The Philippines’ Best Bars and Lounges 2016
Food: French comfort food | Music: Gypsy jazz music
Tucked away in the basement of a corporate building, Alcohol By Volume (ABV) has all the makings of an authentic speakeasy from the Prohibition Era—secret entrance, password, and all. With Diageo Reserve World Class winner Kenneth Bandivas in their roster of bartenders, the reclusive bar serves up concoctions where each drink is carefully prepared with only the best ingredients and freshest produce, including craft cocktails, absinthe and forgotten classics such as the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Corpse Reviver. Dim lighting and rustic interiors channel exclusivity and serve as a breather for those who want to escape the bustle of the big city.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 5 PM onwards
22 Jupiter Street cor. Galaxy Basement area, Bel-Air Makati, +632.832.5330
Food: Small plates and bar bites | Music: Selected and curated sets by Anton Ramos
An amalgamation of all the watering holes visited by the Moment Group and their friends, Bank Bar takes inspiration from the merged concepts of a derelict chic cloister and an abandoned old world loft, which make for a very photogenic drinking den. Now an intimate hideout in the centre of the metropolis, the modern tavern is hidden within the storage room of one of Bonifacio Global City’s corporate towers. Offering impressive drinks list and the widest bar selection in Manila, expect everything from akvavit to absinthe, sake to single malts, grappas to gin and an extensive choice of vermouths, tonics, and sodas.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 5 PM to 2 AM
G/F RCBC Savings Corporate Centre, 26th Street, in between 6th and 7th Avenues, +632.544.5776
Food: Bar chow, pastries | Music: Vinyl music
Hidden in one of the numerous alleys of the Makati business district, The Bonbon Club is an unassuming gin establishment, the first of its kind in Manila. Without a glaring sign to signify its existence, the bar is like a well-known secret amongst the city dwellers. What attracts a discerning crowd is The Bonbon Club’s meticulous concoctions of premium gin and fresh ingredients creating high-quality, artisanal cocktails every time. Bartenders don medicinal coats as a tribute to gin’s medicinal origins, while the décor is well curated and has a story behind it. A new player in the metro’s varied bar scene, it looks to push the envelope and establish a more refined appreciation for gin.
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 4 PM to 12 MN; Friday to Saturday, 6 PM to 2 AM
Happy Hours: Wednesday, 6 PM to 8 PM
16 Tropical Palms Gallardo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, +632.801.4840
Food: Good pub grub | Music: Live music
Another addition to Bonifacio Global City’s eclectic mix of destinations, The Brewery takes up the posh address of The Palace complex at Uptown BGC. Overlooking the Pool Club, this enclosed gem houses the largest microbrewery of its kind in town. Boasting a Czech brew master, the pub churns out fresh beer on tap daily, while head chef and co-owner Carlos Miguel creates a menu that revolves around beer, from classic pairings to inventive recipes with beer as an ingredient. Notable musicians in the local industry are known to frequent the bar, whether to perform live or just kick back. The Brewery merges all three aspects of a laudable establishment—good beer, good food and good music.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 AM to 2 AM
The Palace, 10th Avenue cor. 38th Street, Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City, +63917.813.9429 / +63917.638.3339
Food: World fusion | Music: Blues, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock, Down Tempo, Afro Beat, Swing, etc.
With a name straight out of Max Ehrmann’s 1927 poem, “Desiderata” literally translates to “things to be desired” in Latin. Tailor-made to create an experience according to your desire, the bar is meticulous with its process of sourcing its beers, wines, liquors and spirits, crafting its cocktails, designing a menu based on local and fresh ingredients, and even with its taste in music. Conveying a style that is mid-century Art Deco, the interiors are infused with contemporary elements such as pops of exposed piping, gilded details and geometric furniture. Desiderata balances an overtly masculine vibe with a feminine facet, using curved lines amidst industrial features.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 5 PM to 2 AM
G/F The Infinity Tower, 25th Street, Between 9th and 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, +632.893.4212 / +63917.575.7954
Food: Bar chow | Music: British Rock, British Indie, Top of the Charts, Underground
It’s your friendly neighbourhood bar where people come together for a great drink, whether it’s a hand-crafted cocktail, a craft beer, a single malt or a straightforward mix. The owners of Hooch envisioned a proudly Philippine-grown bar but with international standards serving up creative and quality drinks. They were tired of the usual watering hole that charged an arm and a leg for mediocre drinks. The bar’s distinction not only comes from its reputation of happy-go-lucky parties but also from its serious array of drinks—it boasts of being the only bar in the country that creates 104 signature cocktails and 52 classic cocktails in a year.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 12 NN until last man standing
G/F V Corporate Centre, 125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, +63926.851.8030
Food: N/A | Music: Lounge music
An exclusive whisky bar at Solaire, Macallen is a member’s-only establishment for the top-notch gamers of the resort and casino. A quintessential gentleman’s pub in all its original, old-fashioned glory, the eponymous bar alludes to one of the leading distilleries in the world. With a separate cigar lounge, Macallen Whisky Bar offers humidified cedar lockers to store cigars for guests. Simultaneously unassuming and sophisticated, the bar’s remarkable list of single malts, blended malts, bourbons, whiskies, and hand-rolled cigars is a testament to such qualities.
