The Shuang Cheng area’s hay days began in the 1970s when it was an R&R area for soldiers
in the Vietnam War (one reason behind the moniker “Combat Zone”). The peak period
was the 1980s through mid-1990s, with foreign businessmen and local expats providing
the main fuel for business. Since then it’s been on a steady decline, but it retains
some of the interesting grittiness of the old days.
Some of the bars can gauge on pricing, but if you are looking for a bar where you
can sit on a stool and chat with a local waiter/waitress or bar owner (after buying
them a drink), this area remains a viable option. But... caveat emptor, if the staff
seems pushy, you’d be best advised to move on down the road. Prices in this area
can be higher than you might think is warranted by the age of the facilities. As
a rule of thumb, if someone invites you into a bar, don’t go in.
The Zone is a bit out of the way in an older part of town. It’s between Chungshan
N. Rd and Linsen N. Rd. Near De Hui St. The main portion is on two lanes extending
out from Shuang Cheng St.
The Manila Bar
Shuang Cheng St., Lane 32, #4
Tel: (02) 2599-6039
An institution in “the Zone”, this is a good place to start if you’ve decided to
trek to this part of town. It’s one of the more crowded places, and tends to have
a lively atmosphere. Drink prices are reasonable, and the wait staff won’t push you
for drinks (although you can buy them drinks). It’s a bit rough-and-tumble, and often
accompanied by noisy Taiwanese dice games being played by the patrons. But if you’d
like to see a bit of old-style rough-and-tumble Taipei, this is where you might be
able to find it.
Shuang Cheng St., Lane 25, #9
Tel: (02) 2592-8228
This can be a quiet place, but it’s easy going and offers food and a pool table that
is actually used by patrons. It’s larger than most of the Zone venues, so you shouldn’t
feel cramped. The food is usually OK, drink prices are reasonable and this can be
a nice place to relax.
My Place/My Sports
Shuang Cheng St., Lane 32, #3-1
Tel: (02) 2591-4269
As the name implies, this is two former pubs that have been connected. It The My
Sports section is geared more to sports, but both venues have good wide screen TVs.
Both offer the old-style feel of Taiwan. Drink prices are reasonable, and two outdoor
tables are available.
Shuang Cheng St., #24
Tel: (02) 2597-5475
Joy and her team have been operating various versions of this bar over the years,
and have a good track record for attracting customers. It’s a bit small, and can
be a bit busy, but it’s a well-run place and has a steady customer base. It has active
darts activity, as well as a foosball table.
Please remember not to drink and drive. Take a taxi if you’re going to drink. Taxis
are inexpensive and widely available.