Insomniac’s Guide to Manila

From Quezon City to Makati, 26 spots that never sleep. SPOT.ph hangs out with the night owls of the city.

It’s 3 a.m. and you’re not ready to call it a night. Many clubs and bars follow the 3 a.m. curfew, while other crowds evaporate by 2 a.m. Where does one party on? I consulted fellow insomniacs from north to south, and here’s what they had to say.

Quezon City

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Somethin’ Fishy
Keywords: food, booze
Eastwood City Cyberpark, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Bagumbayan, Libis
Telephone number:
421-6412, 421-641
Operating Hours:
24 hours

A haven for call center employees, Somethin’ Fishy’s breakfast buffet is worth every peso. For P119, eat as much as you can from 12 midnight to 10 a.m. daily (no leftovers)! Opt for the P165 price tag to get a bottomless drink as well. "Other than people who want to pig out on their sumptuous breakfast buffet, you’ll also see groups looking for a place to get booze and pulutan," said Jackie Cabrieto, 28, corporate business facilitator. "It’s one of the cheapest places in Eastwood for beer and food." Sounds fishy? No, it’s the real deal!

Mister Kabab
Keywords: food
West Ave. (near Kowloon house)
Operating Hours:
24 hours

Unlike other short-lived shawarma businesses, Mister Kabab has stayed afloat for years. In QC, it’s where clubbers go after a night of debauchery. "We’ve already spent our money on beer, so this is where my friends and I get our fill of kebab without going broke," said Elaine Lirio, 20, student. Their service is a bit slow, but don’t fret. You’ll get your fill of Persian goodness for less than P200.

Mogwai
Keywords: food, booze, chill out, movies
Unit 62-63 Cubao Expo, General Romulo Ave., Araneta Center, Cubao
Telephone Number:
913-1060
Website:
mogwaifilm.multiply.com
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 2 a.m.

"This place is a haven for artists," said Doj Roxas, 26, architect. You’ll find the likes of photographers, designers and painters chilling out in this rustic spot. The first floor is a café/restaurant that serves diner food, native coffee and alcoholic drinks. The second floor has a cinema room where you’ll get your dose of Hollywood classics, indie flicks, art films and local masterpieces. The best part is: no censorships!

77 Café
Keywords: food, booze, chill out
51 Kamuning Road
Telephone Number:
410-4387
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 3 a.m.

If you’re sick of going to bars where people need to "see and be seen," then you’ll find refuge in 77 Café. This two-storey house was transformed into a resto/bar, which explains its bohemian vibe. The lower level serves café food from morning to afternoon, while the second floor opens in time for their regular beer drinkers. "I threw a party in 77 Café once and it was the best!" raved Koke Villaflor, 26, architect. "Other than cheap booze, their food is great, too." Try their bestseller pizzas and shakes-all while sitting comfortably on their artsy couches.

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Meat Shop
Keywords: food, booze
Katipunan Ave.
Operating Hours:
11 a.m. -4 a.m.

"It’s your typical grill/inuman place," said Paolo Del Rosario, 24, nurse. It’s the best place to hang if you’re a little low on the dough. "They serve cheap beer and pulutan such as inihaw and sisig," Pao added. You can opt to stay indoors for air-conditioning or go alfresco with your smoker friends. The crowd is middle to low class, so don’t come dressed in your designer dress and heels or you’ll feel out of place.

Manor Superclub Basement
Keywords: dance, food, booze
Telephone:
421-3180
Eastwood City, Libis
Website:
manoreastwood.multiply.com
Operating Hours:
9 p.m. onwards

"This place is reminiscent of Embassy, which comes as no surprise because Manor has the same owner," said Valerie Tan, 27, TV host. The crowd is different from your usual dress-to-impress scene. Since the Eastwood neighborhood is filled with call centers and offices, Manor clubbers are usually yuppies coming straight from work. "The music and interiors here are as good as Embassy, but Manor alcohol is more affordable," added Valerie. And unlike Embassy, there is no 3 a.m. curfew to worry about.

Pasig-Mandaluyong

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Café Mondial

Keywords: food, booze, some dance
Silver City Mall, Frontera Verde Drive cor. Julia Vargas Ave.
Telephone Number:
706-0870
Website:
cafemondial.multiply.com
Operating Hours:
11 a.m. -3 a.m.

