This is probably Taipei’s coolest hangout spot

Discover Taipei’s industrial past in a contemporary way. Source: Holly Patrick.

FACTORIES and warehouses turned into creative spaces have a strong track record of pulling in the trendiest crowds, just look at London’s Printworks or Kuala Lumpur’s APW, for example.

And Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park is no different.

The complex of century-old buildings in the capital’s Zhongzheng district was originally built to house a winery in 1914. Since the first successful batch of altar wine was made here in 1917, the space has been used as a hospital, sake distillery, and camphor refinery.

But despite its many transitions over the last century, it has mostly been left idle as the rest of Taipei sprung up around it.

In 1997, a few young members of the local Golden Bough Theatre group gained access to the then abandoned industrial plant and saw its potential through the crumbling walls and cobwebs.

Though the derelict buildings were at the time government property and set for demolition, the group managed to save the space and began putting on shows and workshops.

By 2007, each space, from the boiler room to the furnace facility were being used as creative spaces by visionaries and artists.

Through an unimaginable combined effort, the people of Taipei saved a significant piece of their city’s heritage, provided creatives with a platform to showcase their work and established a very cool hangout spot for locals and tourists alike.

Whether you want to shop, eat, drink, watch, dance or laugh, Huashan 1914 Creative Park has something for you.

Head there when the sun goes down and the clinking of wine glasses echo between the buildings. The twilight time reveals a magical atmosphere in the evening, with kids running around, people chattering in the restaurants and bars, and shoppers being enticed by innovative, one-off designs.

To eat

Alleycats

Source: Holly Patrick.

Pizza seems a weird place to start while wandering through a slice of Taiwan’s heritage. But when it tastes this good, you would not want to miss it.

Using locally grown ingredients from independent Yilan farmers, Alleycat’s combines authentic Italian pizza toppings with traditional Taiwanese flavors, creating innovative and delicious dishes.

Open hours: 11am till 11pm Sundays to Thursdays, 11am till midnight Fridays to Saturdays.

FIJIN TREE LANDMARK

Source: Holly Patrick.

For a multisensory experience, head to FIJIN TREE LANDMARK café and shop.

The ultra-chic café dishes up tasty, yet healthy sandwiches, salads, and cakes alongside champion-barista-made coffee.

The space is also home to a boutique-style shop selling everything from fresh flowers, fine stationery, and elegant jewelry to handmade soaps and exquisite dresses.

Opening hours: 11am till 9pm daily.

To Shop

Bleu & Book

Source: Holly Patrick.

Found at the top of a narrow staircase above the Glass House at Huashan 1914 Creative Park is an independent bookstore and coffee shop selling work from brilliant imaginations and creative media.

There’s a mixture of Chinese and English language publications on the plentifully-stocked shelves, which can be enjoyed with a simple coffee while sat on the instore couches.

Bleu & Book also host regular Q&A sessions with authors and industry professionals, so be sure to check out their Facebook page for updates.

Opening hours: 10am till 9pm daily.

GR-GreenRoom Ideas

Source: Holly Patrick.

The concept store is a temporary addition to Huashan 1914 Creative Park and is taking the opportunity to not only sell their beautifully unique leather goods but also host workshops for those interested in design.

The super friendly staff will happily assist in designing you a bespoke coffee holder, coin purse, or bag, but why not have a go yourself?

Opening hours: 11am till 9pm daily.

To Watch

Huashan 1914 Creative Park has a year-round rolling event calendar hosting everything from the Asia Rolling Music Festival to the Passionate Samba Brazil Wine Carnival.

The events are spread throughout Huashan 1914 Creative Park from the grass-covered amphitheater at the front to the shared performances spaces dotted around the complex.

The Umay Theatre, the original space utilized by Golden Bough Theatre group, also has a plethora of shows throughout the year.

Source: Holly Patrick.

Previous plays such as The Diary of Anne Frank have received critical acclaim and tickets usually get snapped up quickly. So, if you’re planning a trip, book quickly.

However, if you’re not a plan ahead kind of person, there will still be plenty for you to see at Huashan 1914 Creative Park on any day of the week thanks to the talented street performers.

In addition to all the shops, eateries and performances, Huashan 1914 Creative Park lends itself as one of the most Instagrammable places in Taipei.

There’s a wealth of other eateries, shops, and creative spaces to be enjoyed here too, so you would not need to limit your experience to just one evening.

Getting there: Jump on the MRT-Banan Line (blue line) going to Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station. Then walk north for around seven minutes and Huashan 1914 Creative Park will be on your lefthand side.

Alternatively, seek out the 669 bus which stops at Huashan 1914 Creative Park.