Taipei Nightlife 101: What Every Bear Should Know

I have to admit, when I was offered the opportunity to go on a trip to Taiwan, I was more thrilled about getting an all-expenses paid trip than the thought of traveling to Asia for the first time. Yeah, I thought it would be Thailand, but the travel gods had a different plan for me. During my 7-day tour around Taiwan, I couldn’t understand why no one in my close circle of friends, or anyone in general, mentioned Taiwan as a gay travel destination.

It’s usually a layover before flying on to other countries like Hong Kong and Shanghai. From the honeymoon haven Sun Moon Lake to an adventurous hike on Sanxiantai Island to a spiritual stroll at Fo Guang Buddhist Monastery to the bustling metropolis of Taipei, this island country of more than 23 million people appeals to travelers from around the world for different reasons.

Taipei 101 (source: Pixabay)

Tourists are intrigued by Taipei’s rich culture, history and famous sights like Taipei 101 for jaw-dropping views of the city, the Martyr’s Shrine where the changing of the guard is scheduled at noon every day, and vendors selling food, clothes and jewelry at the Shilin Night Market. But here’s why Taiwan’s capital city will appeal to LGBTQ travelers, especially burly bears!

Touted as the “San Francisco of the East,” this progressive city is one of nine cities (and nine counties) on the island where same-sex marriage is legal; workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned; and every October, the city’s Gay Pride celebration attracts more than 50,000 people each year. And I haven’t even mentioned the gay saunas and hot springs yet! It’s no wonder why this city has become a major gay-friendly travel destination, attracting visitors from around the world and other Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea.

Red House District Bars

In addition to these positive steps in gay rights, Taipei has a vibrant, welcoming LGBTQ community – something I learned during my two-night, bar hopping escapade. The Red House District is home to more than 25 different gay bars, shops and restaurants. Take the MRT or Subway to the Ximen station or take an Uber, which can be cheap, depending on where you’re staying in the city. Before your bar crawl begins, I recommend hitting the Ximending Night Market (open at 5pm) to fill up on good Taiwanese food and do a little shopping before the real action kicks into high gear.

Bears Bar

One of the things, I enjoy about visiting the Red House District is the bars, with patios and outdoor seating, are lined up next to one another; so, you can choose where and how you want your night to begin. I started my bar crawl at Bears Bar, the first gay bar as you enter the gay village. Grab a seat, order a Taiwan Beer and watch as the bears, otters and their chasers (of all of ages) converge the patio.

G-Paradise is another popular hangout for bigger boys and bears. Tetsu and Alex are super friendly and will make you feel at home. And a 5-minute walk west of G-Paradise, Bear Junkies – owned by a gay couple – serves drinks, coffee, tea and snacks. Just remember this bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. And for bears that don’t drink, consider a stop at D Cup Café, where they serve non-alcoholic drinks in pitchers!

Bear Junkies

Not only does this neighborhood bar scene attract furry patrons, but they also do a great job attracting a diverse crowd of locals and tourists (including Westerners) who have various interests. For example, guys into S&M usually frequent the leather bar Commander D. Want to go dancing? Head to HERO Bar! For theme nights like KY Wrestling, make a pit stop at Hunt. The Garden, Mudan, Café Dalida and Casa Café and Bar are just a few options for nightlife revelers.

In addition to the Red House District, there are other gay venues located in the Jhongshan area just north of Ximen as well as Taipei City and Zhongshan Dunhua to the east. If you’re in the Zhongshan District, grab a drink at the music bar and lounge Goldfish, popular with the muscle crowd and the bears. This high-ceiling space also showcases local artists’ artwork and photography.

Bears at Goldfish Bar

After all the talk about bars, you can’t leave Taipei without tipping back a bottle of Taiwan Beer. I tried two lagers: Original and Gold Medal. There’s also flavored Taiwan Beer. Yeah, I know. It sounds terrible, but it so good! I tried the pineapple-flavored Taiwan Beer at The Garden, and it was much better than I thought it would be. There’s a mango-flavored beer option, too. And if a Malt beer is your preferred choice, try Mine Amber or Mine Dark. Just remember to stick with beer or cocktails during your fun bear bar crawl in Taipei. You’ll thank me later!

Featured image (top) is of Taiwan Pride in Taipei (source: Bearology)

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Kwin Mosby

Kwin Mosby is a DC-based travel journalist, whose work has been featured in several digital and print publications, including,, Marriott Traveler, AARP Travel,, and Lavender Magazine. A cultural immersionist by nature, he is always looking for new travel experiences to top hang gliding off Pedra Bonita in Rio, nude sunbathing on Little Beach in Maui, hiking Skyline Trail on Mount Rainier near Seattle, and grabbing a couple of beers with locals at Le Bear's Den in Paris.