We found the perfect coffee shop for creatives

IMAGE Majoy Siason

It’s no longer enough in this country, as it hasn’t been for a long, long time, that a restaurant, coffee shop, or bistro can simply serve excellent food and expect to thrive. For it to be relevant, buzzed about, talked about, Instagrammed, it needs to serve up a capital E. Experience.


Champorado Cebu-style

Addressing this phenomenon is Cup Fiction, the newly opened cafe-cum-library from blogger, actress, and musician Saab Magalona-Bacarro alongside husband and marketing exec Jim Bacarro, and business partners Kristia and Paolo Roco. Cup Fiction offers an experience that feels a lot like stepping into your incredibly tasteful, artistic friend’s living room, nursing a cup of coffee, and spending the afternoon ruminating on life, love, and the million other things that matter to Millennials.

Despite this, there is little of the pretense commonly (and, often, mistakenly) associated with specialty coffee shops in Manila. Rather than putting the spotlight on just the coffee (sourced from arguably one of the country’s best roasters, #YKW), or just the menu (designed in collaboration with Chef Sabrina Gan), what Cup Fiction adds to an already successful formula is to be a space where creativity is nothing short of fostered.

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At its core, Cup Fiction is a coffee shop and selling library, but it is poised to become much more than that. Customers immediately gravitate to the bookshelves that dominate one side of the coffee shop, picking up titles that range from Rowling bestsellers and to Star Wars compendia. The work of local artists also have a place at Cup Fiction and are available for purchase, as is all the furniture. Appetites are sated with a comfort food-inspired selection of snacks, mains, and desserts designed to go with both the coffee and the craft beer on sale; tables are large enough to spread out laptops, sketchpads, or some other preferred medium; and the significant space all but begs to play host to game nights, workshops, book clubs, and seemingly any collaborative iteration under the sun. Keeping true to its literary roots, Cup Fiction encourages customers to digitally share anything created within its walls, and their website has become a repository for poetry, prose, sketches, illustrations, and photography from first-time customers and regulars alike.


Part-owners Jim and Saab Bacarro


Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate cookies

The Kaiju, a Kitayama Wagyu sandwich with wasabi mustard and onions in a brioche.


Comforting Oliver's Grilled Cheese

Afternoon sessions

“It’s for people who need a space, basically,” says Jim. “It’s a space that can be open to interpretation: it can be whatever you want it to be. But what we want most is to give people a space where they can create, whether it’s with an Excel file or a canvas. You don’t have to be an artist to be here.”

At Cup Fiction, creativity is fuelled, literally and figuratively. And much like the eponymous Cheers or the iconic Central Perk, this cafe’s owners intend to make Cup Fiction a hub for artists, writers, yuppies, and students—a place where everybody knows your name, or at the very least, your username. “We urge people to drink coffee and create,” Saab explains. “I envisioned this space for the freelance artist like myself, because I’m always looking for a nice, quiet place to work and have coffee. I want to build communities here.”

Cup Fiction is at 141 White Plains, Quezon City; tel. no. 0917-539-7778; open daily from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

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Gaby Ignacio
Gaby is currently Features Editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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