10 Most Beautiful Coffee-Chain Shops in Manila
Our completely subjective list of the best-looking branches from the Metro's biggest coffee chains.
(SPOT.ph) It's hard not to romanticize coffee shops. Memorable conversations usually happen over coffee, and moments of solitude are best enjoyed with a cup of joe. What most people look forward to in a café, however, is the ambience, considering connoisseurs are the only ones who can discern the difference between one brand's espresso from the other. It's no wonder then that coffee chains nowadays are undergoing interior facelifts to one-up their competitors, leading to beautiful new branches that draw customers in—add to that the experience of enjoying an indulgent drink. If you're looking for your next coffee hangout, well, we narrowed down the best-looking coffee-chain shops in Metro Manila for you.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Solaire Resort & Casino
Ever wonder what's it like to have coffee in the 1950s? Better visit this CBTL branch at Solaire Resort & Casino then. Designed by Space Encounters, there's an old-world vibe from Art Deco elements not normally seen in modern coffee shops. Leather seats and copper finishes give the space a regal and time-worn air, yet despite this anachronistic atmosphere, it still retains the qualities of the CBTL brand—comfy, charming, and inviting.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is at G/F The Shoppes, Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Parañaque City.
Bo's Coffee in Katipunan
The original Bo's Coffee along Katipunan was a go-to for students studying or cramming for deadlines. Sadly, it had to relocate (albeit within the same area) to a smaller space. Anyone visiting this new branch, however, would argue that it's an improvement. Though this new Bo's is narrower compared to its predecessor, it makes up for it with an edgier look that should appeal to the young crowd that will fill its seats. The wood slats on the ceiling appear to fold like a piece of cloth over the whole space, a comforting sight to customers that also makes for a pretty picture.
Bo’s Coffee is at Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
UCC Clockwork in Kapitolyo
It's easy to pin down the coffee-shop aesthetic these days. There would be wood surfaces, warm lighting, and some metal furniture for a rustic industrial look. That makes this UCC Clockwork branch a refreshing sight with its neutral color palette. Grays, blacks, and touches of wood accents preside over this third-wave coffee place, making for a clean and classic look that reminds of the lobby of a swanky hotel. Marble-topped tables bring an air of class, while the shaved concrete floor is another unique element to introduce to a coffee shop.
UCC Clockwork is at 2/F Vantage Gallery, 23 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City..
Coffee Project in Libis
Every Coffee Project branch looks like a secret garden. Plants line the walls or crawl up the ceiling, with dim lighting that makes you feel like you're under a canopy of trees. The Libis branch is the most verdant, though it has a more industrial vibe similar to indoor farms. Tall metal dividers double as planters, cages with small plants hang from the ceiling, and vines snake around the wires of drop lights to create a lush setting for titos and titas to relax in after shopping at the neighboring All Home Supermarket.
Coffee Project is at All Home Supermarket, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Libis, Quezon City.
Costa Coffee in Eastwood City
Though there are dozens of Costa Coffee branches around Metro Manila, the first one still deserves the most recognition. The Eastwood branch has served as the blueprint for the rest that followed, with its multiple references to the United Kingdom. There's the Union Jack couch, framed pictures of London's streets, and the red telephone box that has been a constant presence in all Costa Coffee branches. If these U.K. elements don't make you feel like flying to London at the drop of a hat, well, you can always just enjoy your coffee while sitting on a Union Jack-themed sofa.
Costa Coffee is at Citywalk 1, Eastwood City, Quezon City.
St. Marc Café in Bonifacio Global City
"Elegant" will always be a cliché (and vague) descriptor, but you'd be hard-pressed to think anything else when you're inside this St. Marc Café branch. There's a subtle French vibe that makes it ideal for either a quiet coffee break or catch-up time with friends. The place gleams with a sophisticated vibe through the shiny subway tiles and beveled mirror panels on the walls, the marble counter surrounding the bar, and the patterned floor tiles.
St. Marc Café is at One Parkade, 7th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Toby's Estate in Legazpi Village
There's a Scandinavian vibe at this Toby's Estate branch in Makati’s Legazpi Village. Light-wood colors, sleek lines, and minimal decoration make up the interiors, which is almost inconceivable given Filipinos' penchant to fill up empty surfaces. Nevertheless, the space is a breath of fresh (and coffee-scented) air, something that every coffee shop should aspire to be.
Toby's Estate is at G/F Senta Condominium, 140 Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Tim Hortons in McKinley Hill
Well-lit spaces are conducive for both productivity and recreation, which makes this Tim Hortons branch the ideal spot for those looking for either. While the interiors don't really have that "wow" factor, the tall arched windows keep the spaces illuminated, which is more than most customers could ask for. It would be better if the windows looked out to a greener view instead of the concrete jungle of the McKinley area, but the sense of lightness does make you feel like you're anywhere but the city.
Tim Hortons is at G/F Venice Grand Canal Mall, Upper McKinley Road, Taguig City.
Illy Caffè in Salcedo Village
Illy Caffè is known for their robust espresso, so the centerpiece of their best-looking branch is as predictable as it is novel. A chandelier made of multi-colored espresso cups hangs over the middle of the coffee shop, its novelty attracting eyes like a gravitational pull. Located at the busy Paseo Center in Salcedo Village, the ambience of this Illy branch is pleasant enough to accommodate work meetings or simple coffee breaks.
Illy Caffè is at Paseo Center, Paseo de Roxas, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Starbucks Reserve at S Maison, Conrad Manila
The first Starbucks Reserve was all about the details—mostly for its ceiling. Wood boxes ripple over customers' heads, creating a dynamic sight that enhances the experience inside. There is a pastoral air inside the space due to the abundance of wood textures, and wall art made from coffee grounds that depict locals harvesting coffee beans. This Starbucks' location within S Maison provides an air of seclusion, perfect for those seeking peace and quiet while enjoying their coffee.
Starbucks Reserve is at S Maison at Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard, Pasay City.
Photos by Michael Angelo Chua, Miguel Llona, Erika Dizon, and Starbucks Philippines