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 3 PM to 3 AM; Friday to Sunday, 3 PM to 5 AM
3/L Sky Tower, Solaire Resort and Casino, 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City, Tambo, Parañaque City, +632.888.8888 / +632.888.8873
Food: Indochine | Music: Jazz
Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem of the same name, Mandalay is a speakeasy-cumwhisky bar concealed within the Belle & Dragon, and houses one of the largest whisky and cigar collections in the country. Through a dim hallway and into a closet, guests are transported to another era inspired by the great explorations to the Orient. Artefacts line the walls alongside bottles of whisky and cases of cigars. Dark wood and dimpled leather cushions exude a very masculine atmosphere while Eastern accents such as Asian-inspired lamps, and Buddha and dragon statues diffuse the Western vibe.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 6 PM to 2:30 AM
100 OPL Building, Carlos Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City, +632.728.5029
Food: Eclectic food | Music: Lounge music
Ideally situated in the heart of Manila’s financial district, Monopole caters to local wine aficionados. A spot where friends can convene and enjoy over a diversity of wines, the bar introduces its guests to the great regions of Champagne, Burgundy, Italy and California. With 1500 bottles in its cellar featuring 250 various labels from 9 regions, the bar is home to both exciting and approachable wines, including rare gems from Bordeaux and Burgundy for the more discerning. One of the few bars that offer wine classes and guided tastings in the metro, Monopole is passionate about wine education and holds such events regularly, conducted by the industry’s respected personalities and professionals.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 5 PM to 12 MN
G/F Greenbelt Exelsior Building, 105 Carlos Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City, +632.893.9477
Salon de Ning
Food: International | Music: Live band and DJ
From the fictional Madame Ning, the stylish, wealthy, and globetrotting character imagined by the Peninsula, Salon de Ning is the reincarnation of the luxury connoisseur. The setting of the bar takes guests back to Shanghai in the 1930s, a diversified ménage of Oriental tradition and Hollywood glam. Hues of deep red and violet emanate a flair for drama and mystery. Outfitted with several rooms including the Shanghai, the Zeppelin and the Shoe room, each with a story of its own, the entirety of the bar has just the right kick of humour and whimsy and serves up cocktail hour as the new theatre.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 7 PM to 2 AM
The Peninsula Manila, Ayala Avenue cor. Makati Avenue, Makati City, +632.887.2888 / +632.812.3456
Food: International | Music: Lounge
Situated on the roof deck of the stylish Seda boutique hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Straight Up easily provides a panoramic view of Manila’s fast-rising metropolis. Overlooking everything from lush green spaces and fashionable stores around town, to vibrant residential communities that spread out until Laguna de Bay, the bar offers guests a rare aerial perspective from the top while indulging in signature cocktails, delectable tapas, and steady music. Simply a place to unwind and take a breather, Straight Up also features live music in the form of a guest DJ specialising in house and soul, and lady singers with a repertoire of songs ranging from smooth jazz to the hits of the 90s.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 4 PM to 2 AM
Roof Deck, Seda BGC, 30th Street cor. 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, +632.945.8888 / +632.588.5700
Food: Global Filipino comfort food | Music: Rockeoke, Hiphop & RnB, 80s/90s hits, Top 40 club mixes, Easy Listening
Unit 27 promises to the 20, 30 and 40-somethings of Manila to double as a home away from home. With its chic interiors that combine both industrial and rustic elements, it gives off a very New York vibe, from the symmetrical assembled frames of photos to the typography on its brick walls. Catering to the cosmopolitan game changers, Unit 27 boasts its own brand personality of being trendy, witty and creative in the volatile landscape of the industry. Offering all-day brunch and all-night house partying, the apartment café and bar also serves as a retail store for Filipino-designed furniture, home accessories and vinyl music.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 4 PM to 2 AM
26th Street Icon Plaza Fort, Bonifacio Global City, +632.894.1692 / +63998.556.9129