Remembering Nightlife In The Metro: Poblacion, Cubao Expo, BGC And More
When we recall how we spent our "pre-pandemic" lives outside, what we miss has little to do with drinking alcohol. Instead, it’s the opportunity to interact with our friends in these pubs around the metro.
Friday nights used to be so fun: people wrapped up at work, rushed to meet friends for dinner, and danced the night away. In Metro Manila, the nightlife scene was thriving; people unwind, let loose, and simply enjoyed spending time in different drinking hubs.
However, when COVID-19 hit the world last year, these once crowded places were suddenly filled with silence; nightlife in Manila has become a distant memory.
In this article, Tatler lists few of the most memorable hot spots and bars that we can’t wait to get back to.
Cubao Expo in the morning | Photo: Lakbay ng Lakan Wordpress
Cubao Expo | Photo: Wooden Canvas
Outside Today x Future in Cubao | Photo: CNN Philippines
Nickname(s): Cubao X, Expo
Location: Araneta, Cubao, Quezon City
What it's known for: Formerly known as the Marikina Shoe Expo, Cubao Expo is the home of artsy and offbeat establishments. When the clock hits 10pm, expect to see a bunch of youngsters gracing the place with their unique outfits and different coloured bucket hats.
The U-shaped compound is where the youth would go to thrift vinyl records, vintage stuff, and shoes in the morning; and drown themselves with liquor and fun memories at night.
Popular spots: Some of the popular drinking spots and establishments around the area are the Gold Digger record store; Fred's Revolucion; INT Bar; Chef’s Garage; and the recently shut Today x Future.
More from Tatler: Where To Drink and Be Merry: The Philippines' Best Bars of 2020
Bonifacio Global City (BGC)
The Back Room in BGC | Photo: Tatler Philippines
Bank Bar in BGC | Photo: Tatler Philippines
The Bowery's facade in BGC | Photo: Tatler Philippines
Nickname(s): High Street, The Fort, Global City, BGC
Location: South-east of Manila, between the cities of Makati and Taguig
What it's known for: After a busy day at work, people flock to BGC and get themselves a drink or two. The place is known as the "walkable city" because everything is within reach for people in the area.
Popular spots: Some of the popular pubs in BGC are Back Room which offers a sophisticated speakeasy in Shangri-La At The Fort; the "secret" Bank Bar that patrons can find behind a 7-Eleven convenience store; The Bowery, known for its great rotation of DJs; Hotel Bar hidden inside of Pinks; Elbert's Upstairs Bar tucked away inside of Mendokoro; and whisky bar, LIT.
Kartel | Photo: Tatler Philippines
Polilya | Photo: Tatler Philippines
Nickname(s): Pobla, Pobs, Pobz, Pob
Location: Adjacent to Rockwell, Makati
What it's known for: In the morning, the infamous Poblacion in Makati looks like a simple district with very few people walking on its streets. But when nighttime comes, people who visit this spot will find themselves surrounded by bright lights and immersed in a variety of music thanks to many buzzing restaurants and bars around the area.
Popular spots: Polilya (now closed) was a must-visit destination in Poblacion; Ms Gee most for the younger crowd, you'll hear hip hop & EDM all night; Run Rabbit Run, Tatler Dining's Best Bar for 2020, known for inventive cocktails, dim lighting and great service; Oto known for specialty coffee and cocktails and top quality sound system; Green Door an establishment that spins vinyl, hidden in the walk-up of one of the buildings; Nokal (now closed) which featured a three-level bar; Agimat and their Filipino inspired menu; Buccaneers which specialises in rum; and Dr Wine / Kartel rooftop for great views of Poblacion.
Escolta in daytime | Photo: Charles Datuin
Escolta in nighttime | Photo: Angela Davocol
The Escolta Bloc Party | Photo: Angela Davocol
Nickname(s): Queen of The Streets (1940)
Location: It runs parallel to the Pasig River, from Plaza Santa Cruz to Plaza Moraga and Quintin Paredes Street.
What it's known for: The wonderful street of Escolta does not only offer scenic views of its historic buildings; before the pandemic, it was a drinking hub that welcomed the youth with open arms. Most of the time, the street is filled with noise as it also hosts street parties and other events.
Popular spots/ events: In the heart of Escolta is Fred’s Revolucion where patrons can mingle with their friends, enjoy cocktails, and listen to music. The street found new popularity amongst visitors due to the bi-annually held Escolta Block Party.
The bloc party ran from morning to dawn. It featured cultural talks and workshops during the day, and a string of excellent DJ sets, live drum concerts, and even open-mic hip-hop sessions in the evenings.
St. Patrick's Kapitolyo | Photo: Zomato
Cocktails are served at St. Patrick's Kapitolyo in Pasig | Photo: Zomato
The Black Boar, Kapitolyo | Photo: Zomato
The facade of Siam Thai sports bar in Kapitolyo, Pasig | Photo: Food In The Bag
Location: Pasig City
What it's known for: If you're willing to brave the heavy traffic, Kapitolyo in Pasig City is one of the ultimate foodie destinations in Metro Manila. The small neighbourhood features private homes and establishments that have been turned into bars, restaurants, cafes, and speakeasies. There are also food parks around the area where you could drink and dine.
Popular spots: Among the most famous spots in the area are St. Patrick's Pub which features an Irish themed menu; The Black Boar which offers the legendary chocolate beer and Siam Thai that serves authentic Thai food.