10 nightspots to be spotted in in the Metro

10 nightspots to be spotted in in the Metro

From grungy dive bars to secret speakeasies, to a flamboyant nightspot especially made for the LGBT community—not that it’s not open to all—here’s the it list for Manila’s party-loving species

Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

It’s a bar that will definitely take you to places you didn’t think you’d go.

With Agimat’s dim, forest-inspired interiors, delicious food, and creative cocktails, you’ll be transported to a mythical place every time you go. Their menu is seasonal and highlights
a certain part of the Philippines each time. Every item on their menu is carefully plated and presented, and comes with a unique story. To make your visit extra memorable, order the Ritwal ng Agimat cocktail, which is served with a special method of pouring the liquor.
Average cost per person: Php500 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/Agimatbar

Today x Future

Located in Cubao, this bar would be hard to miss if not for the crowds of people that pool by its nondescript entrance at peak hours. The bar’s not big, and its interiors have an unpolished quality about them, but that’s only part of its charm. With music that ranges from 90s to dance pop, this is one bar where the dance floor will be hard to resist.
Average cost per person: Php300 for drinks; Facebook.com/todayxfuture

Nectar

This nightclub in BGC has become a safe haven for Metro Manila’s LGBT community—though anyone can come. With high ceilings, delicious cocktails, and great music, anyone
can have a fun time here. If you can, head there on the last Wednesday of the month, which is when Nectar hosts a drag competition called the Drag Cartel, with drag performers
battling it out with lip-synch performances of popular songs.
Average cost per person: Php500 for drinks; Facebook.com/nectarofmanila

Lan Kwai Speakeasy

Inspired by Hong Kong nightlife, Lan Kwai Speakeasy is hidden behind a Chinese restaurant. The bar itself is like a Wong Kar Wai film come to life, with red neon lights and murals. The
Hong Kong inspiration goes all the way to the cocktails, many of which are colorful creations by mixologist Carlos Munarriz. Try the Designated Survivor, a refreshing, citrusy cocktail
that’s served in a fishbowl and comes with an extra shot, perfect for sharing.
Average cost per person: Php500 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/lankwaispeakeasy

Nokal

Craft beer, cocktails, classic bar chow, and an overall energetic vibe are what make NoKal a must in the Poblacion nightlife tour. With three levels offering something different, NoKal caters to any kind of night-out mood. If you’re up for some comfort food, you can stay on the first floor; and if you’re ready to dance, mingle, and party, you can head up to the second level. If it’s a chill drinking session you’re looking for, go to the breezy rooftop beer garden
where you can knock back some craft beers over good conversation.
Average cost per person: Php400 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/nokal.mnl

Coconut Club

It would have been a seaside bar if BGC had a beach.

With the Coconut Club’s tropical interiors and a bit of imagination, you can easily pretend that the ocean is right outside the bar’s door. The bar serves up fruity cocktails to go with the
tropical theme like the Mai Tais and Piña Coladas with the Coconut Club twist. Even better are the liquor-laced slushies at only Php120. Head there from 2pm to 7pm to catch their Happy Hour, where the slushies are available for only Php95.
Average cost per person: Php300 for drinks; Facebook.com/raintreecoconutclubph

78-53-86

This secret vinyl bar in White Plains, Katipunan is meant for sitting down and listening to only the owner’s massive vinyl collection. The owner curates playlists with his vinyls everyday, so you can count on discovering a lot of new (old) music. It’s the perfect place to go to if you simply want to enjoy your alone time. The bar doesn’t serve food, though they do serve truffle popcorn.
Php300 for drinks; Facebook. com/785386whiteplainswest

Route 196

Route 196 is the ultimate go-to if you want to sample the sounds of some of the best local artists in the industry today, from the underground independent musicians, to the more
established ones. With live music and affordable drinks, this is one place where you can kick back, drink in your surroundings—and perhaps befriend fellow music-lovers.
Average cost per person: Php400 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/Route196Rocks

YOI

This bar is a new addition to the famous Poblacion nightlife district. By day, it’s a restaurant where you can sample an interesting fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian food, but by night it turns into a slick bar that serves Suntory and all kinds of sake. If you really love your sake, they serve unli-sake for Php700/head every Tuesday and Wednesday nights—but another great time to go there would be on a Friday, when local indie artists have live performances.
Average cost per person: Php500 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/yoipblcn

20:20

With flickering lights, a high ceiling, and wall to wall windows, this bar on Chino Roces in Makati is inviting from the start. Once you settle in, you’ll be drawn to their food, interesting drinks, the relaxed and intimate atmosphere, and of course, the music (sometimes it’s an indie band, other times, it’s an underground DJ). Their menu is mostly comfort food with a gourmet twist, filling bar chow that will help you keep drinking all those cocktails throughout the night. Their Pork Belly Tacos in particular, are a must try, and go well with pretty much any of the bar’s signature drinks. A bonus: right next to the bar is a spot where you can head to when you’re done chilling and find yourself in the mood to bust a move to some serious techno.
Average cost per person: Php1,000 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/2020bar

Dash insiders
Who is Tabitha Rice?

