10 Hidden Bars in Manila That Will Turn You Into a Night Owl
Don't tell anyone.
(SPOT.ph) You know what they say: When the going gets tough, go to the nearest speakeasy to loosen up and hide from the noise. Alternatively tagged as “blind pig” or “blind tiger,” speakeasies are secret bars that became widespread in the 1920s Prohibition era, when the selling of alcoholic drinks was banned in the United States. Fast-forward to a few decades later and you’ll find hidden pubs like these in almost every corner of Manila’s more upbeat areas despite their unflashy and oftentimes undetectable façades. We give you 10 of the must-try speakeasies in the Metro where you can get some much needed quiet time plus the booze.
This bar at La Fuerza Plaza in Chino Roces is the perfect hideaway after a long day’s work. 20:20’s dim lights coupled with grim frescoed walls (think skulls and black magic) add just the right touch to achieve an edgy underground vibe. Come here if well-curated music is at the top of your priorities—they say no two nights are the same. Meanwhile, sample their signature Mule, a vodka-based cocktail that’s elevated by sour, sweet, and spicy ginger flavors, and you’ll see clearly—in 20/20 vision rather—what the buzz is all about.
20:20 is at 20a-20b La Fuerza Plaza 1, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
Finders Keepers is a popular choice among young urbanites for its laid-back atmosphere and cool tunes. If you’re having a difficult time finding this place, just look for an unassuming taco place called Taqueria Real along Sabio Street. Step inside the black-painted warehouse beside it and you’re automatically transported to a secret drinking den that offers some of the best handcrafted drinks in the Metro!
Finders Keepers is at Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
There’s something thrilling about going to a speakeasy, like the fact that the bar is concealed from plain sight and away from prying eyes. Getting to the Curator when it was still veiled by a wine shop was challenging despite the godsent technology of Waze. Now, finding your way to this clandestine pub has become so much easier because the wine shop has been replaced by The Curator’s café offshoot. Farther inside, you’ll see a door leading to a bar with gray, windowless walls, and stylish wooden furniture. Intimate, quiet, and cozy—we’d imagine bringing a date here for some one-on-one minus the distracting background music. In 2016, The Curator bagged the 14th spot on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.
The Curator is at 134 Legazpi corner Don Carlos Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Another local pub that made it to the Asia’s 50 Best Bars lineup in 2016 was Alcohol By Volume (or ABV for short). This speakeasy is hidden inside Lazy Bastard, a vibrant diner-style hotdog and burger joint along Jupiter Street in Makati. Designed to make you feel like you’ve been teleported to Prohibition-era New York, ABV is calm and collected, with a number of tables that won’t go beyond 10. Just a little expert tip: Ask for a copy of the “Bible” if you want a more extensive list of cocktails and drinks.
ABV is at Basement Floor, 22 Jupiter corner Galaxy Street, Bel-Air, Makati City.
You’d never think that tucked past rows of an average, run-of-the-mill 7-Eleven is Bank Bar—well, that’s exactly the point of this speakeasy created by The Moment Group. Apart from succeeding at being the most inconspicuous one on the list, Bank Bar is also popular for its excellent drinks and chic loft-inspired interiors. Try to catch their Happily Hour After special, which runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, to get a dose of their unlimited cocktails and beers.
Bank Bar is at G/F RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Also known as Exit Bar, this secret drinking joint is literally concealed behind an emergency door of the Corinthian Plaza at Legazpi Village. Open until 2 a.m. daily, the speakeasy often airs alternative '90s tunes in the background. Grab a glass of the Cosmonaut, The Exit’s take on the classic cosmopolitan, which is a nice concoction of gin, lemon, and raspberry preserves.
The Exit is at Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo de Roxas, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Ocean’s Telephone Company
If you’ve been to Burgos Circle’s famous brunch place and café Frank & Dean, you’ve probably heard of this nondescript bar located upstairs. Spot the big red telephone box and enter the passageway to Ocean’s Telephone Company, a speakeasy that flaunts tasty bar chow as well as a variety of handcrafted cocktails like the Old Fashioned, a mix of bourbon whisky, angostura, simple syrup, and orange.
Ocean’s Telephone Co. is at Frank and Dean, Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City.
The Thirsty Barber
The Thirsty Barber is the only speakeasy in San Juan City. Carefully situated behind a wooden shelf of a barbershop, the bar’s concept and interiors take inspiration from New York, where hush-hush pubs are abundant. Don’t leave without grabbing a drink from the bar’s extensive booze collection. Their Blunt Scissors cocktail, made with cucumber, parsley, Stolichnaya vodka, lemon, sugar, and soda water, is a must-try.
The Thirsty Barber is at G/F Promenade Mall, Wilson corner P. Guevarra Street, Addition Hills, San Juan City.
With its classy monochrome walls and quilted leather furniture, Red Rabbit seems like Bugsy’s Bar & Bistro’s more refined and elegant cousin. The menu of this speakeasy is straightforward and mostly made up of artisanal cocktails and imported beers. Spice up your night with an order of the Little Bit Country, a combination of Maker’s Mark bourbon, maraschino liqueur, maple syrup, lemon juice, bird’s eye chili, and angostura bitters.
Red Rabbit is at 5 Paseo Parkview Tower, Valero corner Sedeno Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
If you’re observant enough, you might notice a bright red vending machine-like door at the back of Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew in Kapitolyo. Behind that door, you'll find RM 16, which is as sly as it gets. Inside are a couple of tables and chairs and a small bar that boasts an impressive alcohol assortment. The place gets packed quite fast especially on weekends so it’s best to reserve your tables a day before! Order the sweet and zesty Cilantro Fresco made with white rum, green apple, cilantro juice, and lime for a refreshing starter.
RM 16 is at 16 East Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City.