This tiny Makati den is Manila's first legit gin lounge
The Bonbon Club is no speakeasy, but it still keeps a certain secretive vibe.
The Bonbon Club
16 Tropical Palms, Gallardo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City
Open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Monday to Thursday); 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Friday); 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Tiny artisanal taverns are a thing these days, and we kind of like it.
The Bonbon Club is a drinking den tucked away on Gallardo Street, right around the corner from Greenbelt 5, and it’s probably Manila’s first legit gin lounge. The owners are the same guys behind the out-of-the-way dive bars on Chino Roces, Finders Keepers and Black Market. While it’s not a speakeasy (no secret entrance, no passwords, and yay no crowds—yet), it has the same secretive spirit as its dimly lit brethren.
It doesn’t look like your typical watering hole. The 30-seater space could easily double as the basement-slash-living-room of an A-lister throwing an invite-only after-party. But, they do know how to set the mood for a civilized night of after-work cocktails. Lots of mood lighting, soft chill out music playing from a turntable, cozy little corners. Not too loud, definitely conversation-conducive.
Not your typical watering hole. Check out that Instagrammable furniture and decor.
You can choose your own music here! Peruse the box of records and pop your choice in.
You’ll probably be tempted to Instagram those bejeweled deer heads hanging on the wall. Or snap photos of the achingly cool furniture and decor, all haphazardly put into place. Chairs made of cork, quirky stools shaped like oversized buttons, a shelf-full of vintage knickknacks, quirky paintings. If this place gets featured on Real Living magazine, we wouldn’t be surprised.
But all that aside, the main draw here is the gin cocktails from their signature series. If you’ve never been into gin before, this place will convert you with their original club concoctions. They house 43 kinds of premium gin (and counting) from around the world—England, Scotland, New York, just to name a few—and mix it with syrups made in-house plus stuff like basil, oregano, lemongrass, pomelo, blueberry, even Earl Grey tea. The result? Some of most refreshing libations we’ve tasted in a long time.
Their bartenders wear lab coats. Back in the day, gin was created for medicinal purposes.
Our top picks: Dr. Sylvius, Madame Geneva, Earl of Milan
Madame Geneva is said to be a lady's favorite.
Dr. Sylvius is made with ginger ale and gin infused in black pepper.
Meet the distinguished Earl of Milan, crafted with Earl Grey tea.
Something different with The Hog’s Lane, a mix of blueberry and gin infused in rosemary
The Cruikshank’s Madhouse is made with basil, sweet vermouth and Hendricks gin.
This was an unnamed drink the bartender whipped up for us on a whim.
Ladies love the Madame Geneva (P450), a cheerful, "mmm!"-inducing mix concocted with pomelo, Ungava dry gin, and aloe vera. It's worthy of another round. If you're up for something different, meet Dr. Sylvius (P350), which has a little bit of a bite from gin infused in black pepper. They make it with lemongrass and ginger ale, and it’s a tasty sensation. Earl of Milan (P550), a generous pour of Earl Grey tea, Monkey 47 dry gin, and oregano, is a deeply flavored drink made for nightcaps at the end of a long day.
Not feeling too adventurous? There’s a selection of gin-based classics like the Martini, Gimlet, Tom Collins, Negroni, and the Pink Lady, all at P300 each. Heads up that all their cocktails are made with gin, so if you're looking for other spirits, there's always Joe’s Brew or your pick from the wine list. That said, not having a go at their mixologist-crafted cocktails would be a shame!
Some munchies to enjoy your drinks with (or order a sandwich from Pepi Cubano next door)
As of this writing, there’s no food on the menu yet, but we hear they’re already working on adding some coffee and pastry-type food on the menu. We suggest eating before you head here, but if you come starving, don’t worry. You can order in from Pepi Cubano next door and they totally wouldn’t mind.