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The best sports bars anticipate all that a consummate fan loves about a dive: large TV screens, good food and cold booze. Throw in a like-minded crowd who appreciates a good game and you've got a cozy dugout, regardless of which team you're cheering for. Here are the best ones in Manila:
1. Handlebar Bar and Grill
Address: 31 Polaris St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City
Tel. 898-2189, 898-1976
Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Sunday to Wednesday), 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. (Thursday to Sunday)
The lowdown: As the name hints, Handlebar is a sports enclave built primarily for bikers. The Mad Dog Motorcycle Club--a by-invitation-only club for Harley Davidson owners--call it home, but even the flimsiest of scooterists and pedestrians are welcome to enjoy the bar's sports slash rock n' roll atmosphere. One can catch rock veterans like The Jerks and Juan De La Cruz band alumni Wally Gonzales and Pepe Smith perform on Wednesdays to Fridays, while a multitude of large-screen LCD TVs showcase sports channels on weekends.
Must-order: Big John's Barby and porterhouse steaks, from P300 to P600
2. Heckle and Jeckle
Address: Villa Building, Jupiter St., Makati City
Tel. 890-6904, 895-1752
Open from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily
The lowdown: Heckle and Jeckle, named after the '50s cartoon characters, has been serving its yuppie and expat clientele for more than a decade now. And while anyone who is into billiards and watching live football, F1 and rugby games on its humongous projector screen has easily fallen for the bar's charms, people find themselves coming back not just to have fun, but also to sate their craving for authentic Indian cuisine--Heckle and Jeckle's specialty. The bar serves Filipino food as well, and it is said that our very own beef caldereta has become a favorite among their foreign patrons.
Must-order: Chicken Tika Masala, P250; Chicken Beef Vindaloo (hot curry), P195