Elbert's Upstairs Is the Secret Bar for Those Who Want to Drink, Unwind, and Have a Conversation

IMAGE Kai Huang

There is certainly no dearth of bars in BGC, but Elbert Cuenca’s new speakeasy offers something that isn’t common in the midst of The Fort ‘s constant hustle: a calm and stylish lounge that serves honest-to-goodness cocktails. A bonus: They won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

IMAGE: Kai Huang

Located above the popular ramen temple Mendokoro, Elbert’s Upstairs is a sophisticated one-room space designed by renowned hospitality architect Noel Bernardo.

Tufted sofas, modern club chairs, a suspended pressed tin ceiling, and mood lighting make it relaxed enough for after-work tipples but polished just so for a serious night on the town.

The long bar, adorned with a collection of the best whiskies, gins, and other popular spirits add drama and dimension. Playing in the background, the musings of Coltrane, Monk, and other jazz greats. It has quickly become a quiet favorite for those who recognize a good thing when they see it. Overall, its individual elements create a scene that is grown-up, confident, and cool.


IMAGE: Kai Huang

Elbert Cuenca IMAGE: Kai Huang

“I believe there’s a market out there that wants to unwind and de-stress, have a good drink and conversation without having to compete with loud music,” says Elbert. “Our drink menu is designed around being straight to the point, simple, and generous. We serve cocktails done with classic recipes. What makes them different is that we offer the customer his choice of base spirit from an extensive menu and then simply add P120 for the mixers to the price of the alcohol selected. We have a wide selection of gins and single malts and our standard pour is 45 ml per shot.”

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IMAGE: Kai Huang

The spirits menu is indeed vast and varied and while the wine and Champagne menu is limited, it offers an excellent selection from some from top makers.  A choice of whites and reds are offered by the glass, while a few of our favorite Champagnes, Bollinger, Billecart-Salmon, and Louis Roederer, are available in half-bottle formats.  

Elbert’s Upstairs does not offer the same abundance of choice when it comes to its bar chow but does take its cheese and charcuterie very seriously. A hand-cranked flywheel meat slicer sits in the corner of the room and will slice your prosciutto and other deli meats with precision to almost see-through thinness.

IMAGE: Kai Huang

Our recommendations for a classic Elbert Upstairs experience: Start with a half bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut, order charcuterie and cheeseboard selecting prosciutto San Daniele, Salami Ungherese Somerdale Il Trufelino, and poacher cheddar, finish with an Old Fashioned, and in between, enjoy a few Vesper martinis.

IMAGE: Kai Huang

IMAGE: Kai Huang

Icon Plaza, mezzanine level, unit 1B, Federacion Drive, BGC, 0915.484.9312

This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Alicia Colby Sy for TownandCountry.ph
Alicia Colby Sy is the former Executive Editor of Town & Country Philippines.
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