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Hedonism and Manila’s nightlife go hand in glove long into the night. Many first-time foreigners are dazzled by Malate and Ermita’s nocturnal street scene, buzzing with lively clubs and gritty music alongside sleazy girlie bars. Meanwhile, dedicated clubbers and ice-cool cats are likely to be slinking off to Makati City or Quezon City to seek out drum and bass DJ sets or sip the latest imported vodkas. ClickTheCity (www.clickthecity.com) is a good source for nightlife listings in Manila. Tickets for cultural events in Manila are available from Ticket World (tel: 63 2 891 9999; www.ticketworld.com.ph) and Ticket Net (tel: 63 2 911 5555; www.ticketnet.com.ph).
Bars in Manila
Pioneering a trend for hidden, speakeasy-style cocktail bars in Manila, Blind Pig is located behind Stockton Place restaurant – look out for an unobtrusive sign in braille. Inside, the candlelit interior has dark wood furnishings and chandeliers. Make sure to reserve in advance, especially on weekends.Address:
Tel: +63 917 549 2264.
If Tolkien murals don’t hint at this bar’s theme, the ‘little people’ staffing this long-standing favourite certainly do. It’s a lively place in Manila with a dark interior popular with foreigners, and serving over 150 different beers. Listen to nightly music with a bluesy country and western twang.Address:
Tel: +63 2 521 7604.
Salon de Ning
Decorated the style of 1930s Shanghai, this ornate bar is a treasure trove of art deco delights. The main room has seating and an intimate bar (try the Ning Sling or house branded champagne) and features a jazz band most nights; there are also four themed rooms that can be privately hired for groups.Address:
Tel: +63 2 887 2888.
Ice Vodka Bar
Younger party crowd, both locals and foreigners, frequent this petit Manila bar with a minimalist interior. Inexhaustible range of Russia’s favourite tipple alongside nightly DJ sets after 2100 (except Sunday and Monday nights). Flavoured vodka shots dispensed from its crushed ice bar.
3rd Floor Greenbelt 3, Makati City, Manila
Tel: (02) 757 4472.
If Tolkien murals don’t hint at this bar’s theme, the ‘little people’ staffing this long-standing favourite certainly do. It’s a lively place in Manila with a dark interior popular with foreigners, and serving over 150 different beers. Listen to nightly music with a bluesy country and western twang.
1212, MH del Pilar corner of Arquiza Street, Ermita, Manila
Tel: (02) 484 0982.
Viva la Cuba at this smart Latino-themed bar in Manila with salsa music every night, piquant snacks and abundant mojitos. Another branch is near Malate.
Level 1, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Centre, Makati City, Manila
Tel: (02) 757 4370.
Clubs in Manila
This underground-style night club features international and local DJs playing electronic house and techno. The emphasis is on quality (of both music and sound) and there’s a Martin Audio sound system. It’s open until 5am from Wednesday-Saturday.Address:
Tel: +63 917 634 8765.
A welcome change from commercial pop played at the superclubs, this underground/indie club in an industrial warehouse style venue has DJs spinning bass, dub, techno and hip-hop etc, depending on the night, and has an easy-going vibe. The speakeasy-style lounge bar, Finders Keepers, is the ideal place to start out the night.Address:
Tel: +63 978 294 162
The biggest nightclub in the country, this smart superclub on two levels can accommodate over 2,000 people. The music is commercial house and techno, and international DJs regularly feature. You can book VIP tables or couch areas.Address:
Tel: +63 917 680 8888.
Live music in Manila
There’s a pub-like feel to this honest music venue where different bands headline every night (closed Sundays). Serves hearty Filipino food with clientele that varies from student to die-hard reggae and rock aficionados.Address:
Tel: +63 2 433 8070.
Conspiracy Garden Café
This chilled music venue in Manila, with a pleasant atrium and art gallery, exudes a bohemian appeal. The garden café is idyllic for mixed-age audiences on warm evenings listening to acoustic music. Nightly events often feature renowned Filipino artists such as Joey Ayala and Noel Cabangon.Address:
Tel: +63 2 453 2170.
This old converted house may be somewhat run down and simple in decor, but it’s the spiritual home for live music of the experimental, indie and avant-garde kind – including indie, punk and new wave.Address:
Tel: +63 2 897 8629.