10 Restaurants in Manila for Great Cocktails

Plan that next night out!

PHOTO BY Ian Santos

(SPOT.ph) Admit it: As you get older, the urge to go out and dance (and drink) the night away slowly but surely goes away. Now, all you and your friends want to do on weekends is hang out at some place to chill. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get some boozy drinks to go along with your tasty grub, especially when the Metro has more than enough restaurants that also mix up great cocktails.

PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

Flatiron 1771

This trendy New York-inspired diner recently underwent another makeover to give them a more relaxed and casual look. And with a new, spruced-up space also comes an outdoor bar, which is hard-to-miss with its steel-heavy, industrial-themed look. Drinks are available all day, and they’ve got Happy Hour promos from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., so you can start really early or end really late. The Cosmo, a fruity drink with a kick from a mix of vodka, Cherry Heering liqueur, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and egg whites, makes a great pair with the addictive Potato Skins Platter, or crisp-fried potatoes skins topped with pulled-beef brisket, smoked salmon, and sautéed tuna. Want something more chill? The Christopher Street, an Earl Grey-infused gin-based cocktail, should be right up your alley.

Flatiron 1771 is at G/F Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.

PHOTO BY Ian Santos

DC Super Heroes Café

If geek heaven is a place on earth, it’s DC Super Heroes Café at SM Megamall. Every element of the comic-book-inspired restaurant pays homage to DC Comics characters: From murals of popular superheroes and villains, the walls covered in figurines, to a nook dedicated to selling exclusive merchandise, and the comics-inspired menu. The folks at DC Café worked together with mixologist Kalel Demetrio to create the restaurant’s signature drinks, which include cocktails any crimefighter would love to have after a busy day of putting away villains. The Roses & Thorns is a stunner—a bright pink drink that’s a blend of gin and rum with rose essence, milk, cucumber, and tapioca. The refreshing and lemony Power Sour almost doesn’t feel buzzy but don’t underestimate the kick of bourbon, dark rum, and tea-infused liqueur—though the guava syrup makes this go down smoothly.

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DC Super Heroes Café is at 4/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

PHOTO BY Ian Santos

Propaganda Bistro

This bright and colorful Vietnamese restaurant from Ho Chi Minh boasts a drinks menu as fun and eccentric as their propaganda-inspired murals. The Jasmine Infusion is a fresh and light cocktail, which makes it dangerous—you won’t feel the kick of the Bombay Sapphire gin because of the blend of Jasmine tea, lychee, cucumber, lime, fresh coriander, and more until it finally hits you. The Ca Phe Martini makes a case for day drinking—it has Vietnamese coffee, which means you can have this for brunch, right? Pair your drinks with Propaganda Bistro’s equally excellent and varied Vietnamese menu—the banh mis are highly recommended especially the Meatball Banh Mi, chunky and spicy with meatballs in tomato sauce.

Propaganda Bistro is at 2/F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City.

PHOTO BY Patrick Martires

Soru Izakaya

No izakaya is complete without great libations, including Soru Izakaya. Their sushi and maki creations, which come out of the kitchen looking like works of art, clues you in that this is a Japanese restaurant not afraid of a little (or a lot) of creativity and the same holds true for their cocktails. If you’re feeling adventurous, have the Wasabi Kamikazee with vodka, lime, and apple plus wasabi and nori for a sweet-savory drink that somehow works. The Hentosen is vanilla-sweet and a safer choice, with a mix of almonds, lemon, amaretto, and tequila. It’s a sweet and smooth drink that pairs well with the punchy flavors of Soru Izakaya’s sushi like the flaming-hot Lava Maki.

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Soru Izakaya is at Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City; and 140 Maginhawa Street, Barangay Sikatuna, Quezon City.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Half Saints

This elegantly minimal café along Scout Esguerra Street may look like a cozy coffee shop—which it is—but they have a full bar for all your boozy needs, too. Aside from beer, hard drinks by the shot, whiskey, and bourbon, they also offer classic cocktails like Amaretto Sour, Gin & Tonic, Tequila Sunrise, and more. Pair your drinks with their Puff Pizza, which uses puff pastry as crust for buttery, indulgent bites. Be sure to also ask their bartender what seasonal cocktails are available!

