10 Underrated Drinking Spots in Makati
Some quiet watering holes you might want to look into.
(SPOT.ph) Manila nightlife is having a moment. The rise of speakeasies, craft beer havens, whisky bars, gastropubs and superclubs, even curated wine and champagne bars are all proof that our little capital is quite happening.
In any given city enjoying a surge of buzzy new hotspots, there’s bound to be a couple of really good ones that are a little less known but equally newsworthy. Ones who make their marks more quietly. Here’s a list focused purely on the dark horses of drinkeries in Makati, a hodgepodge of new and seasoned players, and why you ought to be discovering them now.
Bookmark this page for your next bar crawl.
If you don’t live in the South, you’ve probably never heard of this Irish pub...there are three of this on Aguirre Street in BF Homes alone! Their fourth branch sits discreetly on busy Kalayaan Avenue and probably goes unnoticed compared to its bustling southern counterparts. The charm of a typical Irish pub, they’ve got down pat—a double decker space with barrels for tables, tall wooden stools, flat-screen TVs, traditional Irish fare, plus a decent selection of local and imported beers priced competitively. Part sports bar and part gastropub, it’s great for loading up on booze and pretty good grub while watching live sports.
Order This: Guinness Stout (P160), Oettinger Wheat Beer (P130)
Mulligan's is at 8479 Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City.
City Garden Grand's Rooftop Bar
The Red Light District is home to some shady places, but City Garden Grand’s rooftop bar rises above all of that. It’s perched on the hotel’s 32nd floor, opening up to mind-blowing 360-degree views of the city in all its glory. The space is huge, so if you’ve had enough of cramped clubs, this is your refuge. They have the coziest seats set up around the perimeter so there’s no fighting over who gets the best seats in the house (just pick a chair and put your feet up!). It's a breezy space on a good night, quiet enough for conversations. An awesome choice for date nights, or anytime you want the thrill of a breathtaking view without having to go to 71 Gramercy.
Order This: Mai Tai (P200), Old Fashioned (P200). All cocktails are P200 a piece, and while you'll probably need to knock back a few to get a real buzz, who's counting when you've got this awesome a view?
City Garden Grand's Rooftop Bar is at 32/F Kalayaan Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City.
It’s like Blind Pig’s younger, brighter, hipster cousin, with an intriguing Great Gatsby-esque feel. One of the newest speakeasies to open this year, ABV is a password-seeking cocktail den hidden in the basement of Lazy Bastard. It’s the little details that make this hangout deathly charming: that gorgeous copper bar; sleek, low-ceiling lighting, leather booths and a checkered floor. One of the owners is among the city’s best mixologists so if serious cocktails are your thing, it’ll feel like you just found your new happy place. We hear it’s starting to gain more traffic especially on weekends so visit now before it becomes too packed (check their site for the password!).
Order This: Gin Basil Smash (P350), Moscow Mule (P360) and the Parmesan, Honey Arugula Dog (P200) for munchies
ABV is at Basement Floor, 22 Jupiter Street, Makati City.
The first time we stepped in here, we couldn’t believe it existed...in the Red Light District, no less! Cafe Curieux is an eclectic French restaurant-slash-bar with a fantastic outdoor garden. Backpackers and foreigners seem to be the regulars here. We have no idea why it’s not more popular with the locals. It has a boho vibe that’s easy to like and get lost in, especially when trippy deep house music is on or the live band plays with bongo drums. Come for the P80 house rum shots in exotic flavors like Banana, Mango and Anise, Pineapple, Coconut, and Cinnamon...or get all 10 kinds for P720 (a steal perfect for sharing). We hear their French food is quite stellar, too.
Order This: House Rum (P80/Shot)
Cafe Curieux is at Bel-Air Soho Building, Badajos Street corner Polaris Street, Makati City.
Some call it a secret tavern, and perhaps its brick walls, dim lighting, and predominantly dark-wood finish do create that kind of vibe. But the one thing you have to know about Moonshine is they have some of the yummiest signature cocktails in town. The secret is using fresh ingredients to whip up popular concoctions like Mango Mojitos, Grape Hooch, and of course, the Moonshine, all adorably served in mason jars. An entire spectrum of booze for every mood and craving is available: shooters, flavored beers, wines, single malts, you name it!
