Where To Drink and Be Merry: The Philippines' Best Bars of 2020
1/20 Agimat Foraging Bar
Taking its name from Filipino folklore, Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen pays homage to the magic and mysticism of local culture with speciality drinks and an ambience to match. Order the Ritwal ng Agimat to not just taste a fiery concoction but to witness a show of ethnic proportions as well.
2/20 Baccarat Room and Bar
Gentlemen and ladies are invited to luxuriate in this sophisticated lounge and enjoy a variety of premium cocktails and a vast selection of local and international cigars. One may also be pleasantly surprised to find themselves invited to an actual game of baccarat, actually available on eight private tables.
3/20 The Back Room
The Prohibition Era paved the way for hidden hangouts and secret bars, and The Back Room transports one to the heyday of speakeasies. With five drink categories and over 150 variants of gin to enjoy, The Bee’s Knees—the bar’s homegrown gin—is a true stand out.
4/20 Bank Bar
Tucked behind a convenience store of an office building in BGC is a popular drinking haven that stocks a wide selection of top shelf spirits. Apart from being an ideal location for after-work drinks, one can expect to sample the delicious fare The Moment Group is best known for, too.
5/20 The Bar, The Peninsula Manila
Checkered floors and wooden walls surround The Bar’s cosy furnishings, which take inspiration from an old Cuban cigar factory. It comes as no surprise, then, that it also holds The Peninsula Manila’s smoking area. Take a sip of the Batangas Old Fashioned, which comes highly-recommended, as well as the aromatic Martinez.
6/20 Buccaneers Rum And Cocktails Bar
Once, the man behind Shangri-La at The Fort’s award-winning bars, Ulysse Jouanneaud, ventured into new shores by founding a rum tavern of his own with partners Vincent Landais and Simon Côté. Together, they redefined the Poblacion drinking scene by placing rum-based libations at the fore.
7/20 Cork Wine Bar and Shop
Coveted bottles of vino from esteemed vineyards around the world allow Cork to elevate the local wine culture through their BGC outpost. Well-appointed interiors contribute to its elegant atmosphere, making it an ideal location to catch up with friends over curated food pairings.
8/20 The Curator
As its name suggests, The Curator doesn’t offer a basic bar experience. Bartenders create drinks that suit their patrons’ tastes, on the menu or not. They not just take their cocktails seriously, but their coffee too—stumble into the space while the sun’s out and enjoy their special brews.
9/20 Dr. Wine
While the doctor-prescribed option would be to sample one of their French wines from Bordeaux, a range of fine libations is also available for choosing. One can easily feel right at home in Dr. Wine with its cosy seating and flavoursome bites, and its third floor allows private celebrations with a party of 20.
10/20 Elbert's Upstairs Bar
Unbeknownst to many who line up for a popular ramen joint in BGC is a fine speakeasy just above it. A wealth of spirits allows the perfection of a drink of their choice, made just the way one likes it. Try the Old Fashioned (which is said to be Elbert himself’s benchmark for a quality drink) and pair it with their fine cheeses and charcuterie.
11/20 Kartel Rooftop Bar
Some of the best views of Poblacion are seen from Kartel, the rooftop bar above Dr. Wine. One will find a more laidback vibe here compared to its sister establishment. A different playlist and a menu of its own beverages and bites also set it apart.
Adding to the Poblacion night scene is Kondwi, which serves not just as a venue for dinner and drinks but as an artist’s haven as well. The space is decked with art pieces for sale and lounge areas designed by Leeroy New. Above it is an exhibition space, completing the bar’s vibe as the ultimate creative playground.
13/20 Macallan Whisky Bar
Named after one of the leading distilleries in the world, Macallan Whisky Bar offers Old World charm through its sought-after drinks. From blended whiskies to single malts, bourbons, and hand-rolled cigars within reach, one is not left wanting for more after a sophisticated experience like this.
After indulging in Italian bites at Cicchetti, head out to its terrace lounge, Mazzo, for a refreshing al fresco drink (or do this in reverse order) while enjoying the light, breezy ambience. Its rooftop location is an ideal escape from the frenetic buzz of the city below, and puts the switch between dinner and drinks at ease.
15/20 Mistral Rooftop Bar
Glittering city views await at Mistral Rooftop Bar on the 10th Floor of Raffles Makati. Formerly known as the Mirèio Terrace, this hotspot offers bespoke cocktails that allow one to indulge in local flavours. Try the Manila Fizz for a unique take on the Ramon Gin Fizz.
16/20 The Peak
Perched on the tallest skyscraper in BGC is a grill restaurant and multi-level bar that offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of the ripe city skyline. Fine wines and rare whiskies are for picking, and its penthouse-living vibe urges one to find a special space of their liking.
It comes as no surprise that there’s no shortage of Engkanto’s fine brews at Polilya, with Ian Paradies behind both concepts. This homey hangout at the heart of Poblacion has become a go-to for those looking for a relaxed party vibe.
18/20 Run Rabbit Run
With a nondescript entrance to what looks like an urban house, the Alice in Wonderland inspiration is immediately apparent in Run Rabbit Run. Down this rabbit hole, cocktails developed in collaboration with Singapore’s Bitters and Love, with flavours that range from fun and fragrant to saccharine sweet, are veritable conversation lubricants.
19/20 The Spirits Library
At the Spirits Library they say “every bottle tells a story.” And there are many stories to be told. Home to one of the vastest collections of spirits in the country, The Spirits Library also holds an extensive selection of books, bar tools, and antique glassware, which can be purchased from its retail shop called Curio Cabinet.
20/20 Yes Please
Those retired from the club scene but not quite done with nights out will find that Yes Please was made just for them. The lounge’s ‘90s theme has recently been revamped with a new drinks menu inspired by iconic films from that decade. Choose Dazed and Confused for a drink that’s pleasantly bitter and light.
If you are looking for the best places to dine, check out Philippine Tatler's best picks: The Top 20 Best Restaurants In The Philippines This 2020.