Speakeasies where you can “party” in peace
Drink and be merry sans the crowd
Mar 20, 2019
Sometimes you just want to grab a drink but don’t really want to have to deal with the Friday night crowds. But there are times when drinking at home isn’t fun enough. The compromise? Head over to a speakeasy.
Now I know, in concept, we’re not really supposed to talk about speakeasies; that’s the charm of it. That it’s not supposed to be publicized. But because we’re all friends here (wink wink), I’m sharing with you six secret bars you can try out if you, like me, just want to grab a drink and enjoy it in peace, without having to think about screaming over loud, bass-boosted music, or squeezing through a crowd.
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Cubao Expo, Gen. Romulo Ave., Cubao, Quezon City
You know how usually commemorative photos get taken after the get-together? Well at this bar, you have to take the photos first before you even get to enter. Cubao Expo is home to this “little” red photo booth, beyond which is a moody speakeasy with drinks named after classic films.
2F Zentro Building, Kalayaan Ave., Makati
Inspired by the nightlife of South Korea’s upscale and trendy Gangnam district, The Odd Seoul is a dark, neon-lit space inside modern Korean restaurant Gaja. Inside Odd Seoul, you get treated to the nighttime view of Poblacion, Makati. Beyond the secret door (which you can only open by lifting a soju bottle along the wall), lies the other world of Gaja. Best to start at Gaja to get your fill of Korean dishes—the sous vide galbijjim is a must-try—before drinking the night away at the secret bar.
45 Guadalupe St., Morning Breeze Subdivision, Caloocan
While not exactly a speakeasy, SomethingSomething comes close: Tucked inside a residential area of Caloocan, the hole-in-the-wall bar features a menu with an assortment of influences. Quintessential American fare like chicken wings gets Asian twists through umakara or sweet-spicy glaze, while other bar staples like beer are made new with the addition of flavor, like their raspberry beer. It’s almost like anything goes at SomethingSomething, and for a spontaneous night out, isn’t that just fitting?
2F West, Katipunan Ave., White Plains, Quezon City
If your goal is to really sit back and unwind, this jazz bar in White Plains, Quezon City should be your next hang-out spot. 78-53-86 is a simple but sleek space, where you can enjoy any of their 9,000 vinyl records played on a restored ’50s sound system while sipping on handcrafted cocktails. Munch on some truffle oil popcorn while you’re at it.
(If you’re from the south, they also have a jazz bar in Salcedo Village, Makati called 78-45-33.)
W City Center, 30th St., cor. 7th Ave., Bonifacio Global City
Stuck in BGC on a Friday night but not up for the big clubs? Hide in one of BGC’s speakeasies, Nomu. It’s behind the black door at the back of the bright and healthy restaurant Nomi Matcha. Inspired by Japanese Zen gardens, the bar also features a number of special Japanese whiskey. Also try their signature cocktails, such as the Matcha Sour and the quirky Ducky Punch.
The Back Room
30th St., Shangri-la at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City
For a true speakeasy experience—where you’ll really have to look and ask around to find the spot—try finding The Back Room at Shangri-la at the Fort. Once you finally get there, you’ll get transported into the ’20s prohibition era, complete with velvet couches, glamorous Art Deco lamps, and even people in vintage dress. The highlight is their selection of more than 120 brands of gin. Try their house original: the Bee’s Knees. Also check out their selection of cocktails, which come with interesting conversation-starting notes clipped onto the glasses.
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