Could this be the Tia Maria's Cantina of this generation?
Walrus is Katipunan's latest night-out stop.
3/F 318-A Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Upon entry, you’re greeted by an atmosphere of cheer—booming laughter, playful banter, and exciting games over a round of drinks. Sound familiar? Well, this setting brings back nostalgic memories of the now-defunct Tia Maria’s Cantina, a former favorite among students in the Katipunan area and nearby neighborhoods. It is the same model that Walrus hopes to take after: a hangout of choice especially on weekends, when the booze-and-grub combo is in full force.
Walrus—brought to us by Zachary Riskin, Braulio De Castro, Joanna Kennedy, Paola Betita, and Emilio Tan—regards itself as a beach-inspired watering hole in the heart of the city. The laidback bar takes its cue from the group of friends’ common ground: a love for sun, sand, surf, and alcohol.
Every nook at Walrus is adorned with a hodgepodge of elements reminiscent of a tropical bar setting, including straightforward seating, tribal fixtures, mismatched trinkets, and dim lighting. Music blares in the background—an eclectic collection of the owners’ upbeat tunes, as well as guest contributions that add to the place’s have-it-your-way feel.
The unpredictability of Walrus doesn’t apply to just the pub’s music and overall vibe. For starters, co-owner Braulio took inspiration for the bar’s name from The Beatles’ '60s hit “I Am the Walrus,” christening it as such just for kicks. The same train of thought is applied to their menu items, which take on quirky monikers that merit a “say what?” Really, at Walrus, anything goes.
Before sampling their range of alcoholic beverages, they recommend that you fuel up with a Beach Burrito (P150), a handful of tortilla, rice, chicken, and beans. For a boost in flavor, be sure to coat each bite with a layer of their secret salsa (additional P15 for extra dip/sauce). Other selections on the menu are the Vote for Alfredo (P150), chicken breast covered in creamy alfredo sauce and topped with bacon, Pizzadilla (P150), a pepperoni pizza and quesadilla fusion, Honey Wings! (P150), chicken wings served with rice and their special honey BBQ dip, and Grilled Cheezus (P130), a grilled cheese sandwich on steroids, served with fries on the side.
Get the best of their pulutan (or appetizers) in one plate through the Walrus Platter (P200), a jumble containing kropek, chicken skin, onion rings, cheese cigars, and potato mojos, served with three sauces: homemade salsa, vinegar, and garlic sour cream. These snacks are often paired with beer and Walrus has the basics down pat: San Mig Pale Pilsen/Light (P45), Super Dry (P60), Red Horse (P55), Cerveza Negra (P60), Tanduay Ice (P45), and Brew Kettle (P60).
Other alcoholic drinks include Red Oak (P100), Shampellino Wine (P360), and White Lie (P70/glass and P200/pitcher), a cocktail with white rum and fruits.
While these bar staples are enough to get you going, don’t leave Walrus without sampling their specialty cocktails, co-owner Joanna’s own mixes, served your way: glass or pitcher. The Booze Cruise (P300), which mimics the variety presented by a typical sushi boat, is a collection of seven cocktails of your choice. The sampler is a fitting starting point for those who need help deciding what to get.
Walrus makes famed cocktails their own by infusing unexpected, top-secret ingredients into the blends. The Sun of a Beach is their version of a mojito. The refreshing, citrusy drink doubles up as a palate cleanser and is best taken with any one of Walrus’ savory dishes. The Cuckoocachoo, meanwhile, equals the popular Long Island iced tea. Walrus’ has four different kinds of alcohol in it (including gin and vodka), mixed with iced tea and calamansi juice. The Cloud 9 is essentially a piña colada with an extremely frothy top layer. The Beautiful Chocolate Man (P70/glass, P200/pitcher) is Walrus’ version of a Baileys Irish Cream mix, a chocolate milkshake infused with rum. These drinks are priced at P70/glass and P200/pitcher.
Name your poison
They also have options for those who are into drinks with a fruity punch. Strawberry Fields Forever is their vodka-based bestseller, a sip of which takes you back to days when Kool Aid was a thing, only now it comes with a bit more kick. A similar drink is their latest addition: the Grape Escape. The Tingleberry, a mango blend and one of Walrus’ stronger drinks, comes with a warning: “only for the true alcohol lovers.” All these are priced at P70/glass and P200/pitcher. Lastly, the Pink Panty Dropper (P60/glass, P150/pitcher) is a unique blend of pink lemonade, sours, beer, and vodka—a popular choice for those who want the best of both worlds: old-school lemonade and alcohol.
In the coming months, guests can expect new additions on the Walrus menu as well as open mic comedy shows every Wednesday. Hopefully that these efforts, coupled with the positive reception of the bar thus far, are only the beginning of Walrus’ long-lasting friendship with its crowd. Co-owner Zachary says, “We’re hoping only for blue skies ahead.” With that, we’re keeping our fingers crossed!
Photos by Hans Fausto