During the day, Makati is the capital of business in the Philippines. But once the sun goes down and office hours come to a close, it reveals a buzzing nightlife scene and breathtaking Manila skyline. Here are the best places in Makati to unwind after a long day.
Coffee shop by day and bar by night, The Curator is the second Filipino bar to place in the esteemed 50 Best Bars in Asia list. Tucked into the backroom of the Cyrano Wine Bar, this intimate haunt features a bar framed with 19th-century salvaged wood. The Curator has its own ‘little black book’, which is a list of loyal patrons, their choice of drink and specifications as to how each cocktail is made.
Alcohol by Volume (or ABV, as it is fondly known by locals) is a cosy speakeasy bar in the heart of Makati. This hidden gem can be found inside a burger restaurant named The Lazy Bastard, resting behind a large, wooden sliding door. An antique elevator carries guests to a dimly-lit, elegant secret lounge, reminiscent of the roaring ’20s. Once inside, ask for ‘the Bible’ – their hugely extensive drinks menu. Relish in their classic cocktails such as Hemingway’s Daquiri, which mixes white rum, maraschino liqueur, lime and grapefruit juice for a refreshing tipple. ABV’s Lester Ligon was also voted 2018 Diageo’s World Class Philippines Bartender of the Year.
This chic lounge is inspired by The Great Gatsby, with lush black and gold Art Deco furnishings wide windows that overlook the gorgeous Ayala Triangle gardens below. In good weather, make reservations at the al fresco dining area for a selection of handcrafted cocktails. The refreshing sangria – a Spanish-inspired punch with red wine, orange juice, brandy and chopped fruit – is a good way to start.
This trendy warehouse-style club caters to young partygoers in search of a night filled with music and dancing. It may take a bit of effort to find it inside the La Fuerza compound, but it’s worth the trip. Don’t expect the run of the mill Top 40 hits here – Black Market’s DJs play everything from funk to techno and Afrobeats. You’ll be glad to know there are unlimited drinks between midnight to 3am. If you’re spent from all that dancing, a speakeasy lounge bar called Finders Keepers nearby is the perfect place to relax. Then line your stomach at the shipping-container-turned-kitchen Joe’s Meat Shack, which serves sizzling hot dogs, cheese steak sandwiches and burgers.
Decked with glamorous interiors that live up to its name, Royal is kitted out with state of the art light and sound systems that make every night here a full-on production. The venue is open seven days a week and keeps people dancing until 5am, even on Sundays! This club is best enjoyed in groups, offering guests the choice of VIP sections near the dancefloor or overlooking the entire club on the mezzanine level. Make sure to inquire ahead, as there are daily theme nights with some of the best DJs in the country.
This sports bar is situated right in the middle of Makati, boasting large-screen TVs that play major league games. The bar is a familiar haunt for local motorcycle clubs, and also houses its own pool table if you’re up for a friendly match. The local beer is relatively cheap, with huge and tasty portions of bar chow (opt for the popular grilled steaks if you’re hungry). Four nights a week (Wednesdays-Saturdays), there’s live music from the best homegrown rock ‘n’ roll bands in the country.
The Blind Pig takes its name from the slang term for a speakeasy bar during the American Prohibition era. They credit their success to the advice of a bartender consultant from Milk & Honey, an award-winning cocktail bar with locations in New York and London. If you’ve got the budget to spare, make a reservation for a quiet night with your amour, complete with sultry jazz music in the background. Illuminated by candles and a dimly lit chandelier, the Blind Pig upholds a strict code of etiquette: flash photography and smoking are not permitted and voices should be kept down. This is also a neat place to go if you’re travelling on your own for some alone time. All guests must ask permission from the bartender if they’d like to be introduced to another patron for a chat.
Two bright red doors lead you to this new addition along Poblacion, Makati. Run Rabbit Run offers cocktails that are influenced by Southeast Asian ingredients: their signature drink the ‘Jessica Rabbit’ consists of bourbon, lime, and lemon oleo saccharum, rosso infused with cloves and star anise. However it’s their take on the famous Filipino dessert halo-halo – or ‘mix-mix’ – that steals the show. Traditionally, the dessert features candied fruit topped with crushed ice and purple yam ice cream. Run Rabbit Run’s version infuses rum, bourbon, coconut nectar, tapioca, and sweet beans. The best way to eat this sweet concoction is to head to their rooftop deck and ‘mix-mix’ it into a colourful slush: a boozy delight.
Alamat is one of the best venues in Manila for local craft beers. This funky bar carries 12 beers on tap that change during the week, ranging from Wheat to Double IPA. To complement your ice-cold pint, choose from a wide selection of savoury Filipino pulutan (beer snacks) and a selection of skewered meats. A highlight is the sinuglaw (grilled barbecue pork topped with tuna ceviche), or their adobo-style chicken wings paired with a pako salad that comes with seaweed, chopped tomatoes and salted duck eggs. Remember to check Alamat’s online schedule for a sampling of top local live bands.
Run by a former sommelier, Dr. Wine carries an impressive selection of 150 types of wine. Together with his wife Eva, owner Vince Landais transformed this 100-year-old wooden house in the center of Poblacion into an elegant wine bar, with communal long tables to encourage people to make new friends. Dr. Wine offers an array of imported cheeses and European-style cold cuts to pair with their drinks. The husband and wife team also own the Kartel rooftop cocktail bar, which offers breathtaking views of Manila.