Drink

The Best Clubs in Manila (Where You Have Room to Dance. And Breathe)

We're at that age when we can't deal with crowds and heat.
IMAGE SAM LIM/INSTAGRAM dextertengph
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Accept it: for many of us, our party days are over. If you were born between the mid '70s to the late '80s, you are most probably too busy dealing with your real world problems to even have time for a decent drink. Your priorities have changed and your list of the best clubs in Manila now has to prioritize comfort. 

Every once in a while, though, you have to pick yourself up from the comforts of your couch, and allow yourself to let loose and relive those carefree days when any club was like the best club in Manila and you drink like a fish and dance like there's no tomorrow. Examples of those occasions are when your U.S.-based high school classmates are in town and you must “catch up”; when you just nabbed that huge promotion; or it's just one of these toxic weeks and you just have to blow off some steam. Slip on that nice blazer (or comfortable new kicks, if you like to keep it casual), gather your friends, and party, as they say, like it’s 1999.

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The Best Clubs in Manila For Today's Bar-Hopping Gen Xer

While “clubbing” does entail you to go to an actual club, many of the best clubs in Manila now offer the same rowdy, good time on a smaller scale. This is something that actually appeals to the “slightly” mature crowd. Music you can groove to is a must. Good bottle service is a definite plus. At this point in our lives, we have little patience for big, sweaty crowds. More than anything, good ventilation and privacy are things we are willing to spend on during these rare nights out.

So stock up on paracetamol and Bengay for the morning after, because if you end up in these places, it will definitely be a long and fun night.

1| Revel at the Palace

This “lounge and luxury club” continues to be one of the biggest and best clubs in Manila’s party scene. While it does attract a young-ish crowd, the pricey bottles and VIP tablesthose plush velvet banquet seats with a “host” keeping everyone’s scotch glass freshare something mostly men or women of a certain age can afford. Revel lives up to its name by providing a decadent venue for that rare night of debauchery. 

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Tip: Revel offers special packages for birthdays or special events.

The Palace, 11th Avenue corner 38th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 0917-550-8888.

2| Cove

There is nothing more massive in Manila at the moment than this gargantuan beach club and nightclub in ritzy casino hotel Okada. The luxe tropical-themed party palace is frozen in eternal summer beneath a temperature-controlled dome. That alone awards it a spot on Manila's best clubs list. Because the place is so huge, ventilation is optimal and there are enough VIP and VVIP tables to go around. Book a cabana for unparalleled privacy and the ultimate tito bragging rights.

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Tip: Cove brings in some of the best DJs and musicians, and sometimes they’re favorites from our era. Last thing we heard, Fat Boy Slim will be in town. That’s one act worthy of a massive hangover, right? 

Okada Manila, New Seaside Drive, Entertainment City, Parañaque; 02-555-5757.

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3| Bank Bar

Fine, it’s not a club, but even if the entrance is concealed inside one of BGC’s 7/11s, it’s not a speakeasy either. The surprisingly cavernous space is home to the areas well-dressed habitués and industry bigwigs looking for a break from the mundane. The regulars like to come early after a long day to mull over their troubles or celebrate small triumphs with a stiff drink or a well-crafted cocktails. Show up a bit later and the vibe is definitely more upbeat with the music turned up.

IMAGE: Sam Lim
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Tip:

  • If your back is willing, the best Bank Bar seats are by the bar so you get to see all the action. The Moment Group also regularly invites guest mixologists and bartenders to create special cocktails. 
  • Ask for the Bartender's Special during Happy hour (weekdays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.). 

RCBC Corporate Center, 26th and 25 Streets, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 0917-857-0852

4| Coconut Club

Coconut Club is best known for having some of the best deals in BGC. Despite the relatively cheap liquor and casual vibe, it does attracts a fun, eclectic clientele that is looking for something more laidback and easygoing. The age group varies depending on the evening’s playlist, but with millennials having developed an appreciation for “retro” '80s and '90s music, you never really know what interesting characters will show up. It's only fitting that one of the best clubs in Manila is next door to one of the best Filipino restaurants as well. Move on over to Friends and Family if you need a post-drink meal.

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Tip: Remedy those hump-day blues with “Baewatch” Wednesdays, hosted by Nico Arbo. DJs Skratchmark and Jess Milner make you feel alive again with '90s and early 2000s pop, hip-hop, and R&B.

Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 02-621-3222

5| Nokal

The three-storey townhouse has all the creature comforts under one roof, which is something not often found in Poblacion. The ground floor serves not just drunk food, but also food that is universally good. When it’s early, the AC is arctic-cold, which is a good thing when the place starts to fill up with warm bodies (a lot of people come to this club). Come early or reserve a table on the second floor, a space that is equal parts neighborhood bar and cocktail lounge. For those who have not kicked the habit, smoking is allowed on the al fresco top floor. 

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Tip: Sometimes, Manolet Dario mans the decks. We know he’s the man.

Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati; 02-751-2790

6| Kartel

The roof deck bar on top of Dr. Wine is quite the Poblacion hotspot thanks largely to its relaxed vibe and mostly mature guests. The banquet seats and modulated music allow for conversation without straining yourself. It pays to be early on weekends to score a table and watch the sunset, or just call and reserve. That’s what grown-ups do. Also, the party ends at 2 am sharp so there is a slimmer chance of you going overboard (literally and figuratively.)

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Algiers Street, Poblacion, Makati; 0917-563-8811

7| Versus Barcade

This must be your 14-year-old self’s dream come true because it brings back all those fun memories hanging out at Circus! Circus in Robinson’s “Galle” or Glico’s at Quad. But, this time, with booze. Versus has all your favorite arcade video games, pinball machines, and more. The bar menu is just as nostalgic with silogs, chicharon, and kwek-kwekthe same stuff you probably used to order with your high school allowance.

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Tip: If you prefer to be around people in your age group, come on a Monday. Promoter Nico Arbo puts Gen Xers at ease with “Chill Night Mondays” and DJ David Ardiente playing hits from the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s. 

G/F Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 0995-554-1412

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About The Author
Jaclyn Clemente Koppe
Chinkee writes and eats for a living. By living, she means cake. Or steak. When she's not eating, she's running her own blog-shop, OneBigBite.com.
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