Half Saints is at 62 Sergeant Esguerra Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

Vatos Urban Tacos

Everything at Vatos is over-the-top and generous, including their signature Vatos’ Ritas. The beergeritas are large enough to be shared by two or more, especially if you don’t want to wake up with a hangover. But they don’t just top off your margarita with a beer bottle and call it a day—they make sure that the flavors of the beer and the cocktail match. The Sexy Sanchez is a bestseller with a strawberry margarita and berry cider is an easy crowd-favorite—after all, not a lot of people can resist strawberries. The Grow A Pear is also refreshingly fruity, with a passion fruit margarita and pear cider. Pair your drinks with Kimich Carnita Fries overloaded with kimchi, sour cream, onions, cilantro, braised shredded pork, and lots of gooey cheese, and get ready to stay for quite a while.

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Vatos Urban Tacos is at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO BY Marikit Singson

Gallery by Chele

Gallery by Chele is the more laid-back version of its predecessors, Gallery Vask and VASK Tapas Room but you can still expect the same top-notch menu that got them a spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list—and that includes their cocktails. Get a tasting menu to sample as many wildly creative tapas as you can like the Tomato Mochi, which is a cross between a mochi and a burrata, and the Black Crisps made with the eccentric but tasty combination of uni, corn, and celery pastes. The cocktails almost steal the show if everything else weren’t so good: It’s hard to forget the version of the Whiskey Sour with the scent of torched rosemary and a blend of green-tea kefir, pomelo, and celery. The Spin It Forward is just as memorable and not just because of its strong kick—this version of dark rum boasts complex layers of flavor from a mix of cacao liqueur, cinnamon syrup, sweet vermouth, and lemon juice.

Gallery by Chele is at 5/F CLIPP Center, 11th Street corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Lo de Alberto

This easy-to-miss but hard-to-forget taqueria in City Golf just got a new branch in Manila’s hip Legazpi Village, and they’ve got easy-on-the-budget cocktails that pair well with their sumptuous Mexican fare. The Michelada gets its kick not just from beer but also from chili and garlic, its spice a great match to the fresh Agua Chile, a taco stuffed with tilapia, shrimp, and pickled vegetables. If you love Lo de Alberto’s Horchata, the El Jefe is a must-try; it’s the signature drink made boozier by kahlua and vodka.

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Lo de Alberto is at Tropical Palms Condominium, Gallardo Street corner Dela Rosa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Bench Café

When Bench opened their first café inside their flagship store in Bonifacio Global City, they knew they wanted to celebrate Filipino produce, and that extends to their cocktails selection. The team tapped Kalel Demetrio to create mixes inspired by regional produce—Demetrio uses liquor infused with different kinds of local fruits and herbs to create unique cocktails like the Alab ng Lahi, a mix of rum, chamomile-tea liqueur, egg whites, and toasted corn panutcha. The Tall, Dark, and Handsome (Goma) is inspired by one of Bench’s most memorable endorsers, Richard Gomez: A smooth blend of Demetrio’s special Calabarzon Infusion Rhum plus mint and pandan leaves.

Bench Café is at 2/F Bench Flagship Store, 9th Avenue corner Lane O, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

The Fat Seed Café + Roastery

Aside from fast WiFi, an excellent coffee and juices selection, and sumptuous brunch dishes (the hefty Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Ube Waffles in Salted Egg Sauce served with bacon-maple syrup is a must-try), The Fat Seed Café + Roastery also offers select specialty cocktails. The Purple Haze with rum, blueberry pomegranate, egg whites, and lemon is a smooth drink with a strong punch, while the Matilda with a mix of brandy, elderflower, aromatic bitters, and orange peel is just floral and citrus-y enough to be a great brunch drink. We won’t be surprised if you end up hanging out ‘til closing time.

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The Fat Seed Café + Roastery is at G/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

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