First Square complex on a
Relaxing, drinking and
Afternoon dancing under the
Relaxing, low-priced fun at
First Square's Filipino discos
Gimik Pinoy Disco Pub & KTV Restaurant
By James Kane Translated by S. Ying
135, LuChuan W St, 12F-1, Central Dist
Hours: Sundays 1-8 pm
BRT: Taichung Railway Station
No service charge.
Parking lot available.
Take a trip into "old downtown" Taichung, near the Taichung Railway Station, and you'll know when you have stepped into "Little Southeast Asia" due to its substantial population of Filipino, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese foreign workers and businesses catering to them.
With Sunday being the only day off for many of these workers, afternoons are spent going to parks, shopping, eating and relaxing with friends. A popular gathering place is the 13-floor First Square shopping complex with its numerous low-priced shops, restaurants, KTVs and pool halls. One more surprising attraction in this rather underwhelming old building are the discos, open in the afternoon. Yes, the Filipinos are pioneers of the Sunday afternoon disco, a concept based on the fact that many workers need to be up early on a Monday and don't want to stay out late. Thus, owners open and close early to accommodate those wanting to drink, dance and have fun.
Gimik Pinoy is one such disco on the 12th floor of the complex and open only on Sundays from 1 to 8 p.m. Here, punters can enjoy a retro disco ambiance complete with mirror balls and flashing strobe lights. This isn't the sort of venue to enjoy exotic cocktails while propped up at the bar all night but, rather, a place to relax with NT$50 cans of Thai beer before hitting the dance floor to some thumping upbeat music being spun by the resident DJ. With price of entry a modest NT$150, including a free drink, you can see why this place is popular with local students as well as the Southeast Asian expat community. Customers can also take a break from dancing and enjoy some local food and karaoke on the same floor.
Step out of the elevator on the sixth floor, and you'll also find Hera Music Dance Club, another place that opens early and caters to those after a boogie on a Sunday afternoon. This club stays open until the early hours throughout the week from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.