This intriguing bar with an aura of prohibition-era speakeasy is where you can learn about AND enjoy classic cocktails.
If you try and Google this place now, you’ll see that they open at 7pm. Do the same search a few months ago (October 2019, to be specific), however, and you’ll see Google saying The Spirits Library is “permanently closed”.
It’s no ploy, but it does give this spirits/cocktail bar an aura of mystery. It’s a place where you can enjoy either a classic or have one made for you with the hundreds of spirits they have.
It has an aura of a prohibition-era speakeasy without it having to be hidden, since it’s located along Guerrero Street in Poblacion, just a few buildings away from the often-packed Makati Avenue.
The name is no misnomer, with shelf upon shelf of spirits that would make your uncle’s collection feel tiny. It has a feel that’s synonymous with a full-scale library, as the winding staircase and the rolling library ladder give you a most pleasing “hello”. Follow said staircase upstairs and you’ll be treated to a patio of sorts, complete with couches and high tables that make you feel like you’re in a Great Gatsby-themed room.
If you want to splurge a bit more, ask how you can get into the “Detention Room”, where owner Dr. Lee Watson and his crew of mixologists whip up cocktails from forgotten times.
No food here at The Spirits Library, but they do have some of the best mixologists around. Give them a flavor profile and they’ll whip up something that matches what you like, or ask them for a list of classic cocktails.
If you’re looking for something more spirit-forward, ask to be placed in the “Detention Room,” where you can enjoy a cocktail made from Dr. Watson’s personal collection of spirits.
There, you can get concoctions like The Baguio Skin, a simple yet unusual concoction that comes from the summer escape that is Baguio City; and an old Army-Navy Club Manila special, Adios Amigos, made with rum, lemon juice, sugar, and Blanco vermouth, garnished with a lemon peel.
Photos: Andrew Del Rosario