Tabitha is a bartender, occasional club promoter, and model.

Who is Joshua Gonzales?
Joshua is an art director at a top ad agency by day, and occasionally DJs in several party hotspots.

Who is Andrew Florentino?
Andrew Florentino, also known by his stage name The Bgnr, is a music producer and songwriter who has performed in various venues all over Metro Manila

Words by Amelie Llaga

Insane and intense city explorations

Insane and intense city explorations

We spoke with the man who built a reputation scaling towering structures no seemingly sane man ever would: urban explorer Benjo Cabarro.

 

 

Urban Exploration, for me, is to find and share the beauty in things that are uncommon to the common man. I was in a dark place before and a crazy friend of mine invited me to my first mission. I saw the light and the rest is history.

A mission is our own version of a road trip. We prepare for it just like you would on any other road trip: charge our cameras, pack food, water, extra clothes, and extra batteries. We also make sure we have movies to watch and music to listen to while we shoot.

I like watching the city from above and at night. It’s peaceful and the perspective change is really life-enhancing; you get to see that your problems are not so big after all.

Three things to expect from doing urban exploration: Dirt, Dust and Death. There is nothing else in play at that moment except your life. It’s beautiful really; in these moments, you again have a life-enhancing realization, that living is truly wonderful. The sooner you accept this, the better the experience will become.

Urban explorers for inspiration: James Kingston (@thejameskingston); Lam Yock (@yock7). These guys are legends!

My most memorable mission was when I finally climbed the tallest building in the Philippines! Photo by Benjo Cabarro

My go-to gadget for my missions: GoPro. I tried bringing a DSLR once, but it was too bulky.

I love the Makati Skyline so much! The street and city colors at night are perfect especially when you’re shooting the Poblacion area. The purples and magentas that illuminate the buildings around it are sooo pretty.

On of my most memorable missions was… when a massive mist engulfed my on a rooftop in Ortigas. I was taking photos and videos of the storm clouds and lightning play in the Antipolo Side, when from down south, a massive body of mist came rolling in. Everything turned white. It was eerie and magical at the same time. I was very blessed to have captured it on video because you don’t see that everyday in Manila.

Would you dare walk this plank?

My most daring mission was in another Ortigas mission where I “walked the plank.” It took me two years to prepare for it. It was utterly mental and required a lot of willpower.

My 5 best missions in the Philippines: Climbing a TV station transmitter tower; climbing the tallest building in at Century City; climbing the tallest building in Makati City; climbing the tallest building in the Philippines, and walking the scariest “plank.” 

I’m looking forward to experiencing the Hong Kong roofs! It’s a massive urban jungle and cannot wait to explore its highs and lows.

I prefer heights, but urban exploration can be done anywhere. We’ve even explored a war tunnel. It’s just easier for me to meditate when I’m up high because of the tranquil and serene atmosphere.

The TV Tower

If you want to try urban exploration, make sure you know what you’re doing and prepare for all the risks. I’ve never really gotten into trouble during missions because of that. 

A sound mind and a strong body are definitely required. I cannot count the number of times I was able to get out of a pretty life-threatening situation because my body and mind were strong enough. I work out my whole body at the gym every week. I practice parkour on weekends, though not as religiously as I once did, and I meditate when I can.

Who is Benjo Cabarro?
Notably the best urban explorer in the Philippines. He’s a professional photographer who’s known for his urbanscape photos among many things.  Benjocabarro.com.

Interview: Andrew Del Rosario   Photos: Benjo Cabarro

Up close and personal with celebrated Manila bartender David Ong

Up close and personal with celebrated Manila bartender David Ong

David bartends at his very own Oto music bar. Photo by Locale Magazine

We spent some time chatting with the man behind the only Philippine bar to make it in Asia’s 50 Best Bars by William Reed Business Media, and Edsa Beverage Design Studio, this year, on things like stories on his hip Makati music-bar, Manila restaurants and chefs he adores, and his go-to comfort food places.

We wanted a space where we could hang out and listen to good music thus the concept of Oto came up.It’s designed for a great listening experience, complete with turntables, speakers, vinyl records, amplifiers and a curated playlist.

