Bottoms Up: The Best Craft Beer Bars in Manila
The local craft beer scene is indeed picking up, with local breweries expanding their boozy lineups to display creativity, complexity, and depth. In response, patrons are quick to flock to craft beer bars dotted around the Metro for their fix of bottled and on-tap brews.
According to the Craft Beer Association of the Philippines (CBAP), the craft beer boom in the country started in 2015. Since then, the group has signed over 60 local breweries nationwide that carry a collective of over 200 variants. Almost half of the group’s affiliated breweries are based in Metro Manila cities, including Makati, Parañaque, Taguig, and Quezon City.
The thrust of CBAP is simple: to promote and protect the culture of Philippine craft beer brewers, to educate consumers on the diverse beer selection, and to ultimately build a community of brew enthusiasts. The group itself is extremely supportive of each other, and they drink each other's concoctions.
At Esquire, we made it our mission to uphold this pursuit by first giving you a crash course on beer, and now, rounding up a few key craft beer bars where the more refined beer aficionado can have a go at a wide assortment of the best brews available, and then some. This list is not ranked.
1| The Perfect Pint
At the helm of The Perfect Pint are the Tempongko brothers, Alec, Raymond, and Noel, who have taken a liking to pairing their 22 in-house brews with a comprehensive lineup of grub they designed with the help of chef Gene Gonzalez. Just last month, the Pint celebrated its fifth anniversary in the business by introducing five new beer variants that feature familiar but surprising elements, including peppers, coffee, and oats. Ring up its Beer Flight, your choice of four sample brews on tap, for an assortment of flavor profiles in one sitting.
- Black Mamba Stout
- Legally Blonde Ale
- Blushing Irish Red Ale
- Holy Grail D-IPA
Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City; Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
2| The Bottle Shop by Global Beer Exchange
It’s easy to get lost in The Bottle Shop’s curation of craft beers—it has several from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines in its arsenal. Jim Araneta’s abode is one of the pioneers of craft beer in Manila, boasting over 100 brews served either in bottles or on tap. The Bottle Shop’s comprehensive lineup of some of the best beers you can find in Manila may seem daunting, but the menu organizes them according to brewery, Alcohol By Volume (ABV), and International Bitterness Unit (IBU)—or classifications by location, alcohol content, or bitterness level, respectively—to help you decide on the beverage suitable to your taste and fancy. It's more of a shop than a craft beer bar, but its servers are well-versed in the language of beer and are ready to answer queries from both newbies and connoisseurs who drop by.
- Summer Session Blonde
- Fuller’s Brewery London Porter
- Rogue Ales’ Mocha Porter
- Yours Double IPA
Net One Center, 26th Street Corner 3rd Avenue, Taguig City; Tritan Ventures Building, Paseo De Magallanes, Makati City
3| Tap Station
This small pub is a fast favorite for a no-fuss night of drinks and finger food amidst a sports bar setting. It features about 25 local and international craft beer variants that you can enjoy with easy bites: pizza, sausages, and spicy chicken wings. The Tap Station’s selection is primarily anchored on Philippine, Swedish, and German brews that range from 3.5 percent ABV to a high of 11 percent. Do watch for occasional promos offered on weekdays when you can enjoy buy one, get one deals on some beers.
- Shut Up IPA
- Noa Pecan Mud Cake Imperial Stout
- White Bulldog Wheat IPA
Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Taguig City; Circuit Lane, Ayala Malls Circuit, Makati City; 1313 Adriatico Corner Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
4| Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli
Known for keeping local flavor in the spotlight is a Poblacion hot spot, Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli, which celebrates not just Filipino craft beers, but also modern twists to well-loved local street food. Pair your drink selection with a serving of its salted egg chicken skin or grilled hito skewers, then seal your meal with a slice of Chocnut chocolate cake. If you are in the mood for drinks other than beer, check out its cocktail menu where you can find fun beverages crafted with native ingredients such as sampalok, taho, lambanog, and barako coffee. At Alamat, you get the complete Pinoy vibe and experience—from the unique craft beer selection, to the gastronomic grub lineup, down to the music blaring in the background.
- Chavit Belgian Ale
- Mountain King IPA
- Brew ng Ina Mo (Big Bad Brew)
5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City
5| Joe's Brew
It was in 2013 when Joe’s Brew entered the craft beer community. Marco, Joey, and Mica Viray, regarded as the “divine trinity,” started offering their first batch of brews at their mom’s food truck. Soon after, the Virays set up a craft beer shop at one of Poblacion’s more discreet streets. At Joe’s, you can gawk at the steampunk-themed interiors conceptualized by artists Joseph Viray and Franco Perez, and a small tasting room where you can see brew masters in action. They offer a Brew Tour during working hours, but if you’re up for just a chill hangout with friends, do keep your eyes peeled for original craft beers, which include its flagship, the Fish Rider Pale Ale. Drink this with some bar chow.
