This Hidden Bar Is Where You Can Find Respite Without Leaving Cebu City

Llula is tucked away in a residential part of Apas, Cebu City.

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(SPOT.ph) Cebu has everything you’re looking for, thriving nightlife included. With the number of open bars and clubs—not to mention the lifted restrictions—you’re bound to have an exciting time, no matter where you end up. But, if you’re looking for a cozy spot to catch up with good friends, Llula fits the bill. 

As early as 2019, Llula has purposely avoided any social media presence to give an air of exclusivity and protect the privacy of its establishment. However, once you finally find your way in, it’s easy to feel at ease in its quaintly rustic surroundings. Munch on Spanish tapas while sipping on specialty craft cocktails—which can be surprisingly difficult to find, even in the city. 

Drinking at "Home" Outside of Your Home in This Speakeasy

Llula was originally a house; it has since been renovated into a homey hangout. The speakeasy factor comes in more in the fact that, once you find the place, you'll still have to get through a passcode-protected door. If you make it past that point, you’re instantly greeted by a huge dragonfly painting on the wall, accompanied by their signature lighted “Llula” sign. The bar was named after the Spanish word libélula, which means dragonfly, because the owners would always see a few of them buzzing around in the late afternoon.

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Head bartender Junel prides himself on the concoctions he’s created for Llula. One of the best-selling drinks is their craft cocktail called Like an Apple Pie (P380). If the name wasn’t enough to clue you in on how it tastes, this drink is made with flavored vodka, cinnamon whiskey, apple juice, and garnished with thin apple slices. It’s sweet with a hint of smokiness from their own house-made cinnamon syrup. Don’t be fooled though! This drink hides strength in its sweetness. Maybe after two (or more) of this, you’ll start feeling the alcohol buzz.

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Another speciality is the Pineapple Express (P400). It’s made with Bacardi 8 Anos, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, and some lemongrass syrup. This tropical drink is the perfect mix of sweet and tart, and it also disguises the taste of the alcohol. The mixology team focused on these two fruits, apple and pineapple, as they are available year-round. 

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Aside from these special craft cocktails, they also serve the classics with high-quality ingredients. You can never go wrong with an Old Fashioned (P380), an Amaretto Sour (P350), or a Mojito (P320)!  

But what’s really interesting is that they make their own ice. They do this to keep your drink colder and ensure less dilution. They use directional freezing, and freeze the ice for exactly 24 hours. This is because if they freeze it for less than 24 hours, it won’t reach the desired thickness but if they freeze it for more than 24 hours, it may create a cloudiness in the ice. 

A Shared Food Menu

Llula has been operating since before the pandemic, but had to close doors a few times due to COVID and Typhoon Odette. Thankfully, they were able to reopen in January 2022 with a few changes to their food menu. They brought in some favorites from their sister restaurants, Fat Cow and Pueblo. Some of these are the Angus Cheese Burger Sliders (P320) and the Quesadillas (P330 for steak, P280 for chicken or lechon carnitas), respectively. 

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They did however retain their Spanish offerings with Mushroom Chicharrones (P250) and Berenjenas or battered eggplants with honey (P300). They also have a selection of croquetas. While the Spanish Chorizo (P250) and Truffled Mushroom (P250) are both satisfying treats on their own, the Crab Croquetas (P300) definitely steals the show. These deep-fried balls are filled with a mixture of aioli and crab filling, and topped with a single slice of tuna sashimi to add a bit of freshness to the dish. 

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If you’re looking for heavier fare, they have the Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna (P430) or the super decadent Roasted Bone Marrow Salpicado (P650). If you want something that’s easy to share, try their Buffalo Chicken Wings (P295). It’s served with a side of a blue cheese dip that goes well with the chicken’s smoky flavor. 

Llula is open as early as 6 p.m. from Wednesdays through Sundays. Once you find its location and passcode, you’re in for an interesting night. (Just pray that it’s a busy night so you’ll see the telltale sign of a bajillion parked cars—but also not so busy that you won’t be able to snag a table.) The passcode usually changes weekly. But don’t worry, because once you get in, you can fill out a contact form so that they can notify you every time they change the passcode. 

Llula is somewhere in San Antonio Village, Barangay Apas, Cebu City. We can only tell you that much, Spotters! Search for the firefly.

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