Bobwundaye (known to regulars as "Bob 'n Dave's" or just plain "Bob's") is a cozy neighborhood pub in Taipei that attracts regulars from across the city and around the world. Bob's customers and employees include a lively bunch of musicians, artists, journalists, teachers, students, and professionals from wide-ranging fields.
Bobwundaye opened its doors in December 2003. Renovated from a defunct comic book rental shop into a bar and coffee and snack shop, Bobwundaye was conceived by Cathy Chiou and three partners as a vehicle for Cathy, a well-loved local bartender, to strike out on her own. Although Cathy decided just a year into the venture to retire from bar work, she remains a great friend of Bobwundaye and often drops by to lend her moral support and good cheer.
After Cathy's departure, partner Katrina stepped to the helm and has guided Bob's through the ensuing years with enthusiastic help from managers Becky, Venus, and Dinna. Other employees and friends have kept Bob's hopping by organizing film nights (hosted by Guillaume, Charles, and River, who's also responsible for much of Bobwundaye's artwork), musical performances (organized Conor and Jason), wine tastings (hosted by Reinhard and Norn), and barbeques (with Charles and Jason cooking up a storm).
Bobwundaye's walls have been graced by the art and photography of a number of talented artists. Of particular note have been exhibits of photographic works of Hyatt Lee (atmospheric shots of historic Dihua Street at the lunar New Year) and T.C. Lin (bold and colorful semi-abstractions inspired by the Taipei cityscape), and the alternately charming and subversive paper cuttings and calligraphy of Kat.
Highlights of Bobwundaye's young history have been the musical performances, both scheduled and spontaneous ones, often beginning in the late afternoon and accompanied by a cookout on a grill under Bob's eaves. Among the talented musicians that have rocked Bob's to delighted audiences are David Chen, Conor Prunty, and the rest of the Muddy Basin Ramblers gang, Jason Grenier of Mr. Green, Charles McHale, James Sherwood, Greg Tackett, Scott Cook of the Anglers, Nathan Javens and Moshe Foster of Public Radio, and Psycho Yang, famed for his guitar work with Luantan and other local bands.
Our friend Charles McHale had the following to say about Bob's (on Taiwan Fun.com), and we think his comments sum Bob's up nicely:
Bobwundaye is a laid-back neighborhood bar. The name, often mistaken as Bob 'n' Dave's, is actually "bo bwun daye", Taiwanese for "no problem". Even the owners call it Bob's, though. It's one of the few places where the mix of foreign and Taiwanese customers speak all of the MRT's four languages, with some Italian and Japanese thrown in. The music is just as eclectic, with Chicago Blues, Afro Cuban and Indy Folk making a presence. It's a little hard to find, the kind of spot friends take friends for a quiet drink and conversation.
Bob's bar is two car lengths of wooden slab as thick as a can of Taiwan "pi jiu". There's plenty of room for your laptop, drinks, snacks and, of course, your elbows. The snacks, including curries, chips and salsa, and sandwiches, are always rotating by availability and the whims of the manager. There's tea and espresso and other drinks. Though prices at Bob's make a happy hour seem pointless, there are always specials. Owners Katrina, Conor and Paul opened Bob's to enjoy and meet with friends, and they hope you'll do the same.
written by P.C.