Filipinos personify the ‘life and soul of the party’ notion and much like their Spanish counterparts, their ability to sing and dance is an inherent characteristic belonging to the majority of the population. Combined with a great sense of humour you can guarantee some great partying while in Manila. Karaoke, as in most Asian countries, is a national sport and mercilessly encouraged by locals, so have a back up plan of sorts.
Skuzzy jazz joints, upscale wine bars, booming clubs and American-style pubs can all be found in and around Manila. Malate is one of the most famous party districts, reminiscent of, but much more lively than, Lang Kwai Fong in Hong Kong. Makati and Global City also have bar strips in the Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street malls respectively.
In Quezon City, Morato Avenue is dotted with bars, dining places and comedy clubs. Eastwood City in Quezon City is another favourite hangout of locals. Keep in mind that night time in any city is generally when the low life factor emerges and when you should exercise caution.
P Burgos Street is the equivalent of Bangkok’s Patpong, debauched and chaotic but nonetheless very exciting if that is your scene.
For a taste of the real Manila head on down to 70’s Bistro, owned by a Filipino artiste. The venue features some of the most talented musicians in town. Considered to be the breeding ground for the local music scene, try visiting them when the following award-winning performers are onstage: Joey Ayala, Cynthia Alexander, Noel Cabangon, and The Jerks.
Opening Hours: 18:00 - late
Address: 46 Anonas Street, Quezon City
Predominantly a hip hop venue, this is Manila's new baby in terms of recently opened and popular clubs. The crowd is made up of Manila's, young, wealthy set who are out for a good time. Drinks aren’t cheap, but they’re well prepared by a professionally trained staff.
Opening Hours: 10:00 - late
Location: A Venue Mall, Makati Avenue
The main attraction of this joint is the Filipino cover band that attracts yuppies, expats, tourists and music lovers to the venue. Conway’s always guarantees a good atmosphere with high spirits and well-prepared drinks, albeit not the most reasonably priced in town.
Opening Hours: 17:00 - 01:00
Location: Shangri La Hotel
Address: Ayala Avenue at Makati Avenue
This place is for the well-heeled set, dressed to impress on a weekend. Forgot your T-shirt and trainers combination, this is a red-rope-style place where people come to be seen. Nonetheless it has great music and a contemporary interior. You can also expect to find attractive players from both sexes. Be forewarned; it’s not cheap.
Opening Hours: 22:00 - 06:00
Location: Tomas Morato Extension Avenue, Quezon City
Remarks: No trainers or sport clothes
A very popular nightclub that gets a good turnout most nights; which says a lot in Manila's notoriously fickle club scene. Divided into several areas; the main hall, the champagne room, and the VIP area, occasionally, the club features popular international disc jockeys. On regular nights, it plays hard house, chillout, or ‘90s music.
Opening Hours: 22:00 - 06:00
Location: The Fort Strip, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
Two gay clubs under one roof – heaven for some, hell for others. Regardless, this place is incredibly vibrant and recommendable for those who enjoy having an outrageous laugh. FAB is famous for weekend foam parties, while on weekdays it plays host to acoustic guitar sessions. The Library is a more subdued alternative with nightly comedy performances attracting both a straight and gay crowd.
Location: M Adriatico Street, Malate
Located in the restaurant district of Makati City, this is best described as a good escape from the madness of nearby P Burgos Street (Manila's equivalent to Patpong). A welcoming atmosphere is enhanced by stand-up comedy routines and live televised sport. Drinks are reasonably priced and the crowd generally sociable.
Opening Hours: 14:00 - 05:00
Address: Jupiter Street
This is the place to head for a pint of beer and some live televised sport. Expect little in the way of authentic Filipino characters, other than the service staff. The bar is best described as a generic expat hang out that attracts a warm and friendly crowd, always good for a laugh. Features include a pool room and great service with a smile.
Opening Hours: 12:00 - 24:00
Address: 8471 Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion
For those of you who enjoy a bout of eccentricity with your drink this is the only place in Manila Metro to be. The vast selection of beer is served by none other than hobbits, who contrary to what you may hear are not game for being thrown against a Velcro wall, but are probably partial to a tip for their efforts. All in all, a good atmosphere, great food and reasonably priced food, served by midgets dressed as hobbits.
Opening Hours: 18:00 till late
Location: Arquiza Trade Center, Marcelo H. del Pilar Street
In the mood for some ballroom dancing? You've come to right place, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The dance floor here gets packed with all kinds of gyrators, some with their personal DI's (Dance Instructors) in tow. For dance lovers this is definitely the place to head to, even if it's just to observe the bodies being thrown around the floor.
Opening Hours: 17:00 - 02:00
Remarks: Dress to impress
Address: 1900 M. Adriatico Street
Kipling’s is something of a landmark whiskey Bar in Manila, with its extensive list of single malts and delectable atmosphere. The interior consists of rich furnishings complemented by the dim lighting and framed images of era gone by. The perfect venue to unwind and enjoy a relaxed drink.
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 13:00 - 01:00
Location: The Mandarin Oriental
Address: Makahti Avenue, Manila
Men might want to take note that Tabu is particularly popular on Wednesday nights – Brazilian Night, when Manila's Latino lovelies make an appearance, and there are a lot of them. A smart, sultry and sexy establishment, using a red-and-black colour scheme for the lounge-like ambience, Tabu also features a delicious menu and an extensive cocktail list.
Opening Hours: 18:00 - 02:00
Address: 253, Salcedo St Legzapi Village, Makati