Manila is a fantastic place for a night out. With the many different cities that make up the metro and the various interesting neighborhoods within these cities, there is bound to be at least one area that’s just right for the kind of night you’re looking for. From hole-in-the-wall music joints to glitzy, high-end clubs, this urban jungle’s your oyster.
Bar hopping is one of the best ways to spend a night. But driving between places is really a big nuisance in Manila. The perfect solution is to find an area crammed with nightlife hotspots, allowing you the convenience of fuss-free bar hopping.
This barangay (small district) in Makati is the epitome of a pub-crawl neighbourhood. In this area, chill watering holes stand shoulder-to-shoulder with dance hall taprooms bursting with life and fantastic little food joints, the scrumptious bites from which taste even better after several beers.
Some favorites are El Chupacabra and Tambai on Felipe Street. The usually-packed former is a Mexican-themed hang-out that serves affordable drinks and acclaimed tacos, while the latter, right across the street, is a Yakitori snackhouse that also serves beer and delicious Filipino street food. Other food-stop faves are Kite, which serves heaping plates of biryani, and Señor Pollo, famous for its Latin American chicken.
Another popular street in the area is Don Pedro, where more great bars are lined up. There’s Alamat, a Filipino pub and deli that concocts tasty Filipino-themed cocktails; next door is Z Hostel, a stylish new hostel topped with a booming roof-deck bar overlooking Manila; and then there’s nearby Pura Vida, a Costa Rican reggae lounge, frequented by those who want to let loose to fun, upbeat dance hall music.
This neighbourhood is loved for its cool, unpretentious vibe and its array of affordable hubs that offer good drinks and even better food.
Foodie haven by day, pub-crawl street by night, Tomas Morato Avenue has long been a Quezon City go-to. The long road is studded with restaurants and bars, and so are its surrounding streets. Here, you will find beer pong bars like Cable Car and En Route, and large, laid-back bars for casual drinking and bar bites, like The Beech and Tides Grill & Bistro.
Intersecting Tomas Morato is another avenue called Timog. Here you’ll find more bars and restaurants, but many people come for the karaoke. If you want to spend an evening with your friends, belting the night away, Timog Avenue is lined with one karaoke bar after another.
After a long night out, many coffee shops and food stops remain open in the area for that sobering night cap before heading home.
On the corner of 9th Avenue and 36th Street, in the highly urbanized area of Bonifacio Global City (known as BGC), is The Palace. This nightlife structure was the brainchild of the group behind some of the metro’s best clubs. The Palace hosts a number of establishments, each with a different energy and feel. You can either stick to one you like or go on a Palace escapade.
First is the most relaxed of all, Cafe Naya. The interiors are inspired by the tropics and the food is coastal and Mediterranean. Its refreshing dishes are the perfect palate cleansers after one too many drinks.
Next up is The Brewery. This two-floor establishment serves their own signature brews and hearty pub grub. On some nights you can pair your beer with good live music on the 2nd floor. The cool, relaxed atmosphere of this place almost makes you forget about the vigorous dance clubs next door.
For a livelier time, there’s Valkyrie, Revel, and The Pool Club. Valkyrie is a massive nightclub with pumping music and spacious dance floors. Revel is its more luxurious counterpart. For a more casual nightclub vibe, The Pool Club is your best bet. The dress code is more relaxed and a swimming pool stretches down its center for anyone up for some cooling summer fun.
The antithesis of this triad is the newcomer, cocktail bar Yes Please. For anyone tired of the crazy club scene, this relaxed hideout is all about lounging around with good company and sipping handsomely curated drinks.
Cubao X or Cubao Expo was designed for the quirky, the artistic, the eclectic, the hipster, the indie – you get the picture. A former Marikina shoe compound, Cubao X is now a hodgepodge of vintage shops, laid-back dives, cheap eats, skate shops, music stores, and poetry cafes. A sleepier area in the daytime, this neighbourhood comes to life at night, when its regulars flock to classic favorites like Fred’s Revolución for some post-work happy juice.
Wander around the multifaceted area and you’ll be sure to have personal favorites by the end of the night. Keep an eye out for the area’s many events too. Musicians and spoken-word poets frequent this alternative hub, and independent films are also screened in its shops. This place is perfect for anyone who wants a taste of Manila’s underground scene.
Another evening destination in the BGC area is the restro-and-bar-filled outdoor strip of Burgos Circle. This is a great place for dinner and after-dinner drinks because of the sheer number of establishments. For those who want to drink and dine, popular choices are Big Bad Wolf and The Bowery. Though slightly more pricey than the casual neighbourhoods of Poblacion and Cubao, the quality of the menu items at these places does not disappoint. For more drinks, head on over to The Distillery or Rue Bourbon for an extensive list of beers and spirits.
For something new and exciting, just a ten-minute walk from Burgos Circle is a snazzy speakeasy called Bank Bar. Deep within a 7-11 storage room hides an upscale lounge serving interesting cocktails and bar chow that you’ll want to come back for.