When the clock strikes midnight and the lights of all department stores start to fade, it is time when the late night Taipei quietly appears. There are some fascinating corners in Taipei waiting for you to discover.
Cafes: Taste The Silence
Dark corner café（暗角咖啡）is a hidden coffee shop on Xiamen street, which is pretty close to the Taipei Metro Guting Station. Unlike most of the coffee shops out there, Dark corner café has their own opening hours, from 2PM-4AM, seven days a week. One of the co-owners, Ms. Tsai（蔡小姐）said, “We didn’t really intend to have our opening hours as such, this is just how we used to live our lives – as night owls. We worked at a coffee shop a few years ago, which had the same working hours, and then we just decided to make it on our own eventually, and we’ve been running it for over three years since then.”
It’s kind of hard to describe the style of the interior design. “But it’s got this rustic, industrial kind of feelings to it,” said Ms. Tsai. On the wall you can see a large collection of books of the owner’s in different genres, and on the other side of the wall, there’s a pile of CD collection of Ms. Tsai’s. There’s no time limit on your stay at the coffee shop, so you really can just come and sit down, relax, and listen to good music while reading a great book, and of course, with a great cup of coffee and enjoy the silence of the night. ”Our coffee beans are picked by a Japanese professional, so we can make sure our coffee tastes fresh and flavorful,” said Ms. Tsai. They also serve Taiwanese local street food such as dumplings and tea soaked rice as late night snacks for the night owls.
“We have different groups of customers, and they’re mainly college students or office workers, and this place is always packed by late night when it’s around the weeks of mid-term and final exams in the universities.” Sometimes there are just more in life to see while working as a barista. “Sometimes people will come and sit down at this bar table close to where I make coffee, although they look totally normal by day, when it’s late, they will sometimes come with a friend and let their guards down by telling intimate secrets to each other. I couldn’t help but listen to it sometimes, and it’s pretty interesting to be honest.”
Bookstores: Lose Yourself in Unknown World
Modern urban life makes the nights in Taipei colorful, and reading in the bookstores overnight is a good choice. Taipei is a city with different cultures. There are various kinds of large bookstores and independent bookstores with different characteristics. But with the impact of the economic downturn and other factors, late night bookstores are not so popular.
Lots of bookstores tend to close before midnight, such as the famous Jasmine bookstore (茉莉書店）, which closes at 10 o'clock in the evening. Huth Second-hand bookstore （胡思二手書店） also opens until 10 and Literary Small bookshop（小小書房）opens until 10:30pm.
Some large bookstores open until relatively late time, such as Xingyi Eslite bookstore(信義誠品書店）, closes at 2pm on holidays, and Dunnan Eslite bookstore (敦南誠品書店）opens 24 hours. Covering an area of 1.7 million square meters, Dunan Eslite bookstore sells a variety of language books and magazines. Since 1999, it has created a 24-hour bookstore business model. They launched an investigation of readers' ideal Bookstore, and found out that readers prefer a 24-hour bookstore. After the evaluation, the bookstore has become the first one that opens 24 hours, which turned out to be a great success and has been considered a cultural landmark. One of the costumers, Li Fangyu(李芳愉) said, “I like to buy books late at night, because I am a night owl, and late night is quieter and more suitable for reading.”
Cinemas: Enjoy Interesting Stories
There is always a huge crowd at cinema's gate, even at midnight. People like to watch movies with friends after getting off work. At midnight, people want to relax a bit and get rid of the hustle and bustle of big cities. Sitting in a very comfortable chair and enjoying the perfect visual effects makes people feel cozy. “We just got off work and going to go for a movie to kill time, usually if we don't watch movies, my friends and I gather in someone's home to chat and have some drinks,” said Mr. Zhou, a customer at a cinema in Ximen.
There are few movie theaters that still open at midnight in Taipei. If people want to enjoy movies in late night, they can check them online first. When it comes to the genres of movies people prefer for late night, definitely not action or drama, most of them like watching those that are newly released.
“I barely go to a café or somewhere else at midnight. I think going to a movie is better for killing time, but I don't stay outside so often. I only do so when my friend and I are both free, and then we’ll look for something interesting,” said Ms. Yan. A lot of people have no idea where to hang out, so cinemas are the best choice for those who are either alone or with friends. Everybody can feel comfortable there
It is important to keep in mind that there are quite a few places to be explored in this area. Besides pubs and restaurants, some bookstores or coffee shops on the corner are perfect for those who want to get away from the crowds. All you have to do is getting yourself ready to explore the multicultural midnight at Taipei.