Here’s one I’ve been sitting on for awhile…
There’s a new craft beer (homemade beer) scene here in the Philippines!
Leading the pack is Katipunan beer. Starting out in a kitchen, this enterprise has grown by leaps and bounds, as this video will attest to:
Katipunan beer video
Where to get Katipunan beer
Second is Fat Pauly’s, a beer from Iligan I’ve been wanting to try, and finally did last Halloween. I had their Mont Lelong Smoked Mocha Porter and their Smashin’ Pumpkin 2013 Limited. The latter was better. Now I have to try their classic Iligan Pale Ale and their Ilaya Intensely Hopped Pale Ale.
Third is Bogs Brew from Bacolod. I like their Primo more than their basic. Try to get it at the Ilonggo fair they throw once a year here in Metro Manila.
The fourth is 7107 Islands beer. I had their summer beer which was copious but not that exciting.
And where can you get all these beers? At Global Beer Exchange, of course. Located in the Paseo de Magallanes Center, this unassuming bar is a mecca for local and foreign craft beers.
You can also get most of them from Anton’s High End Sari-Sari store in Bel Air Village (09178844111).
And so I’ve tried all the local craft beers… wait… what is this Craftpoint beer?
Back to the Barcave!
When I said in an earlier post that there were no backpacker bars in Manila, I was much mistaken, I just hadn’t been to THE backpacker bar of Manila, the famous Hobbit House. Staffed by little people, Hobbit House is not politically incorrect, in fact it provides employment for them.
Door leading to Hobbit House
According to their website, hobbithousemanila.com, it was founded in 1973 by Jim Turner, a Peace Corps volunteer, and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings. The whole bar is dripping with Lord of the Rings paraphenalia in a tasteful way. Most of it are the classic drawings, which makes it even cooler. And on Mondays and Fridays (accdg. to their website), Filipino rock legend Freddie Aguilar plays (ask him to play “Anak”), but even on other nights, other bands play most probably 70′s or 60′s golden oldies (but still damn good). And to make this bar even greater they serve 150 kinds of beer from all over the world (including my favorite, Trappistes Rochefort 10).
I was going over their website, and seems like they have a library on a side bar room, that is opened to the public. Probably mostly Lord of the Rings books, but I have to try to check it out, when I go back.
As their website says, they’re a hard Hobbit to break.
There are no backpacker bars in Metro Manila, but there are bars I would like to hang out in if I was a backpacker. The first one I would choose would be in the heart of the backpacker district in Malate, called Oarhouse. Oarhouse seems to have a multi-storied history at par with the legendary Penguin Café (which is now called Bar 1951, search for an earlier post). Owned originally by someone else, Oarhouse has moved to the corner of Malvar and Bocobo St (but more on the Bocobo side), and is now owned by Ben Razon. Got to meet the guy last night and he is a warm and intelligent individual. It is quite clear in his mind that he would like to continue the legacy of Oarhouse in Manila and wants that Malate vibe to thrive.
In Quezon City, there is the decade old Big Sky Mind, originally planned as a venue for art installations and other exhibits, Big Sky Mind has settled into the role of that friendly neighborhood bar. Hard to find if you’re not from Metro Manila, just tell the taxi driver to bring you to the corner of E. Rodriguez and Broadway in Quezon City. It’s just across McDonalds. There is no sign, but just look through the glass window to see the cheerful sight of people having a good time. Terran and owner, Cindy, will be the happy bartenders waiting to give you a drink.
In Makati, the classic place to go to for rock is SaGuijo on Guijo St. This place is hard to find, but I guess I’ll just have to refer you to the SaGuijo website to find it. The last stronghold of Filipino rock that I know of, go here if you want to watch the latest in the Filipino rock scene.
There are other bars: Handlebar for barbecues, Republiq, URBN, and Haze for clubbing, Cubao-X for art, The Collective on Malugay St. for hiphop, Murphy’s the Irish pub, all three Distillerys and Drafts for for the beer, Global Beer Exchange for the beer, Beers Paradise also for the beer, Cable Car for the nostalgia (and Cable Car rice and sisig rice) but the three on top are the ones I would recommend because personally, I’d hang out there.
On Malugay St., there is a place called The Collective it is “not”, the Cubao-X of Makati. I went there a few days ago, and it has a more hiphop, skater feel as opposed to the indie, alternative vibe.
Anyway, the first thing you have to know is where it is
I got this map from redisound.com.
