Though Manila may not have the laid-back feel of Cebu nor the spectacular sights of Palawan, one thing visitors and locals can’t deny is the vibrant and diverse nightlife. From super clubs to world-class restaurants, Manila has much to offer tourists and residents alike. In the last few years, the capital city’s bar scene has truly flourished, and many new establishments, from secret speakeasy bars to rooftop enclaves, have popped up everywhere. Whether you’re in town for a quick stop or staying for the long-haul, these are the top 5 bars you can’t miss.
Le Café Curieux
They say in the Philippines, there are only two kinds of weather – hot and hotter, so it’s no surprise locals often seek air-conditioned environments. However, Le Café Curieux seems to defy the norms, drawing in curious crowds to its al fresco dining area surrounded by a garden. They offer the usual cocktails, apertifs, digestifs, liquers, and shooters. But the house rums are the true stars of the show. In the back room bar, ten different jugs of rhum line the shelves, infused with a variety of flavors, from sweet bananas to spicy cinnamon. They use local white rhum to give it that Pinoy flair, while incorporating secret techniques and recipes to give it that perfect blend. Each shot is a mere 80 pesos or 1.35 euros and a metre of 10 shots will set you back 12 euros. Of course, the traditional French food is excellent and affordable as well.
Address: Unit G1 G/F Soho Bel Air Bldg., Bel Air Polaris cor. Badajos St., Poblacion, Makati City
Hours: Mon – Sun: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 2:00 am
Entrees: 8.50 euros. Cocktails: 5 euros.
Signature Drink: Infused rhum using techniques from the French Island of Réunion, off the coast of Madagascar. Try the pimente, cinnamon, and banana flavours.
The last year or two has seen a proliferation of “secret” bars and pubs in the metro, harkening back to Prohibition-era style establishments, so it’s probably fitting that a bar called Speakeasy has sprung up in the Makati CBD area. Although one of the newest bars on the block (and located in a mall, which is about as Filipino as you can get) Speakeasy is by no means a lightweight when it comes to serving great comfort food and delicious drinks.
They serve western comfort food, bespoke cocktails, and beers for an affordable price. It’s not uncommon to see yuppies and other professionals dropping by for a meal or drink after a long day at work, especially those looking to try their unique signature cocktails or wide selections of single malts. The food is no-nonsense, simple, but delicious. The fresh ingredients are the star of each meal and served in generous portions. For those looking for a particular taste or style, ask the resident mixologist to whip up a personalized drink to suit your tastes.
Address: Ground Floor Unit 10, Alphaland Makati Place, Ayala Avenue Extension, Makati City
Operation Hours: Monday to Saturday, 5pm – 2am
Entrees: 6.75 euros. Cocktails: 5 euros per glass, 6.73 per shaker
Signature Drink: Speakeasy Standard, a refreshing drink made of lychee, fresh mint and gin.
The Curator offers so much more than just a secret entrance. Coffee shop by day and bar by night, this place offers excellent drinks, a quiet atmosphere, and knowledgeable staff. During daylight hours, the Curator serves up excellent brews made from local beans they roast themselves. Once the sun goes down, the espresso machines are put away and the whole place transforms into a bar.
Jericson Co, co-founder of The Curator, says, “The main idea of the Curator is that there’s a history of artisans, craftsmen, blenders, servicemen and women that have brought the industry, both coffee and cocktails respectively, to really great levels and that we want to pay respect to that.” Ordering is an experience, and the resident mixologist will guide you through the process, telling you about the history of each ingredient or drink. After paying respect to these classic cocktails, go ahead and ask for a cocktail tailored exclusively to your tastes. While the cocktails are pricey by Philippine standards, they are worth every cent.
Address: 134 Legazpi St. corner C. Palanca St., 1229 Makati (inside Cyrano Wine Bar)
Phone: +63 916 355 4129
Mon – Thu: 7:00 am – 2:00 am, Fri – Sat: 7:00 am – 3:00 am, Sun: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Cocktails: 8.50 euros
Signature drink: Skip the menu and ask the mixologist to create a cocktail just for you.
When you want to relax, have a drink, and have a spectacular view of the Makati skyline, Skye is the place to go. Opened in 2011, this bar offers a casual ambience, perfect for a nightcap after a date or just for hanging out with friends once the weekend starts.
They offer premium bottle service like in clubs. The atmosphere is far from the hectic, frenzied feeling found in nearby clubs. They serve small plates, Spanish-style tapas, and Intercontinental cuisine. They also have a delicious selection of signature cocktails that are simply refreshing, plus a friendly staff to cater to your needs.
Address: W High Street Building, 28th St. corner 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
For reservations, please contact 478 4284 or 0932 856 7593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Average price: Food: 5 euros per Tapas Plate, 4.20 euros per cocktail
Signature drink: Skye Signature Mojito.
Head over to the Corinthian Plaza, enter The Plaza Café and make your way to the, where else, exit sign at the end of the hallway and push against the wall. Soon, you’ll enter what seems like another era. The dark and cozy atmosphere is certainly a world away from the usual crowded, noisy bars in the metro.
According to the owners, Exit Bar was created so that people had an exciting, and yet relaxed place that wasn’t located in a mall or a dense commercial zone. They serve a variety of snacks, as well as beers, shots, and cocktails. On any given night, you’ll see a diverse crowd, from older patrons to students. While many expats and locals complain of the dearth of good music (as most local places usually blast out hits from two decades ago), Exit Bar offers a much more diverse sound, from Led Zeppelin to The Black Keys.
Address: Plaza Cafe, Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo de Roxas, Legaspi Village Makati (across Greenbelt 1 and AIM).
Phone: +632 625 0305
Bar Snacks: 5 euros per plate
Cocktails: 3 euros
Beers: 1.60 euros for local beers, 5 euros for imported beers
Signature drink: Pomp and Circumstance, a concoction of gin, chartreuse, grapefruit, lemon, sugar, and soda.