The City That’s Always Awake – Part 2

The City That’s Always Awake – Part 2

1-IMG_3321“Are your heels comfortable?” I ask my cousin, “the place is called Brown Sugar, it’s about a 10-minute walk.”

“They’re fine and comfy, actually, I wear these a lot,” Terry, who doesn’t really want to stay out late on Monday night, answers.

The guards at the lobby of the Taipei 101 building subtly acknowledge us as we step into the slightly chilly November night.

We have just left the third tallest restaurant in the world, located in the third tallest skyscraper in the world. The place, known for its seafood, purportedly pays $200,000 US for rent monthly.  (More about this restaurant)

The XinYi District (信義區) is a prosperous area featuring, in addition to Taipei 101, the convention center, the Taipei City Hall, a W Hotel, high-end shopping malls, and the City’s most popular lounges and night clubs. Though I have never been, I pick Brown Sugar because it comes highly recommended and the website says that Monday nights are Jazz nights.

The doorman at the discrete entrance politely tells us that there is a $15 US minimum spending per person.

We follow the attractive hostess to a table a free-throw away from the stage. The band, Jazz indeed, is already playing. Terry and I both pick something at random from the specialty drinks menu, thankfully the one that comes with an umbrella is hers.

A couple of American faces are in the audience, likely expats, along with a few ladies with shopping bags from ritzy stores, several red-faced businessmen at the bar, and some well-dressed couples. The drummer, who I run into on the way back from the restroom during a break, speaks English with an accent that I cannot place. (It turns out that his Mandarin is quite decent.)

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The slender singer makes quite an entrance with her sparkly outfit and her powerful voice. Almost everyone turns instantly to try to find her, as she walks towards the stage around the bar, wireless microphone in hand. The guy on the keyboard (also not Taiwanese) adds some backup vocal (during both English and Mandarin songs). The band is undoubtedly impressive. They are all clearly skilled and talented musicians, though the bass player may be the most impressive.

During the engaging set which lasts about 45 minutes, I forget where I am for a moment, then I think about how I certainly would frequent this place if I live in Taipei. (There is one in Shanghai, though I do not remember much of it other than its nice decor.)

“I noticed you guys did not use all of your minimums, want me to pack you a couple of beers to go?”

We laugh genuinely at the friendly offer and leave with a couple cans of Taiwan Beer as we walk quickly to the metro station to make sure Terry does not miss the last train.

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