10 Best Cafés for Hanging Out Solo in Manila

Who needs a date?

PHOTO BY SPOT.ph archives

(SPOT.ph) When you can't live without coffee, the lack of company wouldn’t be able to stop you from getting caffeinated. Still, there are cafés around the Metro that make having some alone time much more comfortable.

Also read:
10 Restaurants for Dining Solo in Makati City
10 Restaurants for Dining Solo in Quezon City
10 Restaurants for Dining Solo in Manila (2018 Edition)
10 More Places in Manila For Dining Solo

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Here are the top cafés around the Metro perfect for going solo:

Common Folk

PHOTO BY Toto Labrador

A café, third-wave space, or a passion project—whatever you decide to call it, you’ll find that Common Folk is a warm and welcoming place. Unlike other crowded coffee chains, this cozy little nook provides a peaceful atmosphere for those who want to quietly read a book or type away on their laptop. Grab a seat at the communal table or sit by the counter, and chill with your choice of brew, or better yet, a comforting combo of Milk + Cookies (P120). You can also sate your hunger with more filling grub like pasta, omelets, or open-faced toasts. A sure hit is Say Cheese! (P280), their version of a grilled cheese sandwich that has three kinds of cheeses, plus tomato dip and a side of chips. 

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Common Folk is at Bellitudo Lifestyle Strip, 79 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City.

Commune Café + Bar

PHOTO BY Michael Angelo Chua

Just as its name suggests, Commune is all about coffee and connections. In this community hub, you can get your dose of local coffee while you strike up conversations with fellow caffeine addicts. The first thing you’ll notice here is the long, high-top communal table that faces a chalkboard wall. You won’t mind being surrounded by strangers, especially if you have a cup of Joe by your side—we recommend getting the Commune Blend (P110/regular; P140/large). You can also fill your belly with any of their food offerings—from all-day breakfast fare to sandwiches and pasta—which feature Filipino flavors.

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Commune is at 36 Polaris Street corner Durban Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

Blocleaf Café

PHOTO BY Jilson Tiu

If it weren’t for their floor-to-ceiling glass windows, you might just miss this small neighborhood coffee shop in Malate called Blocleaf Café. The space is probably just as big as a studio-type apartment but you’ll appreciate the homey feel, with white walls, warm wooden furnishings, and pops of green from the potted plants. You’ll like this café even more once you learn that it proudly showcases Filipino coffee as they get their beans from the social enterprise, Kalsada Coffee. So go ahead and enjoy your Latte (P130) with a slice of Chocnut Cake (P150).

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Blocleaf Café is at 1850 M.H. Del Pilar Street, Malate, Manila City.

% Arabica

PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

Don’t be surprised if you feel a certain Zen-like quality at % Arabica, as this concept was founded in Kyoto. Their local outpost highlights the practice of minimalism that the Japanese are famous for, and it’s evident in its straightforward menu, which mostly features espresso-based beverages. What’s great about this café is that it offers beans from different parts of the world—Japan, Ethiopia, Brazil, and more—reflecting their philosophy of letting you “see the world through coffee.” Sample the single-origin Americano (P150) and either share a bench or head upstairs for the best seat in the house. The counter by the glass wall allows you to see the baristas in action downstairs while you partake of your fresh brew and pastry.

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% Arabica is at G/W City Center, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

Jiro Coffee Studio

PHOTO BY Toto Labrador

Who would think that you’d find the most inventive coffee creations in this low-key location? Jiro Coffee Studio is more than a place where you can get a cuppa; it’s also a good spot for individuals who need to jumpstart their creativity. Take a seat by the counter or the common area, say hello to fellow creatives, and then fuel up with your drink of choice, along with substantial eats. Something that you can’t get anywhere else is the Cocospresso (P170) a cool blend of espresso and coconut water that’s served on a fresh buko shell; or the Bulletproof Cacao (P210) their version of hot choco with coconut milk, grass-fed butter and XCT oil. Complement it with a plate of eggs, organic sausages, or The Pregnant Sandwich, an off-the-menu item made with turkey ham and cheese on focaccia bread.

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Jiro Coffee Studio is at 2/F Crossroad Center, 77 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City.

The Curator

PHOTO BY The Curator Facebook page

You have to be in the know to get inside The Curator, a hidden gem in the back room of a wine shop. But once you find this spot, it’s going to be your next favorite hangout—if it isn’t already. You won’t mind having a moment of solitude on one of the bar stools or the long blue bench while you indulge in any of the handcrafted coffees or cocktails. A dependable drink would be the brew of the day, B.O.D. (P132), which you can get with your morning meal or after a night of drinking. Feeling daring? You can request a customized drink!

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The Curator is at 134 Legaspi Street corner Don Carlos Palanca Street, Makati City.

Magnum Opus Fine Coffees

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

Magnum Opus is one of the best excuses for North folks to make the drive south of the Metro. You’ll find this homegrown concept quite Instagrammable with its black-and-white walls, wooden slat accents, and repurposed wood furniture. But really, the star of the show here is their line of specialty coffees like the Spro Tonic (P185), a concoction made with espresso and Fever-Tree tonic water that’s garnished with a slice of sundried lemon. Locate your own private nook in the outdoor patio and enjoy the laid-back southern vibe while you sip on this refreshing brew.

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Magnum Opus Fine Coffees is at 2/F The Prime Building, 115 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City.

Neighborhood Café

PHOTO BY Ian Santos

Tacos and coffee? It seems like an unlikely combination but it won't be as surprising once you visit Neighborhood Café, which shares a space with the Mexican-inspired Vengo. Feel free to bring your laptop and grab a seat at the counter by the window, so you can work while you sample their unique coffee offerings like the Horchata Café (P190), a rice-based beverage that has cinnamon and espresso. You can also opt for the more Insta-worthy thirst-quencher called Love, Rosie (P180), a beautiful blend of fresh milk on ice, rose syrup, espresso, and tapioca pearls.

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Neighborhood Café is at Don Carlos Palanca Street corner Dela Rosa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

West Town’s Coffee 

PHOTO BY Jilson Tiu

True-blue coffee connoisseurs would be totally at ease at West Town’s Coffee, with warm interiors that highlight wood and bricks, as well as their state-of-the-art coffee machinery. They even carry the country’s first coffee-profiling machine. The shop also serves highlands coffee from around the world, including local beans from Benguet and Sagada, among others. Park yourself on one of the stools at the communal table or by the glass windows, as you leisurely finish your basic hot brews or iced flavored lattes. If you sit on one of the bar stools up front, you’ll see the baristas do their thing. Get the Matcha Latte (P160/regular; P180/large) to get a glimpse of how they do coffee art, too.

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West Town’s Coffee is at G/F Premium Retail Plaza, Milano Residences, Poblacion, Makati City.

Nicto’s

PHOTO BY Patrick Martires

It’s easy to feel cozy at Nicto’s, with the light-colored walls, splashes of greenery (even in the lighting fixtures), and simple interiors that are emphasized by natural light during daytime. It’s an ideal spot to chill even by your lonesome, especially if you stay at one of the high stools near the window. Pass the time while you spoil yourself with the café’s exclusive drinks like Espresso Pop (P140), which is probably their most popular drink. Where else could you get the unusual combo of coffee, root beer, and toasted marshmallow syrup? They’ve also got traditional blends, plus good eats like pasta, sandwiches, and rice bowls.

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Nicto’s Coffee Shop is at 58 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

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