Order This: Old Fashioned (P190), Moonshine (P250)
Moonshine is at 1C Valdecon Building, Jupiter Street, Makati City. Read more about Moonshine.
The Bottle Shop
If you want a private place to enjoy some of the best craft beers around, make your way to this low-key gem in Magallanes. They have the biggest selection of craft beers in the country that it’s practically a showroom. In fact, it was one, until regulars convinced the owners to finally open it up as a bar so they could stay and knock back a few. There’s not a lot to it, just a few tables, some good music, and a wide assortment of craft and imported beers, some of which you’ve probably never heard of but should be drinking now (Palawan Ambog Ale for you?). A great choice to enjoy a cold one with your S.O., or for whenever you’re craving something fancier than an SMB but don’t want to go to Draft.
Order This: Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen (P150), Single Speed Stout (P300)
The Bottle Shop is at 103 Tritan Ventures Building, Paseo de Magallanes Center, Makati City. Read more about The Bottle Shop.
Cleverly concealed by a “Fire Exit,” this bar within a bar (you’ll need to go through Dillinger’s to get in here) is another one of those speakeasies sans the hush-hush vibe. It’s spacious and probably looks like the most upscale one we’ve seen so far—high ceilings, dramatic lighting and all. On most nights, DJs spin mainstream music that you can dance to (yes there’s a dance floor here and people won’t judge if you get your groove on). Their cocktail menu goes above and beyond the tired-and-tested options and has some unique libations worth the splurge.
Order This: Sarsaparilla (P295), Black Coffee (P345)
Prohibition is at CBD, 3/F Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas Street corner Legazpi Street, Makati City.
A Toda Madre
A tiny tequila bar with a big personality, A Toda Madre is a sexy little sanctuary that welcomes you with festive Spanish music and colorful graffiti. One of the most Instagrammable spots here is their brightly lit bar that houses over a hundred different varieties of straight-up 100% agave tequila from Mexico. If you chat up the bartender, she’ll gamely tell you the difference between lowland agave and highland agave and why you should care. They get extra points for having bar chow with legit Mexican flair. The Elotes Callejeros (P120) and tacos (P150/piece) are topnotch but we wish portions were bigger!
Order This: Margarita de Casa (P285)
A Toda Madre is at G/F Sunette Tower, Durban Street corner Makati Avenue, Makati City.
An intimate poolside lounge that literally lights up the Holiday Inn’s roof deck, Oz is way cooler than your usual stuffy hotel bar. There’s not much of a view from up here, but don’t let that stop you from pulling up a seat in this cozy little cocktail hideaway. There’s plenty of cushy low seating to sink into, small box-shaped tables a-glow in psychedelic hues, and a very likable selection of specialty drinks using premium liqueur that aren’t too sugar-laden. Come at sundown or at nighttime for the best experience—it’s a worthy chill spot in CBD if you just want to unwind with a tasty drink.
Order This: Perfect Manhattan (P350)
Oz is at Holiday Inn & Suites, Glorietta, Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City.
Rye Tasting Room
If you were out partying sometime between 1998 and 2012, you probably got drunk over Ponti’s practically iconic Azurris at one point. And while their delicious revamp has made them more popular as a restaurant these days (read: definitely come here to eat, too), the up-and-coming Rye Tasting Room housed in their old smoking lounge is staging quite a comeback for its bar rep. You might be inclined to order a Bend Me Over for old time’s sake, but there’s so much more to Rye than their signature concoctions. Get yourself a proper whiskey education here, tasting flights in tow—and gradually go from single-malt neophyte to kickass connoisseur.
Order This: Bend Me Over (P250), Whiskey Tasting Flights (starts at P270/four-shot sampler)
Rye Tasting Room is at Il Ponticello, 203 Antel Corporate Center, 121 Valero Street, Makati City. Read more about Rye Tasting Room.
Photos by Kaye Cantara