"My friends and I are regulars here," said Char Vilchez, 25, media relations officer. "Everything about the place is steady-food, booze, and music." The DJ booth is so accessible; it’s right by the entrance, where people can just request songs and even crunk it with the spinner. Food and drinks are priced just right-beer starts at about P50 each. As for the music, it goes from old school hip-hop to house. Must try dishes are the salpicao and onion rings.

Alchemy Bar
Keywords: food, booze, dance
Silver City Mall, Frontera Verde Drive cor. Julia Vargas Ave.
Telephone Number:
706-1305
Operating Hours:
10 p.m. onwards until the last customer leaves

"Their concept of a multi-level club is different from your usual," said Lorenz Manalang, 31, consultant. Like some US clubs, you have to go up and down the elevator-or stairs, if you’re not wearing killer stilletos-to check out the three different levels of Alchemy. "The alcohol rate for hard drinks and bottles is P100-200 cheaper than Makati bars," observed Lorenz. Come early if you’re bringing a car. Pay parking can be a hassle and you don’t want to end up leaving your car on the side streets.

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Source Bar
Keywords: food, booze, dance
Unit 24 Bldg. B Food Street Ortigas Home Depot Complex, Julia Vargas St.
Website:
sourcebar.multiply.com
Operating Hours:
9 p.m. onwards

"It’s a great hang-out for my friends in the Ortigas area," said Kirsten Lopez, 25, merchandiser. "It helps that the crowd is familiar-friends of my friends." Other than their affordable booze and cool ambience, Source Bar is gaining popularity for hosting events and bringing in the metro’s best DJs to spin house and mixed music.

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Makati

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Old Swiss Inn
Keywords: food, chill out
G/F Somerset Olympia Bldg., Makati Ave. corner Sto. Tomas St. (beside The Peninsula Manila)
Telephone Number:
818-8251, (02) 818-0098
Operating Hours:
24 hours for the Makati branch

"I’m not much of a clubber, so if I get hungry at 3 a.m., I go to the reliable Old Swiss Inn," said Kai Huang, 30s, photographer. Not only does it have free wifi 24/7, it also has a good selection of gourmet dishes. You won’t have to settle for the usual 24-hour fastfood joints, Old Swiss Inn fills up your comfort food cravings whatever time of the day. Must-tries are the cheese and chocolate fondue and deli-style sandwiches.

Whistlestop
Keywords: food, booze, chill out
28 Jupiter St., Bel-Air (between Fiamma and Starbucks)
Telephone Number:
896-1989
Operating Hours:
24 hours

If you ask your parents, uncles, or older siblings, they will tell you that this was the place to be when they were young and hip. Back in the day, Makati party people would come to Whistlestop for a nightcap. This place went on hiatus four years ago, but it’s back to serve all generations of insomniacs. "They have a wide variety of gourmet dishes, but my friends and I love the tapsilog-yummy!" said Teena Reyes, 36, account executive. It’s more relaxed and quiet than bars, so there’s no need for you and your friends to scream to hear each other.

Ziggurat
Keywords: food, booze, chill out, hookah
Sunette Tower, Durban St. corner Makati Ave., Barangay Poblacion
Telephone number:
897-5179
Website:
www.zigguratcuisine.com
Operating Hours:
24 hours

Don’t get turned off by Ziggurat’s red light district location. It’s one of Makati’s best hole-in-the-wall spots. "I would go there with friends at 3 a.m. and leave at 9 a.m.," shared Zane Ronquillo, 29, writer. "You can come in your old jeans and flip-flops and feel right at home." It’s not just about the chill ambience; the exotic cuisine is great, too. Must-tries are their Mid-East kebabs, Moroccan tajines, Mediterranean qeema, and honey beer. Don’t forget to smoke the hookah!

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Filling Station
Keywords: food, chill out
5012 P. Burgos St.
Telephone Number:
897-2053, 899-5555 local 2401 & 2402
Website:
www.royalbellagio.com/restaurant/fillingstation.html
Operating Hours:
24 hours

"It reminds me of DC diner," said Dix Perez, 31, photographer. "The retro all-American ambience makes it a good place to eat after a night of partying." Pool tables, cheap desserts, diner food, and rockabilly memorabilia are the highlights of the place. The crowd is mixed; you will run into families, teen cliques, clubbers, and lots of male tourists escorted by their-ahem-lady friends. The waiters even entertain guests by dancing (in a GP-way, of course) every hour starting at 10 p.m.!

Beer’s Paradise
Keywords: booze
Polaris St. corner Durban St. (near P. Burgos)
Telephone Number:
895-9272
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 4 a.m.

