned by Jack, who owns Jalapenos. He still has the sign in the basement of Jalapenos.)

Search is the only nightclub in Zhongli. It is a younger crowd from the local universities. But if you go with a good group of friends, it’s still a fun time. Pay a cover and it’s all you can drink, hence the young college crowd.