10 Hidden Bars in Manila That You Should Have Tried By Now

In the mood for a quiet night out?

PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

(SPOT.ph) The best things in life are sometimes hidden in plain sight, and that couldn’t ring truer for these 10 speakeasies in Manila. These hidden bars have become a haven for those looking for an escape from crowded nightclubs and pubs in the city. Not only are they a great place to unwind, but they also have some of the best drinks and bar chow in the Metro.

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Here are 10 speakeasies in Metro Manila for your next night out:

The Back Room

PHOTO BY Shangri-La

If gin is your drink of choice, then you may want to pay The Back Room a visit. Located at Shangri-La At The Fort, this speakeasy boasts a menu with more than 150 kinds of gin. They even make their own kind, which they’ve dubbed the Bee’s Knees (P250/glass). It’s made with local ingredients like dalandan, malunggay, and sampaguita. If you’d prefer to share your drinks with a group, The Back Room also offers cocktail bowls like the Bandits in Love (P1,800) with gin, pandan, a citrus mix, and ice wine.

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

Prima Facie

PHOTO BY Prima Facie Facebook page

Timog is already known for its busy nightlife, but if you’re looking for a place that’s quieter, check out Prima Facie. Located within the walls of Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant, this hidden bar might just remind you of speakeasies from the 1920s with its dim lighting and Art Deco decor. Behind the bar’s impressive interiors is a drinks menu curated by award-winning mixologist Royce Pua. He isn’t afraid to experiment, creating cocktails like Life of Row 4 (P350) with the unconventional addition of balsamic vinegar. Also impressive is Prima Facie’s bar chow menu. You can find classics like Calamari (P320) but with a twist—their version is made with squid-ink batter and topped with bonito flakes.

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Prima Facie is inside Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant, 114 Scout Lozano Street corner Tomas Morato Street, Timog, Quezon City. 

Mandalay

PHOTO BY Mandalay Facebook page

Belle & Dragon is already one of Makati’s hottest nightspots, but did you know that this gastropub is also home to a hidden bar? Mandalay can be best described as a whiskey lover’s dream. The bar has an impressive menu of whiskeys from around the world, spanning more than 10 pages. If you’re new to whiskey, the staff behind the bar are more than willing to help you find your favorite. Pair your chosen drink with any of Mandalay’s bar chow, which is an intriguing mix of Asian and Western fusion.

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Mandalay is inside Bell & Dragon, OPL Building, 100 Don Carlos Palanca, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

Three Little Pigs

PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

Sitting on top of Sisig Society, it comes as no surprise that this hidden bar is called Three Little Pigs. This speakeasy takes its name to heart, with walls adorned with classic paintings like the Scream, only this time starring pigs. Cute decor aside, their drinks are what would get you to stay. Three Little Pigs makes a mean Whiskey Sour (P265), a mixture of bourbon, sugar, lemon, egg whites, and angostura bitters for an extra level of flavor. For something more refreshing, check out the Gin Basil Smash (P225), which comes with strong citrus notes.

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Three Little Pigs is at  12 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

RM 16

Outside Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew’s Kapitolyo branch lies an unsuspecting vending machine that doubles as a door to a hidden bar. Called RM 16, this speakeasy offers a wide variety of liquor, ranging from hard drinks like bourbon and scotch to local and imported beers. What’s more impressive is their cocktail menu, composed of drinks that take cues from their partner restaurant’s Latin cuisine. One of their bestsellers is the Peruvian Sour (P260), a concoction made with brandy, lime, and passion fruit. It’s a sweet and sour drink that tastes just like candy. 

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RM 16 is at Tittos, 16 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

Vault

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew’s second branch in Greenhills also plays host to a speakeasy. Pro tip: This bar is tucked behind a bright teal door in one corner of the restaurant. Vault is a small, dimly lit room that can only hold up to 50 people, making it an ideal spot to catch up with close friends. The menu here is similar to RM 16’s, with cocktails like the Peruvian Sour (P260) and Coquito (P240) also making an appearance. But make sure to try out their different variations on the mojito, like the Lychee (P240) or Watermelon (P240). And if you’re here with friends and want to nibble, try the Skewers (minimum of three sticks per order). You can take your pick from Grilled Angus (P130/stick) or Angus steak cubes with a sweet soy glaze, inasal-inspired Chicken Mojo (P70/stick), or juicy Pork Sausage (P110), among others.

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Vault is at Tittos, G/F O Square 2, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Avenue, San Juan City.

Odd Seoul

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

Though hidden inside Korean restaurant Gaja, Odd Seoul is a stark contrast to the elegant resto, with funky neon lights and interiors inspired by Korea's subway. This speakeasy puts a Korean twist on classic cocktails. There’s the Kimchi Sour (P295), a concoction of soju, lemon juice, egg whites, almonds, and of course, kimchi. Think of it as the Korean version of a Bloody Mary. If you’re looking for something more fun and fruity, check out the Yogurt Lady (P295). Made with the classic combination of Yakult and soju, the drink also comes with a Melona ice pop dunked right in your glass.

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Odd Seoul is inside Gaja Korean Kitchen, 8445 Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City

Mao Den

Black Market is known as one of the best hidden clubs in Makati (Bad Decision Wednesdays, anyone?), but did you know that there’s a second floor where you can chill after a long night out? Called Mao Den, this spot is a lot more laid-back than the rest of Black Market. With a grungy, Chinese-themed mural, and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, the intimate venue is also a popular spot for indie gigs and film festivals.

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Mao Den is inside Black Market, Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Plaza, Chino Roces Avenue corner Sabio Street, San Lorenzo, Makati City.

Thirsty Barber

PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

Located in a nondescript building with a deli, a Korean convenience store, and a bakery, this speakeasy in San Juan may be a bit hard to find. It’s actually situated behind a shelf inside a barbershop, so you can tell where the Thirsty Barber takes its name from. The barbershop inspiration also extends to the bar’s drink menu: Check out their Blunt Scissors (P225), a concoction made with cucumber, parsley, vodka, lemon, sugar, and soda water, or The Under Cut (P250), a spicy cocktail made with tequila, orange, bell pepper, sour mix, and a generous heap of cayenne pepper.

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Thirsty Barber is at G/F Promenade Building, Wilson Street corner P. Guevarra Street, Addition Hills, San Juan City.

INT.

PHOTO BY INT. Facebook page

Cubao Expo is known for its cool and quirky vibe, making this speakeasy fit right in. Located inside a fully functioning photo booth, INT.—whose name comes from the shorthand for “interior” used in movie scripts—is perfect for a fun night out with friends, as they often host mixology classes and trivia nights. This fun and quirky vibe extends to the bar’s drinks menu, which takes inspiration from music and film. Check out their La Dolce Vita (P300), a sweet drink made with tequila, absinthe, lemon, orange, agave nectar, egg whites, and mango caviar. Be warned though: it packs quite a punch.

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INT. is at Cubao Expo, General Romulo Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City.

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