9 New Bars in Manila for a Fun Night Out
At Esquire, we’ve had our fair share of (mis)adventures in the bar scene. But despite the emergence of hundreds of watering holes across Manila, you’d be happy to know that there are many more undiscovered spots, each one promising patrons fun times worthy of a “bottoms up!”
And, with Christmas just around the corner, along with the get-togethers that come with the season, we sure are hopping on the merry train by having a round, maybe two, of drinks in these hotspots that take nightcaps very seriously.
1| The Den
If you’re up for a classy night out after work, Makati Shangri-La’s new cocktail lounge, The Den, is a good choice for a round of drinks and Chinese specialties such as duck wraps, fried wontons, and fish skin laced with salted egg. The sexy speakeasy is tucked inside the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace, and is home to an original cocktail selection crafted by Shangri-La’s beverage manager, Clayton Mumar, and guest bartender, Kalel Demetrio of Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen, a Poblacion favorite.
- Sirena Dry Gin Imperial Mojito
- China Town
Makati Shangri-La, Makati Avenue, corner Ayala Avenue, Makati
2| Ms. Gee Hong Kong Kitchen & Bar
This Poblacion newbie is the little sister of Hong Kong-themed Katipunan bar, Lan Kwai. Like Lan Kwai, Ms. Gee (a play on the term MSG) proves it can go beyond the usual bar chow with creative spins on Cantonese-style favorites like duck, hakaw, and roast delicacies shine. It offers an inventive range of cocktails—from tea-infused gin and tonics, to remastered classics, to specialty mixes unique to the hip hideaway. If you’re looking for a pre- or post-game spot where both food and drink are top-notch, Ms. Gee is a strong contender.
- Drunken Master
- Ni Hao Negroni
- Jacky Chan
5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati
3| Buccaneers Rum & Cocktails
The folks behind this certified tito bar in Poblacion are no strangers to the bar scene. Ulysse Jouanneaud, who previously crafted Shangri-La at The Fort’s cocktail offerings, teamed up with French sommelier Vincent Landais and Simon Cote of wine bar Le Bistro Du Dr. Wine, for Manila’s first rum bar. At this pirate ship-themed tavern, over 180 rum varieties take center stage. We especially like that each glass showcases Jouanneaud’s strong suit: creating a striking balance between delicate and punchy, sweet and tangy.
- La Batanga
- La Sayona
- The Treasure
5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati
If you’re familiar with the Tambai Alley in the Poblacion neighborhood, Panaginip must have surely made it to your radar. The cool, new speakeasy is best known for its selection of whisky and other spirits, which you can enjoy in a chill, vintage setting while listening to jazz, blues, and Motown music. For an elevated experience, do take your drinks to go with a helping of the bar’s bestselling oysters.
- Slumber Party
5779 Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati
5| Bang! Bang! Bar
It’s the green plastic gun fixture and plush velvet lounge chairs that first greet you upon entry at this Viet Cong-inspired bar, setting the tone for the bar’s vibe. Located on the second floor of Chef Mikel Zaguirre’s VBQ Vietnamese BBQ & Hot Pot, Bang! Bang! extends the chef’s fascination with Vietnamese cuisine as evidenced by the bar’s carefully curated selection of food and drinks. Cap off the night with your choice of cocktail, each one taking inspiration from distinctly Asian tastes and aromas. Of the 13 boozy concoctions on the Bang! Bang! menu, we’re especially interested in its spiked milk tea, which comes complete with pearls!
- Dear Cheenie
- MILF Tea
- Pride and Tonic
4969 Guerrero Street, Poblacion, Makati
6| Prima Facie
Prima Facie is best known as “the bar within a bar.” Find this neat nook concealed inside Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant, another favorite in the Tomas Morato area for its selection of wines and bar bites. After a pre-game at Vitto’s, do come through Prima Facie and witness the occasional bar takeover where esteemed bartenders from all over the metro dish out interesting takes on classic drinks for every fancy.
- F Chicks
114 Scout Lozano Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City
7| WYLD Kitchen x Bar
Chef Kenn Gonzales is to thank for WYLD Kitchen x Bar. At the chef’s humble neighborhood bar, patrons get a taste of the Colorado wilderness, a spread of delicious comfort food, and an even better assortment of specialty cocktails and booze. WYLD’s imaginative cocktail lineup, in particular, is what will keep it on the map. After all, it isn’t every day when you encounter drinks that use ingredients such as caramelized ampalaya, camote syrup, and curry powder.
- Flora x Fauna
- Wyld in the Tropics
The Grandia Place, 143 Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City
8| Black Rabbit Kitchen And Bar
The fact that this bar is near several schools and universities is telling of the kind of crowd you can expect. True enough, Black Rabbit Kitchen and Bar might just be a steady favorite among the young(er) crowd who get a kick out of the simple things in life: good music and company, amazing chow, and lots and lots of booze. If it is your first time to swing by Black Rabbit, do sample its cocktail towers and pair them with a handful of BBQ pulled pork nachos or chicken wings.
- Rabbit’s Bite
- Rabbit’s Foot
299 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
9| Loft by Unit 27
Fans of the famed Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Café, which first set up shop in Bonifacio Global City before relocating to Eastwood City, will be pleased to know that the café-bar is now back, fresh and revamped as Loft. Though the bar got a minor makeover, it still keeps to its original format as an all-day brunch café and an all-night house party spot. On Wednesdays, Loft hosts “Why Not Wednesday?”, a game night where winners get to enjoy even more alcohol, and on Thursdays, the bar's setlist is centered on Korean Pop, so guests get special deals on soju.
- Old Fashioned
- Red Bull Blue Vodka
Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig