Taichung Bar Scene

Hi All,

It has been quite some time since the Ala Bar has closed due to the fire, and the ensuing mess that it has caused because of it. Namely the closure of between 150-200 bars in the Taichung Area. Some bars have reopened but are now classed strictly as restaurants and can only, legally, sell you wine and beer. No spirits! I know that in the past many of these places were not classed as bars or clubs but they still sold spirits, when they shouldn’t have.

The Taichung City Government clearly used the Ala fire as a springboard to “clean up” the city. This has worked and we have had to say good bye to many of the places we have come to love frequenting.

My questions is this does anyone know the ins and outs of getting a license to sell liquor/bar license for Taichung. Now, I am talking about a place that can stay open until at least 2AM in morning not the 10:30PM that everyplace must close at. Obviously there is a shitload of money to be made if the right location can be found that fills all the legal requirements. From what I can understand you cannot be in any residential areas due to noise. This cancels out a lot of the city as basically 80% of it is residential. Then, I think, if you are in a commercial spot you must meet all the correct fire code and other safety requirements. This probably eliminates another 5-10% of the city. Leaving essentially 10% of the city where you could potentially open an bar. A very limited amount of real estate is available to bar owners if they wish to do business in the city of Taichung.

So, if you have any insight into getting a license to open a bar in Taichung let’s put it down here. I am curious and many of my colleagues are curious. As I drive around the city I am constantly on the lookout for a potential location for a bar in the city. I am not too keen on the idea of going to The Refuge. It’s too far and I am sure that tons of people leave that place in an alcohol induced haze then get on their scooters and ride back into town. All because they don’t want to spend the money on a cab.


There’s an article in Compass or one of the other magazines which clearly indicates where the zones are on a map that you can legally operate a bar, it seemed they favoured the central area, as you noted there are restrictions about being close to residential area, school, hospital etc.

It was GuanXi magazine that had that article and map.

The thing is location. It’s a very small part of the city that bars can open. The biggest problem would be huge start up costs. They basically want people to move in and renovate the area around the Train Station. You know…the bombed-out looking buildings where rent might be huge because of location.

Still, I have been looking into doing it. It is just a headache since not even the city can help give answers on what to do or what is needed.

The Hu administration can politely be described as a “clusterfuck.”