I always feel like I’m in a different country whenever I go around the neighborhood of Poblacion in Makati. Barangay Poblacion in the old downtown area feels like a backpacker red light district, similar to Bangkok’s Khaosan Road or Cambodia’s Pub Street. The food choices in the neighborhood have wide international appeal, from small Korean joints to biker bars serving Indian cuisine.
Most restaurants, bars and clubs buzz with activity until the early hours of the morning while some establishments remain open 24 hours a day. For first-time foreign and domestic tourists in Manila looking for a hip place for night life and bars with unique character, Brgy. Poblacion would probably be your best bet.
Unlike mall-based restaurants or neighborhood food trip destinations where restaurants close pretty early, you can get free-flowing booze here late at night. Aside from mainstream Pinoy beers, international beers are widely available and there’s a rising number of bars serving local craft beers here. Here are a few you can check out.
Alamat Filipino Pub + Deli
Local craft beer, Pinoy cocktails and reinvented street food take center stage in this bar inspired by Philippine folklore. Traditional Filipino food like Kare-Kare and Tokwa’t Baboy are served in skewers and there’s a wide range of sausages including sisig, bopis, dinuguan and adobo and salted egg sausages.
Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli is at 2/F 5666 Don Pedro Street Barangay Población, Makati City. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 6PM-2AM, Sundays, 6PM-12MN.
One of the most popular restos in the area is El Chupacabra, a Mexican-American restaurant serving street tacos, barbecue and beer. This casual joint used to be just an open street diner with no air-conditioning until they opened an extension called La Cueva del Chupacabra (‘cave of chupacabra’). Try their Carnitas, Horchata and Aguas Frescas.
5782 Felipe Street cor Polaris St, Poblacion, Makati. Open Monday – Wednesday, Sunday 2 pm – 12 MN; Th-Sa 2PM – 2AM.
The Filling Station
An eccentric American diner where every corner is just filled with life-size superhero figures and vintage memorabilia. They specialize in milkshakes and cakes, but have lots of food options you can enjoy any time of the day. This makes an interesting stop just for the overwhelming interiors alone.
5012 P. Burgos Street, Poblacion, Makati City 1210. Open 24 hours a day.
Joe’s Brew / House of Joe’s
House of Joe is a steampunk-themed bar serving some of the finest quality craft beers in the Philippines. You can get their signature bottled beers like Fish Rider, Sierra Madre, 34th Pursuit IPA, Soothsayer and SunSweeper or enjoy a selection in a beer flight sampler. Appetizers include chili lime wings, beef brisket and homemade bacon (from Holy Smokes BBQ next door).
5834 Matilde Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Le Cafe Curieux
A French-owned bar and bistro that has a wide liquor selection. They distill their own rums in a range of infused flavors. You can hang out in the grungy front bar or head back to the open-air space with sofas and a dining area to feast on delicious French cuisine. Live music and bands appear once in awhile. Good for those looking for a late night international crowd.
Bel-Air Soho Polaris corner Badajos, Makati
H & J Sports Bar (formerly Heckle & Jeckle)
A favorite expat hangout in the Jupiter and Burgos area in Makati City, H & J Sports Bar serves a mix of Western and Indian cuisine (prepared by an Indian chef) and a wide international liquor selection. The bar has multiple TV screens displaying different sports games and a casual laid back atmosphere. It’s right across El Chupacabra, so it’s hard to miss.
Felipe corner Polaris Street, Makati City.
Junction Hostel’s in-house cafe which serves out of a container van. At night, the bar serves a selection of “Junc Food” – Pinoy street food with a gourmet twist including and a selection of imported beers like Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Heineken.
Annex Matheus Building, Gen. Luna Corner, Don Pedro Streets, Barangay Poblacion
Bravo Sports Bar & Pivo Praha
Bravo Sports Bar doubles as a microbrewery for Pivo Praha, a Czech-style beer brewed in Manila. Located right across Makati City Hall, this bar is in the far end (but still within the geographical territory) of Brgy. Poblacion away from the more popular strip of restaurants. Bravo Sports Bar serves affordable and great tasting beer, good food and the atmosphere is generally more quiet and uncrowded.
Bravo Best Foods Restaurant/Sports Bar & Pivo Praha Microbrewery. 1331 Angono Street, 1208 Makati. (right across Makati City Hall)