If the clubbing scene is too much for post-millennial you, there’s a new bar to try out where you can just hang and enjoy that '90s/2000s vibe. The group behind Yes Please, which includes Erwan Heussaff, designed the place to be a gentrified dive bar, complete with “clean” graffiti, neon lights, and a foosball game. The bar’s name itself harks from an 8-ball answer, which gives major throwback feels.
The DJ spins a mix of bossa nova, disco, funk, and the blues as guests imbibe cocktails with cool 90s pop references such as Devon Sawa, Maverick (from Top Gun), Tommy Lee, and that ubiquitous scent Drakkar Noir. Thursdays get really packed, Erwan says, as the DJ spins Nirvana and Coldplay.
He describes it as a “funky space with a serious bar”, patterned after what one would find in East NY. “In this area, we already have Valkyrie (Valk, for the party people) and the Pool Club, and these are clubs which have a large capacity, with tableside service and bottle service aimed at the higher spenders. Revel is a smaller space but it is still more for that market. What was missing in this complex is a smaller boutique bar concept with a lot of character that remains just that—a bar. It is never going to be a club, it never gets crazy.”
At Yes Please, you don’t need to dress up. You can come in shorts. “A lot of people come in, go to the bar and order, play foosball, and jump from table to table. It is not a big commitment. This is a place where people who don’t want to go out can go, because it is never tiring. That is how it differs from everything else here,” Erwan explains.
Better than Tinder
Since it opened about two weeks ago, the place has been packed, Erwan reports. “it’s a super-mixed crowd. When we were setting this up, we imagined it to be for people in their 20s, but on our first two nights, I saw people I haven’t seen in 10 years,” he chuckles. It’s so casual that you don’t feel tired or overstimulated.
This is a hangout place, where a guy can meet a girl or a girl can meet a guy, he grins. The way the tables are set up is that it allows you to have a vantage point of the whole room. You can also talk to someone interesting across the bar. The place is set up to be fluid in that people can just bump into strangers and strike up a conversation to meet new friends. “That is what a bar should be really about,” Erwan remarks.
Serious About Drinks
Since his first job was as a bartender, Erwan is serious about his drinks. While they may not be the bespoke types he serves at his Niner Ichi Nana concept, his cocktails are still something to buzz about. “We focused on 15 drinks and all of them have very strong characters,” he describes. When conceptualizing these, he wanted to come up with drinks they can roll out in a matter of minutes. “In large clubs, when the place is full, the quickest drink would be a beer or the basics like a Rum Coke. Here, we have cocktails that can be in your hand in about three minutes even if we are at full 140 capacity.”
The Mighty Mouse
He offers long drinks, a couple of Manhattan variations, something akin to the Moscow Mule, and he beams like a schoolboy as he talks about his new toy—a slushie machine. “I’ve always wanted one, but it was too expensive and it did not fit into the other concepts. Now, we have it here and I am serving Fro Yay, a frozen rose with a housemade sampaguita syrup; and a Carmen San Diego, which is an orange-forward Margarita. It’s super boozy, when you’ve had two, you’ll definitely go ‘whoa!’” he laughs.
Their food offerings are on the hefty side, he describes. One of their big meals is a Garlic Steak Rice, which comes complete with an egg. With age comes wisdom, he grins. “I wanted to make sure that people can come here at six and eat and have their drinks with their meal. I did this because that is what I do these days—I want to be able to have my dinner and drink, and go to sleep at 9.” To be able to accommodate this, the tables and the bar are wide enough to fit their plates.
On Spill-overs and Hangovers
Though the rules are relaxed at Yes Please, there is one standing rule that they follow. They never go over the capacity. “If the place is already packed, guests have to wait outside for an opening. The reason for this is that we want our 140 guests to have a good time and move around comfortably. Our system is 1:1, which means, if someone goes out then we let somebody come in. The wait can take about 10 minutes, and some people have complained initially, because it is so hot outside, but when they do get in, then they realize what we mean to do and they start enjoying themselves.”
Le Gaston: a charcoal aged wild turkey bourbon-based drink with syrup, orleans bitters, xocolat mole bitters, hickory-smoked and infused with coconut charcoal
Erwan says he takes his drinks twice week, due to the fact that as he hit 30, as his hangovers take three days to recover from. He gives his homemade hangover cure: “I make a shake with fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, fresh pineapple juice, cinnamon powder, and Maca, and I add a lot of water. That is what I drink. There is no real cure for hangover, but it will help with the symptoms and make you feel better. Working out is another way to help you bounce back. Sweating it out really helps.”
Yes Please! is at 11th Avenue corner 38th Street, Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig City; Instagram @yespleaseph; 0917-140-7777; open from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. except Sundays.