11 Chill Bars For The Retired '90s Party Animal
Walking around in crumpled corporate attire and sensible shoes, they look just like everyone else now, but many years ago, they were different. They were wild and rebellious, fighting against society's normas and parental curfews in baggy pants and tops held together by dental floss. All grown up, those '90s party animals are rightfully weary of late nights and have settled nicely into adulting.
Our idea of a good time might have shifted with our priorities. Work responsibilities have zero tolerance for hangovers (which, these days, only go away after a day or two); Food is not an afterthought but a necessity to avoid aforementioned casualty; and, on those nights when the novelty of a night out in the town proves unavoidable or too tempting to resist, most of us struggle with keeping our eyes open past 11. Plus, the inconveniences we used to tolerate that come with clubbing—cramped spaces, overpriced drinks, hot bodies with bad attitudes—we just have no patience for them anymore. At our age, we already know what we want, and that's mostly to be left to our own devices or to enjoy the company of those we like.
Luckily for us, there are quite a number of establishments that cater to the retired partyphile, for those times we need to blow off steam or momentarily escape parental duties. There's something here for everyone, because at this point in our lives, this pocket of free time is precious and we refuse to compromise. For the harassed parent, strung-out executive, mind-numb creative, aging free-spirit—we got you covered.
The speakeasy along Jupiter Street might be hard to spot, but one visit is all it needs to make an impression. Fronted by hotdog purveyor Lazy Bastard, a secret door leads you into the dark, sexy, '20s Parisian-inspired joint. ABV has its own food menu that goes exceptionally well with the craft cocktails; the dim lights and subdued decor allows for either conversation or quiet contemplation. A plus for those who want an easy escape? The phone reception is pretty bad, which is actually quite a luxury if your boss tends to be digitally "clingy."
ABV is at 22 Jupiter Street, Barangay Bel-Air, Makati City.
The Ortigas area is known to be chill, allowing for more relaxed lounging and drinking. While Sapphire Bloc has quite a few laid-back bars to choose from (including the very Gen-X Cable Car), The Stockpile seems to be the preferred neighborhood haunt. Cocktails are not particularly their strong suit, so do stick to cold beers which they have in abundance. Perfect with their brick oven pizzas.
Stockpile is at G/F Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Street, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
High atop the 45th floor of Marco Polo, Vu Bar has an unobstructed view from Meralco Avenue all the way to the hilltops of Antipolo. The prices here are quite friendly by hotel standards, and the place has an almost nostalgic '90s vibe that is highly relatable to "people of a certain age." It's a great place for an office party, or even just to unwind after a long day with a glass of wine and live music.
Vu Bar is at 45/F Marco Polo Ortigas, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.
A collaboration between Jean Paul and Trish Cheung of Paseo 59C and Kian Kezemi (Persia Grill, Kite Kebab Bar, Lobo Filipino Tavern), Wokby4900 answers the demand for decent hangover food in the area by dishing out hot, flavorful rice and noodle bowls. The relaxed setting is more tropical than urban, transforming the co-working space during the day into a fun watering hole by dusk. While Poblacion is generally more of a millennial stomping ground, Wokby provides a slightly more mature and easy-going respite for 30-somethings in need of a drink (their cocktails are cheap and quaffable) and some pretty descent meat on sticks.
Wokby4900 is at 4900 Durban Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City.
Do not immediately write off this happening Makati nightspot. If you come early enough—say, just as it opens around 5 p.m.—the calming strains of classic blues, high-ceilings, and pretty garden-like setting is quite serene. Bar chow such as the chorizo popcorn and Buffalo chicken skin will help you not to get sloshed on the buy-1-take-1 cocktails. Last time we checked, happy hour is until 10pm, which is perfect for those of us who need to be in bed by 11.
20:20 is at La Fuerza Building Chino Roces Extension, Makati City.
The drinks here are solid, and at our age, we just want things to be done right. Award-winning mixologists call Long Bar home so sit on one of their rather comfortable stools, eat the free peanuts, and enjoy the show. A rather diverse food menu keeps guests energized, which they need especially on Thursdays when there is live music. If you're lucky, they just might be playing U2 and Madonna covers.
Long Bar is at G/F Raffles Residences, Ayala Center, Makati City.
This place is for those whose love for food and drink has gotten serious. Chef and owner Miguel Vecin makes sure his guests get the most authentic Basque culinary experience they can get on this side of the equator. In fact, he just came back from culinary school in San Sebastián, Spain, for a certificate course despite the already raging success of both Bar Pintxos in Alabang and BGC. Alcohol-wise, the sangrias here are arguably the best in the city, and the bar is practically groaning under the weight of that rapidly growing gin collection.
Bar Pintxos has branches at G/F Gesu Building, Don Jesus Boulevard, Alabang, Muntinlupa City; G/F Fairways Tower, 5th Avenue corner McKinley Road, BGC, Taguig City.
With the current traffic situation, residents of suburban Alabang rarely venture much farther north than BF. With this demand for a proper neighborhood hangout, the Ralph's liquor store in Molito eventually set up tables and chairs where their clients can pop open their bottles of wine or liquor and have a relaxed night out with friends. There are some cheese and cold cuts available, but the nearby Shakey's is a favorite; both Säntis and Brera Deli are just within walking distance.
Ralph's is at G/F Molito, Madrigal Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Downtown and Halsted
Conceptualized to be vibrant and artistic, the Forbestown, BGC restaurant and bar offers equally creative food and drinks. They open at lunch, so early drinkers can enjoy the quieter industrial space surrounded by calming greenery. Chef Marco Legasto makes sure guests are well-fed with innovative Asian dishes like adobo gyoza, while cocktails by Singapore-based bartender Jason Grey keep them lively and inspired.
Downtown and Halsted is at G/F Burgos Parklane, Forbestown Road, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
This tiny bar in White Plains was built specifically for the retired party animals of the area. It really is just a tiny cube, large enough to house the owner's vinyl collection and some bottles of the good stuff. No food here (and, no, you may not bring in that bag of Lapid's chicharon) save for some truffle popcorn to munch on while guests nurse their drinks. Regulars don't seem to mind- there are some eateries nearby in case of the munchies, or they come already fed.
78-53-86 is at 42 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City.
Fireside by Kettle
People usually come for the food, but many don't realize that they should hangnout at Fireside for happy hour and after-dinner drinks. Chef Chiloy Santos is both wine aficionado and budding mixologist (with help from consultant Larry Guevarra), making sure that there are bottles of decent, affordable wines and fruity libations to accompany his exceptional brisket sisig. Both white and red sangrias are highly-drinkable, while the tamarind margarita offers an exotic twist to a classic.
Fireside by Kettle has branches at SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City; Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City; Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.