Poblacion in Makati is a young neighborhood, thriving with small businesses, and we wanted to add to its diversity by serving proper coffee, good cocktails and music.

The food and beverage at Oto are intended to be experience-driven and conversation-driven. We try to adjust to what our guests want so they’ll get the best drink possible.

Oto’s menu is made of things that reminded me of my childhood or family. We have this drink called #ReligionBlack named after my sister Tina’s Isntagram handle @religionblack. Our Hey Brian, a Wild Turkey bourbon infused with grapefruit juice and tamarind syrup, is named after a regular customer.

My rule of thumb for cocktails is to make it complex yet simple and relatable enough once you taste it.

I am a very easy drinker although I have my preferences and am open to trying new things. When I drink, I’m open to what the bartenders would want to serve me. I still go for classic cocktails whether it’s an old fashioned, mojito, or a whisky sour. I don’t like eating while drinking.

Resto-bars in Manila that I like:
Toyo Eatery
12/10
Rambla

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery’s Mac and Cheese


My go to restaurants in Manila:
Toyo Eatery
Mecha Uma
Wild our Cafe + Bakery
Cafe Juanita
Sarsa

On regular days, I eat at:
Tokyo Tokyo
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
KFC for their chicken with a full cup of gravy, my comfort food
Hen Lin for siomai
Food Channel for shawarma

Chefs I admire are Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery and Bruce Ricketts of Mecha Uma. Chef Jordy whips Filipino-inspired cuisine at Toyo Eatery, where his staff of chefs and cooks are Filipino. Chef Bruce is ingredient-focused—I always leave his restaurant mindblown as he always does things out of the box.

I never really liked clubbing but if I’m in that kind of situation, I always end up being the guy with a bottle making people drink, observing everyone, and caring for those who can’t manage.

If I weren’t a barista or entrepreneur, I would probably be a banker or a hotelier.

Who is David Ong?
David Ong is the co-owner of music lounge-cum-bar Oto, e Curator Co ee and Cocktails, the only Philippine bar to make it in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars by William Reed Business Media, and Edsa Beverage Design Studio.

Interview by Jonalyn Fortuno

Revolt from trend and grab your beer

Revolt from trend and grab your beer


Fred’s Revolucion is the only dive bar in historic Escolta, Manila, and it’s what you’d imagine a neighborhood pub to be—nondescript on the outside; unfinished, gritty, with tin roof and plywood-clad on the inside. A couple of craft beer brands are on the rafter, while plywood shelves display imported and local liquors.

The decor is eclectic—a mix of items accumulated by owner Jose Enrique Soriano from his travels and gifts from family and regulars throughout the years. In between Japanese posters, stickers, and beer cartons on the walls are a photo of Che Guevarra by the bar, Philippine and rainbow flags by tap beer dispensers, and other intriguing pieces. Music is diverse.

The pub isn’t intimidating at all so if you’re a newbie on, say, craft beer, you’ll not feel alienated nor judged in case you end up being
a bit inquisitive. If half of Fred’s charm goes to good food and drinks, the pub’s honest, casual, cool vibe could rightfully take the other half.

Eat                                     

Try any of
Fred’s specials: fleishchkaese, German meatloaf, Mexican fried rice, salsa, and fried egg; Fish, Fish and Chips, batter on a bed of fries and fried dilis; sesame seed tuna in poke salad dressing; grilled tuna belly in peanut sauce with crispy bagoong alamang (fried shrimp paste); and the savory salted egg wings, chicken wings coated in salted egg, chili, and olive oil.

Drink

Ranges from serious beers: Beer No. 1, which has a citrusy Pinatubo’s Magma Bock for a more intense note, or the smoky and hoppy Brainstorm IPA.

The basics
About Php250 (USD5) per person
Craft beers are from Php115
Fredsrevolucion.com

Words: Jonalyn Fortuno
Photos: Pauline Dycoco

Eat (and drink) the 80s & the 90s

Eat (and drink) the 80s & the 90s

We are saying “Yes Please” to this new place in hip The Fort, which is like it’s cut for the Gen X. From 80s and the 90s inspired decor to great cocktails named after the era’s icons, the newest concept bar by celebrity vlogger Erwan Heussaff will definitely, as Queen’s song goes, “rock you!”

 

Maverick cocktail, also tagged as the Perfect Wingman

Celebrity food vlogger Erwan Heussaff’s newest concept bar, Yes Please in hip Uptown Bonifacio in The Fort, is putting a playful spin on retro fun, specifically on all things 80s and 90s.

Yes Please celebrates the things we love about that decade. It’s alive with neon lights, pastel-colored murals, and sofas upholstered in a mishmash of velvet and floral.

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