If you think you know everything there is to know about booze, Beer’s Paradise will give you a run for your money. They have over 100 beers to choose from-Pinoy, Belgian, German, etc. However, there have been complaints from customers that not every beer on the menu was available during their visit. "The beers are pricier than your usual happy hour bottles, but they’re very good!" raved Zane. "I also love looking at the cool glasses and goblets they use to serve the beers."

Saguijo, Makati
Keywords: rock music, booze, shop
7612 Guijo St. San Antonio Village
Telephone Number:
897-8629
Website:
www.saguijo.com
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 4 a.m.

"This is the best spot for true-blue music lovers," said Mike Manansala, 28, artist. "I fell in love with the place the first time I saw it." Who can blame him? It’s a rustic spot where every genuine musician-indie bands, unsigned rock groups, and even established acts-can express his/her individual creativity. You can come in your worn-out jeans and t-shirt and still have the time of your life. You’ll see hot acts before they make it big, or rub elbows with established rock gods as they pay tribute to the place where it all began. When you need a break from the loud music downstairs, head over to the Theo Art Gallery, an avant-garde novelty store on the second level.

Capone’s Bistro
Keywords: food, music, booze
2/F A Venue Makati Ave.
Telephone Number:
729-0120
Website:
www.caponesbistro.com
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 2 a.m.

"This is where everybody goes after checking out mainstream spots like Ponticello and Embassy," said Dix. It’s a great insomniac spot because people start streaming in after midnight. No clubbing scene here; it’s where you’ll catch up-and-coming acts and Manila’s best bands. Located in Makati’s business district, don’t be surprised to see corporate yuppies coming straight from work or the city’s best dressed taking a breather from the clubs. "They recently moved to A-Venue from Salcedo Village, but they still have the best chicharon bulaklak in town!" Dix added.

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Fiamma
Keywords: dance, booze
32 Jupiter St. Bel-Air Village
Telephone Number:
897-1352, 897-1253
Operating Hours:
7 p.m. - 6 a.m.

"I love hanging out at Fiamma, especially on weekdays, because it’s not as commercial as the other clubs," said Aprille Lim, 22, model. Whatever day of the week, celebs and models frequent the VIP section, where they can dance and party in peace. If you don’t have keys to the VIP, the lower level is just as fun. "The music during primetime (that’s club lingo for 1 a.m.) is awesome," added Aprille. "The DJs mix it up by playing a bit of house, electronica, old school and new school, so there’s something for everyone." Don’t come in too early; the gorgeous crowd starts pouring in at midnight.

Club Bureau
Keywords: dance, booze
G/F A Venue Makati Ave.
Website:
www.clubbureau.com
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 4 a.m.

The party never starts in Bureau-it ends there. Since most clubs start closing at 2:30 a.m., it seems Manila has the habit of visiting the clubs in Taguig first before heading over to Bureau. "It has a very dynamic atmosphere," shared Aprille. "Whatever day of the week you decide to drop by, you’ll surely bump into local celebs, dance crews and Bureau’s friendly regulars." Whether you like house or hip-hop, the best deejays will get your party juices pumping here until the wee hours of the morning.

Manila

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Club LAX
Keywords: dance, booze
Structure C, San Miguel by the Bay, Mall of Asia, Pasay City
Operating Hours:
9 p.m. onwards

The newest nightclub to hit town, LAX opened its doors last May. "The crowd varies depending on the night’s event," said Andrea Hontiveros, 27, marketing manager. Sometimes you’ll see Makati socialites and celebs dropping by for an exclusive party; other nights you’ll see MOA dwellers and college kids partying the night away. LAX is still building a following, so give it a few months to see how the club’s personality develops.

Wensha Spa
Keywords: spa
CCP Buendia (in front of World Trade Center)
Telephone Number:
832-0515
Operating Hours:
24 hours

Finally, a 24-hour spa that doesn’t come off as dodgy! Wensha gives its customers a sweet deal: every spa service comes with a free buffet or shabu-shabu meal, unlimited drinks, and use of the room for up to 12 hours. Don’t expect a sumptuous gourmet meal; people who have been to Wensha spa weren’t impressed with the food. After all, their expertise is the spa service and not the kitchen. No "happy endings" here, but your body will enjoy every wholesome service-ranging from P500-P1,000-that they have on the menu. Also visit their QC branch: 77 Pasda Mansion Panay Ave. corner Timog Ave.

