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Manila Secret Bars

March 05, 2018

Metro Manila has plenty of hidey-holes for a tipple or two, but we lift the curtain on the city’s most stylish secret bars – shh, don’t tell!

Through the unassuming 7-Eleven you go to discover Bank Bar, a vault of distressed walls and plush velvet spinning old-world charm and a creative tipples aplenty. One of Manila’s most fashionable secret imbibers, this house of liquor serves the gamut from absinthe to advocaat; the ‘Mariang Binastos’ made with local Don Papa rum is a particular fave with regulars.

A nostalgic ode to Prohibition-era New York, ABV (aka Alcohol By Volume) serves cocktails classic and bespoke, amid low-lit, old-school surrounds. Daring drinkers take on the absinthe pours, alternatively have one of the expert mixologists whip you up the house ‘The Road Less Travelled’, made with coconut-infused, aged Don Papa rum. We’ll take two, please.

Tucked at the back of same-named java joint, The Curator is spartan yet surprisingly cosy with its raw concrete-n-blond-wood fitout and ambient lighting. The focus here is well-executed craft pours, with regular guest appearances by industry bigwigs like award-winning Artesian alum Alex Kratena and Aki Eguchi, from Singapore’s Jigger & Pony adding extra kudos. The dinky venue size means reservations are a no-no, so go early or prepare to queue.

The only indication that The Blind Pig exists is a braille message on its door; feel your way inside to find a sultry, dim-lit den, host to a tempting range of custom potions whisked up by Milk & Honey-trained tenders. Discrete and intimate, take a date.

Priding itself on a remarkable drinks offering – spanning imported beers to craft cocktails – and a quirksome 1920s fitout, sibling sipper The Exit, is a tiptop choice for nightcaps with light bites from the Spanish-leaning menu. Pulls a hip crowd so book ahead or go early, especially on weekends. Cin cin!

Bank Bar / G/F / RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center / 26th & 25th St / Taguig / +63 917 857 0852 / 5pm-2am Mon-Fri, 8pm-3am Sat /
ABV / Basement / 22 Jupiter St / Bel-Air Village / +63 2 832 5330 / 5pm-late daily /
The Curator / 134 Legazpi St cor C. Palanca St / Legazpi Village / +63 916 355 4129 / 7am-late daily / @thecuratorcoffeeandcocktails
Blind Pig / 227 Salcedo St / Legazpi Village / +63 917 549 2264 / 6pm-late daily /
The Exit / G/F / Corinthian Plaza / 121 Paseo De Roxas / Legaspi Village / +63 2 551 1283 / 5.30pm-late daily