- Fish Rider Pale Ale
- Sierra Madre Wheat Ale
- 34th Pursuit IPA
- Sunsweeper Double IPA
5834 Matilde Street, Poblacion, Makati City
6| Pedro Tap House
Also on Matilde Street in Poblacion is the Pedro Tap House, home of Pedro Brewcrafters beer on tap. The Laguna-based Pedro microbrewery came to be after countless weekend brewing sessions among friends. In late 2018, the friends opened their Makati craft beer bar to the public, and since then, they've offered signature brews and bites, including the crowd favorite, Endless Summer Wheat Ale (7 percent ABV), a crisp, citrusy beer with hints of toasted nuts. Like Joe’s Brew, Pedro also conducts brew tours on arrangement.
- Endless Summer Wheat Ale
- Procrastination Pale Ale
- Wandering Wonderer IPA
5910 Matilde Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Yet another Poblacion go-to is Polilya, a posh hideaway set in the neighborhood’s Jacobo Street. Here you will find Engkanto craft beers on tap and a selection of cocktails (called “The Enchanted Eight”) infused with a bit of Engkanto beer. Complete your Polilya experience with bites of its “beer chow.” The Zen Chicken Nuggets (crispy Hainanese chicken strips) and Steak and Ale Pie have received rave reviews from regulars.
- Engkanto Pale Ale
- Engkanto Double IPA
- Bourbon IPA
- The Blonde Scotch
5658 Jacobo Street, Poblacion, Makati City
8| Nipa Brew Taproom & Brewhouse
The folks behind the Nipa Brew Taproom & Brewhouse are perhaps among the first to jump on the local craft beer revolution. Its flagship beer, Tropic Haze, is only one of its many home brews, all of which represent the team’s “various explorations into brewing and other local crafts.” In 2018, the owners opened the doors to their own taproom and brewhouse where they offer a wide selection of beers, including a collaboration with Chemistry professor Carlo Ng for a line called The Professor’s Brew. Don’t get lost in all of Nipa Brew’s hip aesthetics because beneath all the color is a promise of bold and wide-ranging flavor profiles with every sip of beer.
- Sunstoked Blonde Ale
- Tropic Haze Wheat Ale
- Drop Zone
Kamagong Street, San Antonio, Makati City
9| Spektral Beer Lounge
Set in a condominium in quaint Legazpi Village is Spektral Beer Lounge, a laid-back hangout perfect for meet ups with friends. Spektral constantly changes its tap list to surprise fans. Its craft beer selection showcases a range of light to rich flavors brought about by ingredients such as fruits, chocolate, and coffee. Swing by on a Friday to witness one of its Brewer’s Nights where it feature brewers front and center.
- Mango Brew
- Vanilla Bourbon Stout
- Bulul Pilsner Lager
- Simcoe Blonde Ale
The Beacon Condominium, Chino Roces Avenue, Legazpi Village, Makati City
10| 13 Ubay/ Elias Wicked Ales & Spirits Taproom
Raoul Masangcay is the brains behind Elias Wicked, a line of craft beer, spirits, and ciders. Elias is one of the newcomers on the Manila craft beer scene, establishing its turf at 13 Ubay Comfort Street Dining in Quezon City, the perfect spot for private meetings and events. Aside from its comprehensive lineup of in-house tap beers, Elias is home to Filipino comfort food including chicken inasal, twice cooked ribs, and prawns in aligue sauce. Friends in the south will be happy to know that Elias Wicked is also available at its taproom, located on Aguirre Avenue in Paranaque.
- Elias Pilyo IPA
- Elias Bad Blonde
13 Ubay Comfort Street Dining, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City; Elias Wicked Ales & Spirits Taproom, 29 Aguirre Avenue, Parañaque City
11 | Pierre's Craft Beer & Liquor Cellar
This Quezon City speakeasy rounds up our list of the best places for your craft beer fix in the Metro. It's known for serving high quality craft beers and cocktails at prices that won’t break the bank. You can find here unique craft beer from provinces including Cavite, Cebu, Pampanga, and Batangas. If you’re up for a post-drinks meal, a popular liempo joint is nearby for your ihaw needs.
- Cream Ale
- Vanilla Bourbon
- Bel Ale Blonde
GYY Building, Tomas Morato Street corner E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City