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Bars in Manila

Guide to the best bars, nightlife and clubs in Manila

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Manila has been renowned for many years as a great venue for nightlife of all different varieties. Below we guide you through some of the major bars and nightlife areas to help you get around and give you an idea of what is going on and when. We aim to ensure that our reviews of the bars in Manila inform you on when they are busy, the average prices you can expect to pay, the ambience and type of clientele that they have etc.

We focus more on the "better" bars, which are suitable for anyone whether travelling alone or with a family or partner, with only a sprinkling of information on the infamous "girlie" bars that can be found in Manila.

As the Philippines is generally quite Americanised please do take note that it is extremely difficult to find some sporting events, especially English Premier League Football (soccer to some) being shown live in the bars around Manila. One bar Heckle & Jeckle does tend to show either slightly delayed or live football, yet it is the only one we could find in the whole of Manila. Heckle & Jeckle (telephone - 890 6904) can be found on Jupiter Street just off the end of P. Burgos. Do call in advance to see what they are playing. Alternatively nearly all hotels in Manila have very good television channels that generally include Star Sports and ESPN. These two do not normally carry English football though, but if you select a hotel which has Thai TV Channel 7, then this channel normally does show the live games, even though the commentary is in Thai.      

We do try to ensure that these reviews stay as up to date as possible, however, bars being bars, they often change promotions and deals at the drop of a hat.

If you have any suggestions on bars which are not covered, please do let us know.

Bars are featured in alphabetical order, but do make sure you read all the way down as you will be quite surprised by one outstanding promotion of 30 Pesos a beer !!

Have you voted yet for your favourite bars in Manila yet? Premier Travel Awards for Excellence - Vote Now! We also have extensive photo galleries offering different images from around the world. Have a suggestion for a bar we have missed contact us here. Along with all our other country tips and guides, we also cover Bars in Phuket, Bars in Singapore, Bars in Dubai, Bars in Koh Samui, Bars in Hong Kong, Bars in Manila, Bars in Jakarta, Bars in Bangkok and Bars in Vietnam.

The Better Bars

Brewery - Opposite the Hard Rock Cafe and TGI's in central Makati this small bar is an external part of StreetLife reviewed below. It is its own microbrewery. The bar is small yet comfortable, and prices are 77 Pesos for a beer. Happy hour is a jug of beer for 165 Pesos from 11 am to 7 pm.

Conways : Located on the second floor of the Makati Shangri-La, the bar was once one of the top venues for the high rolling Manila crowd. Unfortunately it has become a little aged and will soon be undergoing a much needed renovation. The bar is open from 5pm to 2 am on Saturday and 11.30 am to 2 am the rest of the week. Happy hour runs from 3 pm to 9 pm and is a 1 price deal. This means that you pay a flat price of 250 Pesos for either  a beer or cocktail choice, and  then you simply continue to drink as much as you can for that one flat price until happy hour is over, or possibly until you yourself are finished which ever may come sooner ! The only stipulation here is that if you choose the beer option you must stick to it, however you are entitled to swap between the beers they offer. The promotion includes all locally made beers, so the famous San Miguel, and also Carlsberg and Budweiser which are now brewed locally. The Cocktail promotion again allows you to switch between cocktails and these include, Pina Colada, Long Island Ice Tea, Marguerita, Mai Tai and one other). A live band (or two) plays at the bar from 9pm  to 1 am, with a solo singer operating from 6pm to 9pm. The bar is busiest after 10.30/11 pm but still attracts quite a gathering of after work drinkers.

Danish Connection : Located on Kalayan Avenue, this to be honest is more of a restaurant than a bar. It is open from 9 am to 1 am but quietens down after dinner around 10pm. The bar is a Viking style bar, which even has a small Viking boat suspended from the ceiling which is used  the bars glass holder. The food is good, and the bar itself gets busy with expat residents that are living in the area just after work around 7pm. If you are in the area it is worth going to if only to see Julie, one of the beautiful waitresses !       

Giraffe : Located only steps outside the main entrance of the Makati Shangri-La this popular Manila bar is a favourite in Makati. The bar is very nicely decorated in a modern yet tasteful chrome/steel theme, and  does not get busy until really after  midnight. The bar opens from 5 pm to 4 am Monday to Thursday and from 5 pm to 6 am on Friday and Saturdays.  They do have a Happy Hour promotion which is again a once price deal of 240 Pesos nett for as much beer (local brands) as you can drink or 50% discount off all other drinks except beer, during the times from 5pm to 9 pm Monday to Friday and from 8 pm to 11 pm on Saturdays. The bar is closed on Sunday. Outside of Happy Hour a San Miguel will cost 120 Pesos and a glass of house wine 220 Pesos. Great place to go, late but also a wonderful place to go if you want a nice quiet and relaxing drink after work as there are hardly any people early on.

