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TAIPEI DINING FEATURE
TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, July 2003

Guan Dii Dining and Bar

26, Lane 134, ShinYi Rd. Sec. 3
停業 Closed

By Yahan Wu

     It¡¦s around 9pm in this very tranquil, very secretive and very tasteful lounge bar on a Tuesday night, and it¡¦s just a string of middle-aged Japanese businessmen and me.

     This suits the owner fine, according to Ellie Lee, Guan Dii¡¦s manager and occasional bartender. This is just the kind of image he desires, she says. Intimacy, seclusion, exclusivity, class.

     ¡§Quite a number of celebrities¡K come here, many of them for private get-togethers,¡¨ says Lee, who adds that many of her other customers are from Japan and Shanghai, where Guan Dii enjoys a high profile.

     In fact, Guan Dii¡¦s Cantonese owner spends most of his time in Shanghai, taking care of the five Guan Dii branches there.

     Opened three years ago, Taipei¡¦s Guan Dii is said to be Taiwan¡¦s first lounge bar. A members-only club until around a year ago, when the state of the economy took its toll, there is now no minimum charge for the first floor. The second floor remains hush-hush; taking photographs isn¡¦t welcomed. It holds four private areas, with price tags of NT$8,000 to NT$10,000 each.

     As for the menu, the most popular dish is the Broil (Grill) Mix Plate (NT$350), which includes spring rolls, shrimps, ground pork and goose liver paste. The bartender can shake up more than 60 different Martinis. Women often go for Romantic (NT$250), while men like the stronger Tanqueray Special Dry Gin (NT$270). A Guan Dii shot (NT$300) is also a favorite.

     Expect the face of this lounge to change: The owner religiously redecorates every year to keep things fresh and novel. But don¡¦t expect to see that heavy bronze gate to disappear any time soon.