We initially were looking for any bar in Taipei that was suitable for a few of us to be able to quietly sit down and chat. After a quick Google search, we happened to find OriginBAR, a bar that serves tea-based cocktails which caught our eye due to its super high Google reviews.
We visited around 7pm on a Tuesday and could already see how they’ve gotten such a good reputation. The place has a very chilled vibe, probably one of the most relaxing atmospheres we’ve ever experienced in Taipei. It’s also spacious, especially since the entire place is dimly lit with most of the light coming from the flickering candles on each table.
What impressed us was how their friendly staff put in special efforts in ensuring everyone feels welcomed and treated. For instance, they never bothered us, but we could see them nearby on hand if we ever needed anything. The only time they did approach us was to occasionally offer everyone free shots! Throughout the evening, we ended up with three rounds of free shots.
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We visited their Songshan Branch, which was about a 6-minute walk from the Taipei Arena Station, exit 5, however, we recall them not that easy to find. Even though we were following the directions through the alleys on Google Maps, we had missed them at first and had to backtrack to spot them.
When we got there, we found OriginBAR offers a huge range of creative tea-based cocktails which cover six pages of their menu. This made the night exciting as we kicked back, relaxed, and chatted within the surroundings of flickering candle lights while enjoying the distinctive tea tastes within our cocktails.
Since the bar was too dark for taking photos (without flash in respect to the other guests), we increased the brightness filter instead so you could get a better idea of what it’s like inside. Even so, we feel it doesn’t do it justice on how calm and relaxing the place is.
Even before the pandemic, they already had the idea to space out seating zones in a way to make guests feel more at ease – they called it “a comfort like being at home”.
We also found that they don’t charge any service fees despite how the waiters were always enthusiastically on hand to take care of everyone. This does mean you’ll have to refill your water. Saying that we did see them refill empty cups of water when they noticed they were empty.
They have a huge projector at the back playing popular movies, but all on silent with Chinese subtitles. We didn’t mind at all though, in fact, we found ourselves phasing out to it from time to time… We guess having some movie running in the background like that improves the chilled vibe here.
There’s a minimum charge restriction per person (or shared between the group) depending on the seating zone.
As far as we’re aware, it goes like this:
Tables & high chairs at the bar: $300 on weekdays / $500 on weekends.
Small Sofas: $3,000 on weekdays / $4,000 on weekends – but it’s $500 per person if it’s over 8 people.
Large Sofas: $4,000 on weekdays / $5,000 on weekends – but it’s $500 per person if it’s over 10 people.
It ends up being pretty reasonable since you’d be sharing out the costs between you, and the staff would be happy to help with that.
Since the place is spacious, they’ve got a darts area! We didn’t end up playing darts, but we assume you’d just need to signal a waiter over and ask for the darts and or any assistance to play.
What We Ordered
We felt spoilt for choice on their ranges of cocktails, thankfully, the friendly staff was happy to come over and enthusiastically give us a detailed introduction on each, as well as some recommendations after listing back to what we generally liked.
We were excited about what we were hearing about how creative their cocktails are. As an example, some of their cocktails involve chocolate, Ovaltine, and even Yakult!
Their cocktail menu is super helpful as it shows each cocktail ingredient as well as how sour, sweet, astringent, and bitter they are.
Tea Cocktails – ABC最愛的清幽香片 ($330)
This tropical-looking glass was their Jasmine tea cocktail that was mixed with grapefruit, green tea, honey, and lime.
The taste of the alcohol was pretty light as the notes of the Jasmine tea and lime came through nicely. It was enjoyably sweet and sour as expected, but it only had a slightly bitter aftertaste which worked well for this fruity cocktail.
Tea Cocktails – 錫蘭的醉伯爵 ($330)
This elegantly styled glass is their Earl Gray and Ceylon tea cocktail, mixed with berries, peach, and lime.
This one was a lot more sweet and sour which did a good job hiding the alcohol. We could taste the subtle notes of the Earl Gray tea and peach which didn’t give a lasting aftertaste at the back of your throat. Since it wasn’t bitter at all, it felt so enjoyable to keep sipping!
