Not too long ago, a friend and I were stumbling across Singapore city hitting up all the best bars and downing libations like they were going out of style. At the very end of this long excursion, we predictably found ourselves perched at the bar at 28HKS. Long time heavyweight 28HKS needs no introduction if you know the top bars around the world.
So there we are, trying to look sober AF and failing. We order drinks that we ask the bartender to recommend, which he does without batting an eyelid. As we wait for our drinks, I see someone behind the bar who catches our attention. She’s doing her thing, juggling orders, keeping her cool, pouring drinks with so much swag, I get a little nervous. Who is that? I seem to remember Rusty at 1880 saying we should meet Charmaine if we happen to pop by 28HKS. Could that be her? He did say she’s awesome. Must be her. I go right in with a “Hey!”, not knowing what I would say next. Still multi-tasking and keeping her cool, she flashes a smile and comes right over. It was her. I introduced myself and my friend over the warm chatter and music, she politely entertained our inane small talk until our drink arrived and then went about doing her thing again, making an appearance every now and then to check if we were good. We were good. We were great!
We didn’t chat long, the meeting was brief but Charmaine left an impression. I thought to myself when we left the bar, “She’s someone I would totally hang out with!” Great energy, charming conversationalist, zero airs, and 100% LIT.
A few months later, as I was penning down story ideas for the second quarter of the year, I dropped Charmaine a note. In my mind, if I was going to ask the coolest cats in the bar circuit about their drinking experiences, surely Charmaine would have a story or two to tell. And boy, does she tell it well!
Here’s Charmaine Ann Thio telling us about one such memorable drinking night at a very memorable bar in Taipei, as part of our #WateringHoles series. We can relate, and if you can too, drop her a line and show her some love on @crazycocktailcat
“It’s our first time in Taipei. We’re in the Da’an District. It’s 3:41am. We may or may not already be lit.
My travel companion, S, and I are with some locals whom we’d just made friends with a day (or was it just a few hours?) ago. We’re at a bar called Tickle My Fantasy (!!!) They’re apparently famous for their Long Island Iced Tea. Our new friends order one for each of us. They’re borderline toxic. The drinks, not our friends. We’re struggling. S has run off to sit at some other group’s table. They’ve all gone out to smoke but they’ve left behind a bug eyed chihuahua that can’t seem to keep its tongue in its mouth. S tells the palm-sized critter she loves him. The crotchety lady behind the bar is yelling at S to put it down and go back to her seat. Crotchety Lady has had enough of our bullshit. We chug the Long Islands [bad move] and scurry outside.
I just want to go to there because in my mind it’s some kind of phallus themed bar and I mean who doesn’t want to drink in some kind of phallus themed bar right? Don’t answer that.
I don’t remember if we got into a cab or if we walked. Point is, we’re here. By here I mean some random alley but I’m fairly certain we’re in the right place. There’s a big round neon sign screaming “Dick’s Place”…
No penises then.
It’s 4:09am. The bar is empty save for the snow capped bartender. He sets down an ash tray. S orders a beer. I may have asked for a Scotch & soda. We seem to have lost one of our two new friends to the call of responsibility and rationality. Our surviving bad decision buddy orders a beer and something else. I really hope it’s not Fireball. I’m off my seat exploring the bar. It’s everything you could ever want in a neighbourhood dive bar. Dart board, random booze memorabilia tacked onto walls, TV in the corner and a fine to moderate layer of dust on most surfaces other than the bar top. I could see this being my local.
I go back to drinking my possible Scotch & soda. The bartender has a pot in his left hand and a pair of chopsticks in his right. Is he cooking dumplings?! He’s cooking dumplings. I realise I’m starving. That Long Island probably burnt up all of dinner and a third of my stomach lining. I’m usually suspicious of the mystery meat in dumplings. I’m 99% sure it’s pork in these dumplings. Neither S nor I eat pork. We’re both far too gone at this point to ask questions or make informed decisions. We’re eating the dumplings. I can’t stop eating the dumplings. I’m definitely drunk. I really like this bar. I think the bartender’s name is Dick. This is his place.”
This great storyteller is at 28HKS in Singapore and frequently tours the world making amazing drinks at other bars. We suggest you follow her on Instagram and catch her the next time she’s in your neighbourhood. We think a great story could come out of that interaction.
狄克的店 Dick’s Place Taipei
Address: No. 3, Lane 31, Ruì’ān St, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 / 31弄，瑞安街，大安區
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