For a small city, some might think that there’s not much nightlife in Iloilo, Philippines, but Ilonggos definitely knows how to chill. There is Smallville district, for one, which is a one-stop nightlife venue in the heart of the city. Bars have been sprouting all over the city in recent years, catering even to business travellers. From chill-out nights for professionals to young party animals, or a place to grab a drink or two with friends, here are Iloilo’s best bars.
Straight Up Bar
Bar, Cocktail Bar, American, Philippine, European, $$$
Al fresco area of Straight Up Bar | Courtesy of Seda Atria
Straight Up Bar is the in-house rooftop bar of Seda Atria, one of the top hotels in Iloilo. Guests can pick between its indoor or al fresco areas with city views. Located at Atria District, one of the many food areas in Iloilo, Straight Up Bar is the place to end a night of good food. This bar is highly preferred not just by in-house guests of the hotel, but also by those who want to enjoy a drink without the noise.
Freddy's Kitchen + Bar
Bar, Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, American, German, $$$
Formerly called Freddy’s Bar & Restaurant, Freddy’s Kitchen + Bar stands as one of the pioneers in Iloilo City. As a restaurant, it is famous for their baby back ribs and German sausages. Speaking of which, there is no better way to pair a meaty meal than with a glass of beer. Freddy’s has a good following especially for a certain generation in the city. Tucked in a hotel away from the nightlife hub of Iloilo, Freddy’s is like a hidden gem in Iloilo City. If you want to be away from the crowd, this is the place to go.
The Office Pantry Curated Drinks
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Wine Bar, Wine Seller, European, Healthy, North American, $$$
Another chill-out venue without the crowd is The Office Pantry. Located in a mall’s dining strip, it can be hard to spot this place at times, as there’s just a small entryway with a minimalist signage. Inside, this wine bar has a raw, industrial finish with bottles of whiskey and wines on display. The Office Pantry, as its name suggests, caters to after-office nights out over wine and other alcoholic drinks. Try their Rosé or Chilean wines. Different beers are also available, even Korean soju. If you want to enjoy more food over your drinks, The Office Pantry is sandwiched between a steakhouse and a ‘healthy food’ restaurant.
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Fusion, Steakhouse, Philippine, none
Still on the same location as The Office Pantry, Spicy Elements caters to those who like bar and restaurants – to enjoy a few drinks right after dinner without moving to a new venue. Spicy Elements is the only place in Iloilo that offers authentic Bicolano dishes (known for their spiciness) like laing and bicol express. For drinks, must-tries are beergarita and bull’s eye. Live band performances can be enjoyed on selected weekdays.
JLK Music Bar
Bar, Asian, European, North American, Philippine, $$$
If you’re an 80s baby by birth or by preference, you will love JLK Music Bar. Its in-house DJ only plays 80s music from Cyndi Lauper to Prince. The whole bar is fogged with cool blue lights, and what is an 80s music bar without that iconic disco ball? JLK Music bar is a great place to catch up with friends as well as enjoy music, drinks, and nightlife to stoke that 80s nostalgia.