Hard Rock Cafe : Throughout Asia, you can not really go wrong with the Hard Rock Cafe's. They are always reliable, good and normally very busy. The Hard Rock Cafe located in the heart of Makati is enormous. They have two levels (the upper level only opens Friday and Saturday or for special parties), a large stage area where the live band (s) perform, a pool table, very large dining areas and  they even have one smoking bar and one entirely non smoking bar which are completely separate from one another. The bar does not really get busy until after 10pm, mainly we guess because of the outstanding promotion at TGI's which is seconds away (read below). The Hard Rock has three different pricing structures. They have Happy Hour which is 50% off the house drinks, then they revert to regular prices and then from 10:30 pm they move onto what they call bar price which is actually more than the regular price. The prices are very good with Happy Hour running from 12 noon to 7 pm where a San Miguel will cost only 42 Pesos, then from 7 pm to 10:30 - 82 Pesos, and then from 10:30 onwards the same beer will cost 106 Pesos. They are open every day from 11 am to 2 am Sunday to Thursday and from 11am to 3 am on Friday and Saturday. The live band starts at 10:30 and finishes 30 minutes before closing. Please note that they do charge a cover charge after 9 pm of 300 Pesos per person which includes two drinks.

JJ's : Located on Kalayan Avenue, which is just off P. Burgos. This small bar is a welcome relief from the chaos and hassle of P. Burgos Street. The bar although small has a very relaxed feel, and has a regular clientele of expats living in Manila. The bar is open from 12 until 2 am and a San Miguel beer (bottle) only costs 50 Pesos. They have an outstanding range of beers in cans, which only cost 150 Pesos. These beers include among others, Boddingtons, Newcastle Brown Ale and John Smiths. They also serve food which at only 80 Pesos a plate is a real steal, with dishes (which are all home made)  such as cauliflower cheese, shepherds pie, and apple crumble. The bar also has a pool table and a darts board. Thankfully this is one of the only bars along and around P. Burgos that where you do not get hassled to buy a ladies drink or such, as the bar does not have any ladies who "work" for the bar. This is a great place to come if you are in the area, for a quiet relaxed drink.

Kipling's : Do you like Single Malts ? Need a bar that has the finest cigars and the best whiskies the world can offer ? If so then this is your bar. Located at the Mandarin Oriental hotel the small bar specialises in single malt whiskies and fine cigars. Kipling's is open from 10.30 am to 2 am. They have a selection of over 125 different single malts, and and many fine cigars. Prices are quite high but are good value when compared to other "fine drinking" bars, with a glass of Balvenie 10 year old costing 330 Pesos (which is only 30 Pesos more than a glass of Black Label (not even a single malt) in the Captains Bar, right next door) and the lovely Lagavullin 16 Year old ( a truly excellent whisky) 425 Pesos. One of their rarest whiskies is a 40 Year old Bowmore of which there are only around 350 bottles world wide, we do suggest you ask the price before ordering this, as we forget how many 0's the price included !! This unique bar is also able to tailor make cigar boxes and cigar ring bands, with excellent results, so if you are in need of a present or want simply to treat yourself, pop along but do try and give them at least three days notice.                  

TGI's : 30 PESOS A BEER ALL NIGHT LONG !!!!! No, actually we lie, it is actually 33.55 Pesos a beer after tax and service, and this most amazing promotion last all night and includes all locally brewed beer so as we mention before, San Miguel, Carlsberg, Budweiser among others. TGI's is right opposite the Hard Rock Cafe in the same building so it literally takes seconds to go from one to the other. One enourmous difference is that the bar and restaurant is very busy even from 7 pm onwards. The bar attracts a good mixture of local and expats and has a nice lively ambience. The service is very very good and typically friendly in an American way. TGI's is really more of a restaurant with a very large dining area that overlooks the small park area  of Makati below. If you do not want to wait for a table then try to get there around 8 or before. TGI's is open from 11am to 11:30 pm Sunday Thursday, and from 11am to 1:30 am on Friday and Saturdays. Not wanting to upset the non beer drinkers, TGI's also has an amazing promotion on house wine at only 99 Pesos a glass !! They do not have a live band, but instead of playing the regular and rather mundane "TGI" compilations they play their one cd's which means that you do have some very good background music. With prices like this you really cannot go wrong and this is a great place to come for an after work drink. 

