10 Best Places for Cocktails in Metro Manila

Bottoms up!

PHOTO BY Agimat Facebook Page/Jilson Tiu

(SPOT.ph) Shaken not stirred, or whichever way you like it, a cocktail is always a good idea. It comes as no surprise that this boozy wonder is the drink of choice of many because of its versatility. You can just about put anything in it from your choice of spirits to flavored syrups, and even herbs or spices.

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Get your buzz at any of these trendy drinking spots in the Metro:

The Curator Coffee & Cocktails

PHOTO BY The Curator Facebook page

The secret is out—practically everyone knows where to find The Curator (hint: It's inside Cyrano Wine Bar!), especially since they got on Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2016, and has consistently been on the list ever since. They're a coffee spot during the day, and you’ll only get full cocktail service once the sun goes down—although they have daytime cocktails like the limoncello-based Amalfi Mule (P250) and the A.O.J. (P250), a mix of amaretto and orange juice. Don’t worry, the mixologists will make the wait for sunset worth your while with their creative concoctions like the Ube Milk Punch, a daring combo of ube-infused bourbon, bitters, sherry, and butterscotch liqueur.

The Curator Coffee & Cocktails is at 134 Legaspi Street corner Don Carlos Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

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OTO

PHOTO BY OTO Facebook page

Even with all the hip and happening bars in Poblacion, nowhere else could probably offer a better hangout spot for audiophiles than OTO. This watering hole isn’t just another place to eat and drink, but to enjoy music as well. The name, after all, translates to “sound” in Japanese. So, while you listen to different playlists every night, you can get a round or two of their premium liquors or craft cocktails. Try their modern take on a classic, the Bacon Old Fashioned (P350) that has bacon fat, bourbon, angostura bitters, and maple; or the Breakfast Martini (P350) that blends gin, Cointreau, lemon and homemade orange marmalade. Both will make you think of breakfast even when it’s late at night.

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OTO is at 5880 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

Lan Kwai Speakeasy & Hong Kong Cuisine

PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

With their neon lights, colorful murals inspired by Hong Kong graffiti, and tasty Chinese food, it’s no wonder that Lan Kwai has become a favorite spot for university students, especially during Friday nights. While you munch on bao or rice bowls, choose from their wide range of libations like their take on the classic gimlet called Sour Diesel (P109), or a pretty Asian cocktail named Pink Dragon (P169), which gets its hue from the vodka and lychee-infused liqueur plus dragonfruit. They also have cocktails served in fishbowls that are good for sharing, so bring your squad along on your next night out.

Lan Kwai Speakeasy & Hong Kong Cuisine is at 42 Esteban Abada Street, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

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La Coctelera

PHOTO BY Ian Santos

You go to Rambla for the tapas, but you’ll also want to linger at the hidden bar on the second floor, La Coctelera. It’s bright and inviting during daytime, then it transforms into a perfect place to lounge at night. There’s a full bar where you can get your dose of Spanish-inspired cocktails like their Sparkling Fancy Sangria (P895) that has fizzy Lambrusco wine. Also impressive is their version of Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria Fresca (P350), with tomato juice and basil replacing the typical dash of Tabasco, which is then topped off with a spray of liquefied Parmesan cheese.

La Coctelera is at 2/F Rambla, Joya Building, Joya Drive, Rockwell, Makati City.

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78-53-86

PHOTO BY Jilson Tiu

Whether you’re flying solo or are with companions, 78-53-86 offers an escape for those who simply need to unwind. Audiophiles will be thrilled by the shelves behind the bar counter, which are lined with vinyl jazz records and liquor bottles. Relax and listen to the featured record of the day while you sip on cocktails. Go for something beyond the traditional like the Moscow Mule (P400), with the fusion of ginger ale and freshly pounded ginger forming a spicy yet soothing drink. Or try their signature cocktail, In a Silent Way (P400), which blends Japanese whiskey and Swiss cinnamon schnapps for an excellent nightcap.

78-53-86 is at 2/F White Plains West, 42 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

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Bank Bar

PHOTO BY Bank Bar Facebook page

Inside one of BGC’s many convenience stores is an unassuming stockroom door that leads to a hidden gem called the Bank Bar. Get delightfully inebriated on their wide range of beverages that include house specials such as the Pinay Colada (P380), a mix of Philippine-made rums and fruit essences. You can also experience their twist on classics like Truffled Whiskey Sour (P480), or Irish whiskey that is mixed with white truffle oil. You’ll enjoy going through their list of very inventive potions.

Bank Bar is at G/F RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 26th Street corner 25th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

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Yes Please

PHOTO BY Ian Santos

If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, chances are, the clubs around town might feel too millennial for you. Enter Yes Please, a cool hangout spot that has that dive bar feel, so there’s no need to dress all fancy here. You’ll be able to relate to their music, as well as pop-culture references found in their fun selection of libations. Yes Please reinvents Devon Sawa (P350) into a tall, sweet and fruity drink that has a splash of absinthe in it. Bring back old memories with the Sour Patch Spritz (P390), a sweet yet sour beverage that will remind you of your favorite childhood treat.

Yes Please is at Uptown Parade, Uptown Bonifacio.

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Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

PHOTO BY Agimat Facebook page

Agimat is truly Filipino—from the restaurant name (Tagalog for amulet or charm) to the décor, and down to the little details. Even the menu items are written in the vernacular. They elevate local cuisine by presenting homegrown ingredients in ingenious ways, with a touch of drama to boot. The Ritwal ng Agimat (P330), for instance, is a mixture of calamansi liquor and lambanog that’s served flambé-style, and with some chanting on the side. You can really tell they put a lot of thought into their food and drinks, all of which are made from scratch—they also have their own homemade-infused spirits, syrups, bitters, and shrubs, displayed on their bar shelves.

Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen is at 2/F 5972 Alfonso Street corner Fermina Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

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Hotel Bar

PHOTO BY Pink's Facebook page

Hot dogs and cocktails? This unusual pairing might just grow on you once you come across Hotel Bar, which is concealed behind Pink’s Hot Dogs. Make your way to the discreet backdoor and into this cozy space where you can casually enjoy their traditional cocktails (P350 each) along with the famous franks. Their menu is pretty simple and straightforward, with less than a dozen choices of mixed drinks. We highly recommend the Whisky Sour that has bourbon, lemon, sugar, and egg white. On your next round, you can also go for Dark and Stormy, an interesting fusion of Cuban rum and ginger.

Hotel Bar is at Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City (inside Pink’s Hot Dogs).

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The Back Room

PHOTO BY Shangri-La

The thing about speakeasies is that it’s easier to spread the word about it than to just keep it to yourself—and that’s what’s happening with The Back Room. Among all the secret bars in town, this is probably the closest thing to that 1920s-speakeasy vibe with their unmarked passageway, dim interiors, leather-covered walls, and dark wood furnishings—not to mention the staff dressed in period outfits. At the center of it all is a bar that boasts over 120 gin labels, which is your sign to get a gin-based drink like Right in the Kisser (P450) that also has smoky tea, gin, sweet vermouth, peach liquor, and Campari. 

The Back Room is at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City (inside Ministry of Crab).

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