The Craft Beer
Despite specializing in tea-based cocktails, they also serve many other popular cocktails, whiskeys, spirits, and liqueurs at the bar. Whatsmore, they also serve craft beer and non-alcoholic drinks in the refrigerator.
They told us it’s $250 per bottle, and there are some specific items you can buy 2 get 1 free.
Jincai Phoenix Bridge Weissbier ($250)
We ordered a bottle of their German Wheat Beer. They were happy to come over and pour it in a glass that they provided.
The craft beer here isn’t bad at all! It tasted pretty smooth despite being 4.5 Abv, and you could taste the wheaty flavor. Next time, we’ll try something sweeter since we later spotted their honey beer.
Truffle Fries ($250)
They serve a good range of high-end pub food here, so we ordered something that’ll go well with our drinks – the Truffle Fries!
The fries were very crispy but had a lot of potatoes inside as they were pretty chunky. They come coated in parmesan cheese which had a strong and delicious taste.
The food may come at a slightly high price tag, but it’s justified due to the quality and the amount you get since it’s intended to be shared.
Spiced Cheese Chicken Wings ($320)
Since we were sharing the food (and prices) between us, we continued to order more food!
These come as a set of 6 chicken wings which were moderately spicy – they went perfectly well with our drinks for sure.
The fried skin had a fairly crispy texture, but they were soft and meaty on the inside.
We loved how the skin was fully coated in a strong cheese powder that flaked off after every bite.
With its level of spiciness mixed with its cheesy punch to the tongue, these wings were very tasty.
Parmesan & Truffle Risotto w/Pork Neck ($420)
Some of us ordered personal dishes since they came straight from work to meet us.
This risotto comes as a perfect warm dish of soft rice and a smooth texture all around which went well with the mix of freshly fried vegetables.
The pork neck meat was slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Our friend who ordered this risotto said it was delicious and very moreish. The dish is pretty deep so the portion isn’t small. Our friend also stated that he felt satisfyingly full when he finished it.
Sauteed Shrimp & Mushroom ($350)
Another one of our friends ordered this mixed vegetable and shrimp dish which was more of a Chinese style.
He said it was pretty oily, nevertheless, he went on to say it was bursting with fresh flavors from the mushrooms and shrimp.
We have to be honest, we don’t know exactly what was in these shots. All of us were more than a little tipsy at this point to take note of what was in those tray of shots – we were just excited to know they were free of charge!
As far as we could recall, the first round of shots wasn’t that strong, and tasted like earl grey tea, blackcurrant, and cranberry – but we couldn’t be sure.
They later came over with yet another tray of free shots! These shots were also easy to down since the alcohol was hidden by the very sweet notes of tea, peach, and grapefruit.
At this point, we felt pretty drunk, and also very grateful to them for allowing us to have such an enjoyable evening here!
And just as we were just about to leave, we were surprised to be offered more shots yet again. This time, they called them their ‘goodbye shots’!
Check out their entire menu below:
The hospitality of the waiters was outstanding. It was clear that they value treating all their customers very well. It meant a lot to us that they were conscious not to bother us unless we actively wanted something as they kept nearby but on hand.
The rounds of free shots made us all feel very spoiled – a huge bonus that we don’t often see elsewhere.
Will we go back?
There’s no doubt about it! Next time we’ll be trying the other selections of tea cocktails since there were just so many to choose from.
If you’re visiting around the end of the week, be warned that it may get busier due to their growing success and reputation. In any case, it’s strongly advisable to book by telling them when you’ll arrive and how many people you’ll be coming with.
You can simply book by messaging them on their official Facebook page. Bear in mind they have two locations, so make sure you’re clear to them which one you’re going to:
OriginBAR – Songshan Branch
Telephone: 0225 475 817
Facebook: OriginBAR 源
English address: No. 31, Alley 5, Lane 133, Section 4, Nanjing E Rd, Songshan District, Taipei City, 105
Chinese address: 105台北市松山區南京東路四段133巷5弄31號
Closest MRT: Taipei Arena
OriginBAR – Da’an Branch
Telephone: 02 2711 4018
Facebook: OriginBAR 源
English address: No. 20號, Alley 11, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao E Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
Chinese address: 106台北市大安區忠孝東路四段216巷11弄20號
Closest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua
🗓️ Updated: September 2021 – Taipei.Expats