Home of "Honest Music"
21, DaGuan Rd, Nantun District
Last month we ran a Taichung pub history, but left an important part of it for this month. 89K started in the late 1990s near Fengchia University. Compass first introduced 89K in 2001, describing it this way: "Drawing a regular mixed crowd of Taiwanese and foreigners, 89K has a cozy interior with tables downstairs and in a little balcony area." Though now in it's fifth location, and aside from greatly having increased in scale, the description still works.
One big thing has changed at 89K since those days. Today it is associated with live, original bands and big weekend parties--something the early locations couldn't accommodate. There is a large area that serves as a dance space on weekends, one of the longest bars in the city and a large balcony festooned with sofas offering good views of the stage. Bands enjoy playing here, some because they say the sound equipment is 'top-notch', others because of the music-friendly audience.
Music has become the core element of 89K's identity. New owner Darren Jorde is a passionate musician and when asked what sort of music he invites to perform, the word he used was "honest". Not a friendly home for the unoriginal or pretentious!
The decor is an eclectic mix of Americana, moody lights and set in a halloween-theme color scheme. Beers start at NT$100 for a small draft, and bottled beers start at NT$150. Spirits and cocktails are NT$140 and up. They are beginning to introduce food, starting with Saturdays, including Sausage Dogs with quality sausages and homemade buns (NT$120) and Lasagna (NT$140). I showed up on the wrong night, but an acquaintance said the food was strikingly good, and it is worth noting that owner Darren's background is in fine dining--so I'm eager to try both. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday bands play. Sundays are jazzier or more mellow. Band nights there is a cover charge that helps pay for the bands--usually around NT$300 (NT$200 for students) and it includes a drink. Wednesdays and Thursdays there is an open-door policy--just contact Darren if you are interested in playing.