To get there from Makati. Drive down up to the end of Ayala Ave., cross Buendia Ave. (Gil Puyat Ave.). The first street you can turn left at is Yakal St. Drive down to the end of Yakal and turn left at Mayapis St. , and then turn left right away on Malugay St. The Collective should be on your left. Parking is on the street.
7274 Malugay St.
San Antonio Village
Makati, Metro Manila
Let me tell you about Kalayo, the band formerly known as Pinikpikan. This is the hardest working band in the Philippines. They have been around for a looooooong time. I use to hear about them back in college. Anyway, they appeal to a certain backpacker set, those of you who like drums and world music. But I believe they have transcended that. And besides they’re the sweetest people you can know.
The best place to catch Kalayo is at their original haunt, Bar@1951, formerly known as Penguin Café and Bar or something like that. To get there, go to 1951 Adriatico Street in Malate. It’s near Union Bank. Just ask around.
You can also go to Saguijo in Makati. From the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) formerly known as the South Superhighway, turn left and go down Gil Puyat formerly known as Buendia. Turn left at Chino Roces, formerly known as Pasong Tamo. Turn right at Bagtikan. Turn left at Guijo St.
Or you can catch them at the newly-remodeled 70′s Bistro. Go down Edsa from Makati towards Quezon City. Take a right at Kamias. Take a right at Anonas. 70′s Bistro will be on your left.
Or just let me direct you to Kalayo’s Facebook site. Atak!
The new developing art area of the metropolis would be Maginhawa Street near UP. Probably the center of it right now would be Van Gogh is Bipolar with Black Soup beside it. Run by the hardcore backpacker of 6 countries for under 60,000 pesos fame, Jetro Rafael, it will be the nexus of the next indie scene in Metro Manila.
Down the street past the Mini-Stop, at 55 Maginhawa is the flophouse combination of Bookay-Ukay, Tomato Kick and a tatoo parlor.
There lots of mini-restaurants in the area catering to the UP crowd. Some of the ones’ that seem to be really popular are Pino, Sancho’s, and Kiss the Cook. There is also a Mexican restaurant and Good Burger (Home of the Good Burger, may I take your order). I guess that ‘s what makes this place, a fun place. There are so many affordable little places to go, that it will always be an adventure. And the good news is, the street is long enough, that it would still take a long time before it’s becomes corrupted, like, er, Malate and other art places did.
So far, I’ve mentioned places to eat and to shop. And I’ve mentioned a few of the hip bars of the city.
Distillery on Jupiter (my choice for American beers)
Beers Paradise on Polaris (not so hip, but used to have a good selection of European beers)
There are other bars and clubs, but I’m not privy to them. I’ll try to find a young buck or doe to tell you about it some other time.
The only real pub in Metro Manila: Murphy’s in Makati
Let me talk about the alternative bars of the metropolis.
Probably the best place to watch the alternative rock scene in Metro Manila is Sa Guijo in Makati. The second best would be 70′s Bistro in Anonas. And the third bar would be Penguin Bar in Adriatico Circle (whenever it chooses to open).
For just good old drinking in a community atmosphere, Big Sky Mind on E. Rodriguez Avenue, across the McDonalds.
For a more “indie” scene, Cubao-X in Cubao.
The “new” “indie” scene seems to be thriving now on Maginhawa street in Quezon City. At the epicenter seems to be Van Gogh is Bipolar.
But eventually you would leave Makati, and check out Intramuros and Fort Santiago that is in Intramuros, Manila.
You’d probably also want to check the hippest (but getting kinda old) Encore (formerly known as Embassy) Superclub in the Fort in Taguig City. Also in Taguig city is Bonifacio High Street. Here you will find the best bookstore in Manila, Fully Booked. Walk down Bonifacio High Street and you will come to Serendra. Walk down Serendra (Lulu Belle’s yummy yoghurt is here), and you will come across Market, Market. Second to Greenhills, this is probably the best place to get pearls, knock-offs and other cheap stuff. Greenhills, by the way, is located on Ortigas road in another part of Metro Manila. This is the traditional place to get cheap stuff. Hard to park though.
This entry is dated. For one thing, Embassy/Encore is gone. The party continues at Republiq in Resorts World across the NAIA 3 terminal.
Secondly, Fort Bonifacio is now named Bonifacio Global City. Find out more at my latest entry here.
This was updated on May 6, 2012.