16 November, 2015on
Metro Manila loves its alcohol, no doubt about it. But while the city remains a big beer lover — not surprising, as it’s one of the cheapest cities in the world to get beer — it’s refreshing to see our taste expand and grow beyond the usual bottle. This year, Metro Manila saw a lot of speciality bars opening their doors to eager drinkers. Below we list five:
1. The Bonbon Club
16 Tropical Palms, Gallardo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. Mon-Thur 4pm-12am, Fri 4pm-2am, Sat 6pm-2am
The Bonbon Club is a hidden bar dedicated to gin from all over the world. Mixing a casual yet sophisticated vibe, this newly opened intimate neighborhood hangout is furnished with couches and cozy nooks around a main, well-stocked bar. Staff dressed in white lab coats offer friendly service. Don’t let that easy, retro hipster ambience fool you — serious cocktails are in store here. Guests are encouraged to choose from their vinyl collection, making it all feel like you’re in a cool friend’s den. Another plus is the amazing cubano sandwiches next door.
What to order: A classic Negroni, reasonable at PHP300, is perfect for a weekday buzz, heady enough to make you loosen up after the work day, but just right so you’re still up early the next morning.
2. Mandalay Whisky and Cigars
100 C. Palanca Street Legazpi Village, Makati. +63 2 7285029. Mon-Sat 6pm-230am
Like a proper speakeasy, newly opened Mandalay is accessible through a passageway inside The Belle and Dragon, a gastropub with a full food menu and bar of about six beers on tap. Upon entry, Mandalay’s refined Asian inspired interiors will call for your attention more than Manila’s movers and shakers already there and enjoying a tipple. Sink yourself into one of the comfortable leather couches and peruse a menu that contains a list of a large number of Single Malt Scotches of both Scottish and Japanese origin. For good measure, Mandalay has several Cuban Cigars in its menu, too.
What to order: Have a wee dram of Scottish Single Malt Whisky (starts PHP360/shot). The knowledgeable wait staff will guide you through you the extensive list that has a Single Malt Scotch for every taste and budget. Pair your Scotch with a Cuban cigar or have an Asian Fusion appetizer from the food menu. The Peking Ducks Buns (PHP390) are incredible.
3. Bank Bar
G/F, RCBC Corporate Center, 25th Street Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. +63 2 5445776. Mon-Sat 5pm till late.
The Moment Group is taking the speakeasy concept to another level. Instead of having a restaurant as a front, guests will have to walk through a stockroom, inside a 7-11 to emerge into a marvelous lounge with an ultra chic clientele to boot. Bank, which opened only in September, is a full range bar that serves cocktails, spirits and beers. Everything about this space oozes elegance and class.
What to order: Have a personalized Gin and Tonic (starts PHP270) made tableside from a transportable bar trolley. Choose from different types of Gins, Tonics, herbs and other accompaniments. To go with your cocktail, choose some nibbles from the extensive food menu. Its chicaron bulakbak (PHP245) is heaven, while the Salted Egg Rock Shrimp (PHP 335) is insane.
4. Lit Manila
G/F Serendra, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. +639175100014. Mon-Sat 6pm-1:30am, Sun 4pm-12am
This small but super classy bar specializing in Japanese Whiskies only opened in March this year but already, it has most of Manila fixating on the drink. Whisky concierge Francis Tosei will gladly take you through more than a hundred different types of Whiskies whether blended or Single Malt. Seating is limited to the bar area and a couple of tables by the entrance. Low lighting and and music turned down low give Lit Manila a super exclusive and super relaxing vibe.
What to order: Try a Whisky Flight (starts PHP995) to get a sampling of four whiskies from different Japanese distilleries. For those who are not into this spirit, there are also cocktails, all of them excellent that would go well with a small bites menu.
Basement, 22 Jupiter St corner Galaxy Street, Bel-Air Makati. +639175201608. Mon-Sun 5pm till late
Enter a faux elevator and emerge into a 1920’s speakeasy style cocktail bar with dim copper lighting and an array of spirits that will blow your mind. ABV is serious about its spirits: there are more than twenty different types of Absinthe and Gin in their menu.
What to order: Have Diageo World Class Bartending Competition Finalist Kenneth Bandivas make you a bespoke cocktail based on what you fancy, or have some Absinthe (starts PHP260) served the traditional European way complete with all the accoutrement. After a night of heavy drinking head out to Lazy Bastard, by the entrance of the bar and have their famed Honey Parmesan Dog (PHP200).