Street Life - Wow, what a place. Located in the same building as TGI's and the Hard Rock this very unusual bar and restaurant (S) is set out similar to an indoor Singapore Hawker food centre. It only has two entrances and one exit with security so tight is it is almost annoying. The whole environment is enclosed and decorated as a small village with many different restaurants available for you to choose from, ranging from Japanese to Moglian to Ribs, basically they have almost every food imaginable. But this is a review of bars and they do have a bar and also a stage where two different bands perform nightly from 9pm on weekdays and from 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturdays. They have a minimum consumption policy after 5pm which is 150 Pesos per person Sunday to Thursday and 300 Pesos per person on Fridays and Saturdays. The whole concept works by you being given a "Passport" when you enter through what we call the "Military Zone" (which is really just the security), and the each time you order from any of the restaurants or bars, then your bill is charged to this card which you pay when you leave.  Definitely worth a visit when in Manila.

The "Girlie Bars"

Manila has two main areas when it comes to the famous "girlie bar" scene, namely P. Burgos in Makati and the other in the International Centre, just off  Roxas Boulevard. As we are a family orientated site we do not go into too much detail, instead we just give you an idea of where and the average prices with very brief reviews of some of the bars in each area.

WARNING : We do advise you to remove and items of jewellery before coming to these bars, such as necklaces or such like. Basically, anything you do not want to loose leave it in your hotel safe. The chances of something happening are slim but they do happen, as one of our own team members can attest to, and with so much distraction you may not notice until it is too late.  

P.Burgos

Please understand we are in no way promoting or supporting this type of industry, instead we are just giving you an idea of how things work so you as a traveller are not left guessing.  

Now that you have an idea of the prices in some of the best bars in Manila, shown above such as Giraffe and Hard Rock Cafe you will be quite surprised by the prices within the P. Burgos stretch of bars. 

Generally the bars start to get busy from around 10 onwards except for the weekend which starts a little earlier. The bars themselves are open from late afternoon with the majority of girls arriving around 6/7 pm and later.

A ladies drink will on average cost you a whopping 250 - 300 Pesos, so do be aware that your bill can easily add up. Some of the bars are more aggressive than others, and the majority offers some form of dancing. As for the "fine" (again we do not run into details but we hope you understand what we mean) this can be one of two things, but the best thing to do is ask. Generally it is free if you buy a set number of ladies drinks for one lady (normally 10) or could be just a payment of 2,500 / 3,000 Pesos - and for anyone that has been to Bangkok in answer to your question NO,  we are not joking, it really is that much. 

Some bars offer you to play games such as falling blocks or others, but do ask what you pay for loosing, as most of the time it can mean a ladies drink for the number of players you were against. Quite an expensive game if you have a lot of players as one bar tried to do to one of our members, without explaining the rules first.

Bananas - Has been described as more 'sleazy' than other bars but some people regard this as more fun. The ladies are more scantily clad and are not overly aggressive for the drinks. Good choice.

Cuddles - Small intimate bar with a great interior decor.  

Dimples - nice bar, with highly trained ladies that are experts in getting more and more drinks. The bar is one of the most popular along P. Burgos, and one of our favourites. We recommend trying to arrive a little early here so that you can get a seat on the sofa, which most people seem to enjoy. Very Good choice but watch the drinks.

Ivory - professional set up with and large bar with some very attractive ladies, who are not overly aggressive on the drink side. Has a rather business like feel to it rather than warm and intimate.   

Jools - very classy establishment that should be visited for anyone who is into the P. Burgos scene. They have a show that commences at around 9pm and is very professional. They have a show charge of 120 Pesos which you have to either pay or leave.  

Magambo - This particular bar has a relatively bad reputation for some reason. The ladies are very well endowed if that is the right term. Good to go to, but watch out for the 'games' as mentioned above.

Papillon : Very nicely "dressed" ladies, same prices above and not overly aggressive for drinks. Very Good choice.

Wild West West - popular bar with residents of Manila (Makati area) where the girls are not overly aggressive towards drinks but seem more concerned to you having an good time. At this bar make sure you ask about the BJ drink. We will say no more but it is the best drink you will not have. Very good choice.

International Centre

Located opposite the Heritage Hotel this is a small collection of large bars such as the famous Firehouse and others. The beers cost 90 Pesos and a ladies drink 175 Pesos, the "fine" is 900 Pesos which is an enormous difference from P. Burgos (reviewed above). Having said this the bars are much rougher and more basic than P. Burgos, and are similar in style to the Bangkok girlie bars. They are very popular with foreigners and can be a lot of fun not to forget cheaper than other alternatives.

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