Relaxing after work with dinner, drinks, cigars at Shaka.
Written and translated by Diva
Photos by Andy Lin
2, Lane 23, AnHe Rd, Sec 2
Hours: 7 pm-2:30 am (open to 4:30 am Fri/Sat)
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
Although there were once over 60 bars and night spots along AnHe Road, the recession has left few of these businesses unaffected. One place that continues to flourish, however, is Shaka, hidden in an alley for six years and still going strong in spite of the economy.
Walk in and you'll notice the delicately-crafted hardwood bar, comfy-looking high stools lined along the arc-shaped bar and other touches, including a big fish tank that takes over an entire wall. This fixture is reputed to provide great feng shui and good luck to those who look at it. The interior--a mix of classic and modern contemporary decor－has 100 seats spread across the bar, lounge and booth areas on the first floor and basement level. There is a NT$5,000 minimum charge for a booth, which seats more than 10. The red-brick wine cellar's stainless steel racks are filled with French and Italian reds and whites, and sipping a fine wine here makes you feel like you're in some European chateau.
Happy hour is from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, offering a buy-two-get-1-free cocktails to pairs of customers, and a buy-one-get-one-free cocktails to groups of three. Cool-looking bartender Robert makes an excellent Apple Martini (NT$380) that is smooth and exudes an intriguing aroma. Another specialty, the Mojito (NT$350), is exactly what you need to cool off in the summer.
Many regulars come straight to Shaka after work and dinner options include Italian, Japanese, American and Chinese cuisine. The top recommendation from Manager Xiao Gao is Chicken Meat Dan Dan Noodles In Sichuan Style (NT$300). Its broth is made of chicken bones and requires hours of cooking. Fans of spicy cuisine will love this entree, loaded with Chinese chili peppers. The delectable BBQ Short Rib Steak With Teriyaki Sauce (NT$380) is medium-rare, tender and sweet, and prepared with low-temperature grilling. Sauteed Shrimps & Mushrooms Italian Style (NT$320) is seasoned with white wine, basil, salt and pepper, and full of flavors.
You'll find rarely-seen whiskey brands at Shaka, with an exquisite selection available. Xiao Gao takes whiskey very seriously, noting that the only way to serve it is over a big diamond-shaped block of ice in a whiskey tumbler. If you order a bottle and can't finish it in one go, you may store it on the shelf for up to a year. Also worth mentioning is Shaka's own brand of whiskey--a house blend stored in a wooden barrel by the entrance. You can order a glass for tasting and light up a cigar in a perfect combination. This is a place to leave your work and worries behind and enjoy the moment because you deserve it.