Best Bars in Manila
“May the most you wish for Be the least you get.”
Manila has probably one of Asia's finest bar scenes for fun and entertainment and certainly one of the cheapest. From the upscale and sophisticated drinking haunts of the five star hotels to the go-go bars of Makati and everything in between, you would be hard put not to enjoy a night out on the town.
Where you start probably depends on where you stay. If you are in the Makati area then the bars around P.Burgos and up towards the Rockwell Center are probably the place to head for if you want an evening of fun with other expats.
One of the most popular haunts from which to start is the "Heckle & Jeckle" just off from Jupiter Street. It is home to the local chapter of the "Mad Dogs" and so can get quite raucous at times but the beer is cheap enough, the food is good and there are a couple of good pool tables. The place is always crowded, often with girls heading to or from work in the bars around the area. If your mood is for a quieter more easy going establishment then head up the road to one of our favorites "JJ's". This is a small upscale bar that caters almost exclusively to foreigners and has something of the atmosphere of a club. But people there are friendly and if you are new in town you will not be stuck for someone to chat with.
Between these two pubs are the go-go bars of Makati which cater to all tastes provided you have the budget. Best not to take credit cards and limit your cash stake if this type of entertainment is in your schedule. Everybody has their favorites but for us the "Mogambo" and "Wild Wild West" are two of the best. Avoid the Bandido like the plague - management problems last time we went there and as for the others they are much the same.
It is difficult to make recommendations for dining - Manila simply offers so many options. The Greenbelt area of Makati along Legazpi Street has a fine selection of restaurants at moderate prices as does the Ayala Center and Glorietta area adjacent. There are many to choose from but one of our favorites is the Outback Steakhouse at Glorietta 4. This is actually an American restaurant chain but you would never know it; downstairs offers a lively bar and cold beer at reasonable prices while upstairs offers a good selection of steaks and other fare and again at reasonable prices. Actually the choice of establishments is endless.
A stones throw along Makati Avenue is Jupiter Street which also offers a great selection of eating, drinking places, a number of which offer live music.
If you are in the Ermita/Roxas area of Manila then you may want to start the evening at the L.A. Cafe or, one of our favorites, the Slouch Hat. Both offer much the same but the ambience is totally different in each place. the one, big and noisy and the other quiet and homely. You pick the one to suit your mood. Alas, the bars of Ermita are no more but some of the old favorites can be found further down Roxas in Pasay City at a barn of an establishment known as the "EDSA Entertainment Complex". The biggest and probably the best is the "Cotton Club".
If your mood is quieter then you may want to head to the Hobbit House which has live entertainment of an evening in an atmosphere which is, shall we say, different.
In terms of dining in Ermita, then you can do no better than head off to Adriatico, a street that these days seems to be devoted to fine dining at reasonable prices.
Stay tuned and you will soon be getting our reviews of individual bars and restaurants.