Bar By EAST
Lamp Quarters, Mayor Gil Fernando Avenue, Marikina City
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Fridays to Sundays, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) Marikina City's moniker as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines is slowly sharing the limelight with its growing food scene. Yet while there are a ton of cozy spots to eat at at this quieter side of the Metro, there isn't really a popping bar scene. In fact, people here often find themselves hopping on to the next town just to have a night out. You'll typically find Marikeños at Eastwood, Tomas Morato, BGC, or Makati when they want to party or drink—but we've finally found an under-the-radar bar right in Marikina that answers that need. Right near the city center, in the food complex Lamp Quarters, is a hole-in-the-wall that serves cocktails and dranks that'll give any famous drinking spot a run for its money.
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Check out this hidden bar in Marikina called Bar by EAST:
Oddly enough, we've been to Lamp Quarters many times over the years, but we've never noticed this hidden gem. Located at one of the city's busiest food districts, you'd think more people would know about this spot, yet despite being around for over a year, only a handful of people know that there is even a bar in Lamp Quarters. Thankfully so, really.
You should know that this bar is not so easy to find. In fact, outside its operating hours, it's actually an office. Yup, the lucky employees of the Emerging Architects Studio (EAST) have every employee's dream office amenity—an after-hours bar where they can blow off some steam. Lucky for us, when the clock strikes 5 p.m., we can also partake in the different tipples and mixes of Bar By EAST.
If you do decide to search for it (which you should), you're in for a great night. Behind the industrial-looking sliding black door, this cozy minimalist haven it is decked out in a Scandinavian urban look. Don't expect a large space with room to dance and loud music thumping about. Nope, you're not getting that here. Instead, what you'll find is a cozy space with some tables, decent bar space, and even a record player that plays music at a decent volume, just enough to bop to your favorite tracks but at the same time, still have a decent conversation with the people around you sans the strained shouting. It's a smartly dressed no-frills spot that does the job, and does it well.
Now to the main event, the drinks! There are a lot—and we mean, a whole lot— of drink options available at the bar. From straight-from-the-bottle pours to inventive mixes and bespoke drinks, if you can think it, they can make it for you. Say you want a stunnin' Negroni Sbagliato with some Prosecco on it, you've got it, or if you're not sure what you want but have a flavor profile in mind, the lovely bar staff at Bar By EAST can whip up something that suits you. We sampled some of their specialty drinks, and we just got to applaud the team at Bar By EAST because their drinks are unique, pleasing, and perfectly intoxicating. Whether you've got a taste for the strong mixes, the sweet and fruity kind, or even the cooling and refreshing drinks, they've got you covered.
A drink you must not skip when at Bar By EAST is the Bear By East (P350), a good starter as it is very sweet and deceptively alcoholic. Bear by East is a mix of gummy bear-infused vodka, lemon-lime soda, and citrus. We'd liken the drink to an adult version of the ice popsicles we used to have when we were kids. They're that good. You won't be able to taste the alcohol at all, but if you drink one too many, this cocktail will have you feeling woozy in no time.
Another must-try tipple is the Litchi (P380), a lychee-infused mix of gin and vodka, Aperol, jasmine syrup, and orange bitters. This fruity drink is a stronger mix than the Bear by East, but still keeps things easygoing. Fruity, refreshing, and with a kick, this drink is for those who want to relieve their thirst while at the same time start feeling the burn from the alcohol. Pro tip: You might not want to eat the lychees in one big bite as these lychees have also been infused with alcohol. Yup, these innocent-looking toppers have been spiked. Fair warning not to just gobble it down.
Shots anyone? Ditch the usual tequila and hard liquor shots with this off-the-menu concoction. Dubbed Glitter, we have to say this is one of the best shots we've had in a while. Think drinking an entire galaxy in one shot. Made with a mix of liqueur with a little pizzazz brought to you by the completely edible but mesmerizing edible glitter. The drink is so smooth and suave that you barely feel a burn. Think like downing a shot of vanilla liqueur. It's so yummy, sweet, and innocent, but three shots in, you'll start seeing stars—or maybe it's just the edible glitter?
Now if your tummies start grumbling, note that as of writing, Bar By EAST only serves dranks—but you're more than welcome to bring in food from elsewhere in Lamp Quarters. If you've stayed past the other establishments closing time, know that Bar By EAST is cool with you ordering takeout via Grab and just munching away at their spot for as long as you order drinks in-house, of course.
And if you're finally ready to call it a night, Bar By EAST might just have that coffee buzz you need for final call. Enter the Ethiopian Legend (P400).
This cocktail is a mix of vodka, vanilla syrup, Kahlua, citrus, chocolate bitters, soda water, and cold brew coffee. Yup, if you're looking for one last drink with a bit of a pick-me-up, this one is for you. With this mix, you're not only getting the smooth burn from the vodka, but you also get earthy, bitter notes from the coffee. An excellent drink to end the night, right?
With its cozy atmosphere and delightful tipples, Bar By EAST has become one of our favorite spots to hang out at. You'd think a place like this wouldn't exist in the sleepy Marikina valley, and if it did, you might feel a little bit overwhelmed at how exclusive it'll be but Bar By EAST is the complete opposite of that. You've got friendly bartenders, an A+ ambiance, and bangin' cocktails. What more could you want from your local bar? If you're looking for a spot to chill with your friends while having some drinks, this is the perfect place for you.