10 Hipster Hangouts in Manila
The places for all things artsy, vintage, and everything in between
(SPOT.ph) Do you know someone who cringes at the mention of the word “mainstream?” Do they worship an indie band you have never heard of or post places (sans location) that make you ask yourself, “Saan kaya ‘to?” There has always been a subculture of independent thinkers who have unconventional tastes. It’s pretty hard to miss them as their fashion is as distinct as their sensibilities. Vintage-inspired shirt with old-school sneakers, aquamarine-dyed hair and thick-rimmed glasses—there is a precise science to looking topsy-turvy with style. The non-conformists of Manila frequent places that project their IDGAF (that’s “I don’t give a f***” for the titas out there) mentality, where really being one’s true self is what’s usual. Here are 10 of them.
Step right up and see the latest trends in what you can do with fabric. There's no dress code, but if you need ideas on how to nail the "casual partywear," then head on to BM. We've never seen the signage, but if you know where Finders Keepers is, it's just right next door. There's a section of the bar where art by Japanese duo DOPPEL glows, but it stays true to the no-frills industrial vibe that screams, "We can't care less, we just want to hear music and dance."
Insider tip: Bad Decisions Wednesdays. Go wild on hump day. Check how many sub-famous people you can bump into.
Black Market is at Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Compind 2, Sabio Street, Makati City. Open from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Wednesday to Saturday).
Saturday x Future Market @ Escolta
The artsy ones are drawn to anything rare, vintage, and edgy. (Bonus points if it's by local artists.) Saturday x Future Market is housed in an empty space of what used to be a commercial building in the early 20th century. Pieces are made by the sellers and nothing is mass produced so you can have dibs on that film roll necklace.
Insider tip: Drop by on May 16 for the next Saturday x Future Market.
Saturday x Future Market is held at 413 Escolta Street, G/F First United Building, Binondo, Manila on the third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. E-mail email@example.com for inquiries.
Unassuming and raw, B-Side is in the heart of The Collective—house to a community of art spaces, comfort food, unique finds, and rare music. People here are chill, the beer cold and cheap, music is great, and you can wear any outfit because there’s no dress code.
Insider tip: Irie Sunday is the best night to go. You’ll be entranced with the live reggae and ska while swaying with strangers, beer in hand.
B-Side is at The Collective, 7274 Malugay Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. Open from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. (Wednesday to Sunday).
Artists and beatniks of all orientations meet and hang out at Cubao X. It’s an affordable place that has grown to be a lively community of bistros, specialty stores, thrift boutiques, art galleries, and bars.
Insider tip: While you're already in the area, don't miss out on Today x Future. It's a bit of a walk down the road from X now, slightly smaller, but no less hip...ster.
Cubao X is at Gen. Romulo Street, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.
Owned by journalist Howie Severino and his wife, environmental lawyer Ipat Luna, Sev’s Café is a hidden restaurant beside a parking lot in Malate. It's the perfect venue for free thinkers to find inspiration and express themselves through the cafe’s open mic nights, enjoy live performances of spoken word poetry, and meet like-minded people.
Insider tip: They don’t serve soft drinks but they do have awesome fruit and veggie smoothies, as well as good coffee.
Sev’s Café is at the Basement of Legaspi Towers 300, Roxas Boulevard corner P. Ocampo (formerly Vito Cruz), Malate, Manila (0922-812-4511). Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Friday).
It’s easy to find hipsters in a house full of vibrant and quirky finds. Heima is not just a home and lifestyle store, their space is also used for workshops, events, and prenup photo shoots. They also encourage collaborations with emerging designers. For those who want to be different, this is paradise.
Insider tip: Drop by on a Saturday, when coffee is served by The Barista Box.
Heima Brixton is at Unit 103, 3 Brixton Street, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City (501-7588). Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday to Saturday).
Bangs Prime Salon by Tony and Jackey
Ever wonder where those brave souls with bubblegum pink hair get their tresses done? Well, some of them DIY. But why stress on all the bleaching, toning, and coloring all by yourself and regret the outcome when you can go to the people who do it best? Bangs Prime Salon by Tony and Jackey has done amazing ombres and vibrant hair coloring from pinks to ashes.
Insider tip: Ask for Monica for your color or styling needs at their SM Mall of Asia branch.
Bangs Prime Salon by Tony and Jackey is at 2/F South Parking Building (near SMX Bridgeway), SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. Visit their website for a list of branches.
Boho Sarapsody Bistro
Put together by friends who love art and music, Boho Sarapsody feels like stepping into your barkada’s home. Going to this indie-joint would be a challenge because it’s inside a residential area, but that’s the charm of it. The walls are filled with drawings, scribbles, and artwork. The regulars? An eclectix mix of musicians and artists.
Insider tip: Aside from the usual live acoustic music, they also hold quiz nights, movie nights, and stand-up comedy.
Boho Sarapsody Bistro is at 272 Ermin Garcia Street, Cubao, Quezon City (0917-994-7563). Open from 7 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. (Tuesday to Sunday).
Van Gogh Is Bipolar
The owner, Jetro, has bipolar disorder himself, which prompted him to change his diet to help stabilize his mood swings. This is the wellness regime that the restaurant is about. You leave your shoes at the front door, and along with it, all your negative energy. The full course meal is an unorthodox experience that all bohemian souls keep coming back to.
Insider tip: Read a book! Have an open mind. The menu is a mystery as it changes from time to time.
Van Gogh is Bipolar is at 154 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City (0922-824-3051). Open from 6 p.m. to 12 p.m. every day except Tuesdays.
Vinyl records and handcrafted beverages? It's hipster even if it doesn't want to be and with the amount of vintage memorabilia used to decorate the place, it's safe to say that the label doesn't bother the owners or their patrons. The corner café inside a mall is more about music than anything else and they even host intimate gigs.
Insider tip: They have a cute barista who goes by the name of BP Valenzuela. You might've seen her in Wanderland, entertaining a modest amount of fans.
Satchmi Store is at 4/F Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Photos from the establishments’ official websites and Facebook pages; Keisha Go (Cubao X) and from the SPOT archives.