Ever since the Eslite (誠品) flagship bookstore on Tunhua South Road went 24 hours a little more than two years ago, it has transcended the realm of mere bookstores. Now, late at night, this emporium of literature, fashion and intellectual style is often more bumping than your average Taipei disco. On weekends, every nook, step and stoop of the second-floor book stacks is filled with itinerant readers. And on weekdays, well, where else can you go to meet and greet at 4:30am on a Monday morning?
Books aside, the only salient differences between Eslite and a nightclub are the bright reading lights and the soft classical music that's piped in over the PA. Virtually every night of the week in front of the store's main entrance along Tunhua South Road, taxis line up for customers and street vendors hawk head shop jewelry form Hong Kong and Japan. The kids inside - and the after-hours crowd is definitely under 30, sometimes even under 18 - dress in baggy Ecko jeans, tinted shades, hot pants and all the same hot fashions they read about all night long in the store's magazine section. Of course, the magazine section isn't the only place for mingling. There's also the photography books section.
For a break from the books, and who's reading anyway, there's the Yuedu Cafe (閱讀咖啡), also open 24 hours. They serve your typical array of coffees, teas and cakes and even some simple food, like chicken sandwiches. Moreover, the prices are reasonable and they even have beer, including odd German brads like Pioneer Bier - Trucker's Love (NT$130), which comes in a can covered with women in bikinis and semi trucks.
The Eslite Tunhua branch is located at 245 Tunhua S. Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei (台北市敦化南路一段245號). It is open 24 hours a day 7days a week, and all major credit cards are accepted.
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