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Oarhouse
Keywords: chill out, food, booze
1803 Mabini St., Malate
Website:
oarhouse.multiply.com
Operating Hours:
7 p.m. - 4 a.m.

Just because it sounds like "whore house," it doesn’t mean you’re in for a kinky night. This bar/restaurant was founded in the ’70s by a retired US Navy pilot. Its genuine bohemian vibe has kept customers groovy for the past few decades. Come here if you need to chill without worrying about snooty socialites. "My artist friends come here to unwind after a stressful day at work," said Paolo Ortiz, 28, landscape architect. "A lot of artsy events happen here, like photo exhibits and acoustic showcases, so you’ll be rubbing elbows with a lot of creative people."

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Parañaque - Alabang

Al’s Bar

Keywords: rock music, booze
Aguirre Ave. BF Homes, Parañaque Phase I
Telephone:
809-4932
Website:
alsbar.multiply.com
myspace.com/alsbarph
Operating Hours:
7 p.m. - 3 a.m.

"This place is the Saguijo of the South, sans the art gallery and boutique," said Jomz Wi, 26, businessman. "A lot of great unsigned and non-mainstream bands perform there," he added. "In the south, people usually hit 19 East, but a true southerner will end up in Al’s Bar at least once in his/her life." Why go to a big concert when you can rock it all night with the likes of Sino Sikat and Urbandub in Al’s more intimate setting?

Molokai Bar
Keywords: food, booze, show bands
Green & Grills, Festival Supermall, Corporate Ave. cor. Civic Drive,
Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang
Muntinlupa
Telephone Number:
842-5525
Website:
molokai.multiply.com
Operating Hours:
4 p.m.- 10 a.m.

Named after an island in Hawaii, Molokai Bar’s beach-themed interiors make it a good place to hang in Alabang. For less than P500, you’ll get your fill of Hawaiian-Asian fusion dishes and affordable booze. "The place isn’t as high end as other south-bound bars, but it’s a great place for inuman and show bands if you’re stripped for cash," said Jomz. "But if you prefer more intimate venues, try elsewhere; Molokai is pretty big," he suggested.

Central BBQ Boy Grill
Keywords: food, booze
236 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes Parañaque City
Telephone Number:
825-6480
Website:
www.centralbbqboy.com
Operating Hours:
5 p.m. - 5 a.m.

"People love it here because the beer and food are very cheap," said Pao Icasas, 28, artist. "Instead of driving all the way to Makati to go out, my friends and I just hang out here." Their menu is cleverly divided into pang food trip, pambasag, pampagana, pampulutan and pa-ihaw. If you’re into Gerry’s Grill, Pier One, and Gilligan’s Island, then this is a great (and cheaper) place to treat your friends.

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Nlos Bar
Keywords: food, booze, some dance
177 Aguirre Ave. BF Homes Parañaque City
Website:
nlos.multiply.com

Unlike Makati’s clubbing scene, Parañaque dwellers are more into beer and grill spots where they can chill and hang with their friends all night. Nlos, which opened in 2007, has been a favorite for southern people. "This is where Parañaque people come to mingle," shared John Fuente, 22, student. "My friends love coming here to meet the girls [laughs]!" While it’s a popular place to hang, there have been reports of brawls and scuffles in Nlos. Perhaps they need to up the security and crowd control.

Winner’s Bracket
Keywords: billiards, food, booze, music
209 Aguirre St. BF Homes Parañaque City
Website:
www.facebook.com (search: Winner’s Bracket)
Operating Hours:
6 p.m. - 2 a.m.

"Whenever I come here, it feels like I’m part of the winner’s circle-pun intended," said Robert Rapadas, 24, architect. "The regulars are like one big family, but of course they’re very friendly to newbies." An intimate place for hanging out, Winner’s Bracket will keep your barkada entertained until 4 a.m. They have billiards, acoustic musicians, cheap booze, and good old pica-pica such as buffalo wings, chicken fingers and mojos.

Photos by Emilio Esguerra.

Additional photos from Kate Alvarez ( Fiamma, Bureau), LAX, 77 Café, Alchemy, mogwaifilm.multiply.com, royalbellagio.com, saguijo.com, clubbureau.com, cafemondial.multiply.com, molokai.multiply.com, centralbbqboy.com, nlos.multiply.com, sourcebar.multiply.com, manoreastwood.multiply.com, oarhouse.multiply.com.

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