USASTRATCOM

This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Casablanca Bar, Taipei, Taiwan, 1968

As has been mentioned before, it was raining fiercely that day in early June, 1968, when we landed in Taipei.

After we did some preliminary processing in, we were assigned a room at the Navy Barracks in the Signal Compound.

That night, the rain let up and we decided to see what was happening downtown.




We followed the yellow line from the Signal Compound on Linsen North Road at the top of this photo and walked about 800 yards south to Min Chuan East Road.

We then were lost, so we turned right until we could read a sign in English.

Just a few steps and we saw a neon sign we could easily read.

 It was the Casablanca Bar, and we decided to stop in.



Card from D. Price; Courtesy of Linkounavy.com

This is such a great card that there is almost too much information on it. The American Hotel was the greatest example off a true R and R hotel.

 "Welcome Defenders Of Freedom" greeted us as we entered this hotel of about 20 rooms and a bar with 6 stools. Shoulder patches of about every uniit in the Armed Forces were glued on the lobby walls.

Photo by R. Reesh, via Kent Mathieu; Courtesy of Dawgflight..com

But before entering the hotel back of it, we first stopped at the Casablanca. The 4 or 5 of us saw a well-drilled team go into action. They obviously had prepared for this part of a potential contract many times before.

With lightning precision, we were each singled out by a young lady, and she quickly ordered herself a "cocktail" in a shallow wine glass which contained a cola drink.

We didn't wait for round 2 and quickly explained that we were stationed in Taipei and were not there on R and R.
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Just as fast as we were divided and set up to be conquered, we found ourselves back   on the sidewalk, looking in.

So, on our first night in Taipei, we suddenly found out the difference between a bar and a club. Fortunately, the price we paid for this lesson was only 50 cents--the price of the cola.


Photo by S. Swallom; Courtesy of Dawgflight.com

This picture and the one that follows were taken from a pedestrian overpass which is still there. We are looking west as Min Chuan East Road, coming from Taipei International Airport passes beneath us.

The Casablanca Bar can be seen on the right.. During the day, Taipei wasn't a very visibly attractive and inviting city for the adventurer.

Photo by M. Hine; Courtesy of Dawgflight.com

At night, Taipei, as well as many other cities and towns came alive. This was part of Taipei's charm. Thinking back, the major roads may have had adequate lighting, but the streets and alleys were a little short on the wattage which was just fine.

This picture and the one above it show how the city's ambiance changed as the sun set. Streets became narrower and the neon lights couldn't match Broadway's, but they beckoned many servicemen to their source.

The Casablanca's oval can be seen on the right.


This isn't the same angle as the first Casablanca picture, but this location convinced me that the building was the bar as remembered.


Here you can see the front of the old building's facade as it appears now, with the alley beside it plainly in view.


Facing it head on, the old bar seems authentic. The same can't be said of the Shanghai Bar, once right beside it, but now demolished.


Finally, we can all see that the old Casablanca has been attached to a building behind it. If that black building had any significance in 1968, let me know. No memories for me here.

3 comments:

  1. I remember the Casablanca Bar from my first tour at USTDC in 63-64. I lived in an apartment on the first alley north of Minquan E. Rd. Casablanca Bar was a nice place to hang out then, that was before R&R. I can still remember listening to "Wolverton Mountain" on the jukebox in Casablanca. I had a friend that worked in the Kowloon Bar across the street from the Casablanca. I tried to find my old apartment when I visted Taipei several years ago, but everything looked differently. Thanks for the memories!

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  2. Thanks, John
    There are mamy more who remember the Casablanca after 1965, I'm sure.
    According to Victor, it is now
    Robles Japanese BBQ.

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