My Rooftop Escape in Manila blogger Angelo Comsti spills the beans on his secret hangout.


( You'll rarely see me in bars because I believe that I had more than my fair share of it right after college. My recent travels though, have given me a renewed appreciation for it, specifically for those situated on a rooftop.


Just a stone's throw away from where I used to live in Sydney, Australia, is the Blu Bar on the 36th floor of Shangri-La Hotel, which offers a majestic view of the iconic Opera House and Harbor Bridge. In Madrid, Spain, the Azotea at the Circulo de Bellas Artes building has a row of daybeds, which always inspires one to stay longer than expected. There are lots of rooftop bars in Shanghai, China-many along Huangpu River, including M on the Bund where I had a really good pre-dinner martini composed of mango, coco rum, and lemongrass. I have a fascination, or rather, a weird fixation over these bars because of the lure of the scenic view, the diffusion of any noise, and creatively crafted concoctions by the bartenders.



It’s easy to relax with plush couches like this.


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Bar seating


We have quite a number of rooftop bars in the metro, like the Sky Deck View Bar in The Bayleaf Intramuros and the recently opened sky bar and lounge VU's on the 45th floor of Marco Polo Ortigas. But I have secretly been visiting one that's closer to home, one that's scarcely populated (all the better for selfish reasons).



A comfy spot to enjoy the scenery


View from the bar

Privato's Verona Bar is barely a month old and unlike other bars, it's kept modest: bare of innovative and high-end light and sound systems, walls kept neutral, and with only intricately designed sandstone tiles adorning one area. Dimly lit lamps and comfy couches accessorize the air-conditioned section of the bar. The space may be inviting, but it’s really the unobstructed view of the city at the al fresco area that you come for. It's a live feed of the goings-on around you, from nearby Kapitolyo to the skyscrapers that line the Taguig skyline on the far horizon. It's a beautiful view that you would want to soak up by sitting back and just relaxing. The only thing that would make things better are appetizers and drinks, of course, and Privato has got that covered.





Chicken Sate


The menu lists down bar chow favorites like Spicy Nuts (P110), Beef Salpicao (P350), Mushroom Al Ajillo (P200), and Spicy Gambas (P400). The Cheese Sticks (P130) will have you snacking one after another, while the Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip (P300) will make you forego the utensils and lick the sauce right off your fingers. These are dishes that are served straight up, no fancy gimmicks or unnecessary fusions. The Chicken Sate (P280) comes as skewered and grilled chicken pieces that can be dipped in a sweet peanut sauce, while the Taquitos (P250) are homemade mini tacos with all the usual suspects-ground beef, lettuce, and a tomato salsa.





The bar is stocked with a good variety of liquor brands, such as the ever-reliable San Miguel line of beers, Chivas, Jack Daniels and J. Walker whiskeys, and Old World red and white wines. Classic drinks are available: Margarita, Mojito, Gin Tonic, and Kamikaze. There's only one signature cocktail as of the moment, the Mangorita, which is a mix of lambanog and green mango. More are in the works.


Whenever I need a breather or a momentary escape, this is where I go as it has the things that will help clear my head-and I'm not just referring to alcohol.


Verona Bar is on the 23/F Privato Hotel, 706 Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City (717-5888); open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monday to Sunday.

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