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The essential Poblacion bar guide: Balikbayan edition

Rediscovering new things to love about the Philippines is a great reason to come home. Another great reason is a night out in Poblacion
/ 09:58 PM July 10, 2023

The Makati red light district has become a booming hotspot for the trendiest bars in Manila. Here’s why it’s worth a visit

Photo by Kyle Palma on Unsplash

Bars in Manila are a dime a dozen. Devotees flock to restaurants, bars, and clubs almost every night, like clockwork (and much like visiting church on Sundays). There are many areas to choose from, depending on how you like to party, but an enduring choice among locals is Brgy. Poblacion in Makati.

The older generation might turn their nose up at the place. Aside from being an oasis for bars and restaurants, it’s also where one of Metro Manila’s red light districts is located. Poblacion underwent a drastic change in the mid-2010s (read: gentrification) when restaurants and bars run by young upstarts started opening up shop.

Poblacion is now considered one of the go-to places for a night out on the town. For any balikbayan wanting to give Poblacion a visit, here are some bars and restaurants you can’t miss out on.

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Agimat at Ugat

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Vibe: A mystic, modern Filipino bar with cocktails and bites made with Filipino ingredients

Crowd: Old friends and coworkers on a fancy night out

Is there a dance floor: No

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What to drink: Ritual ng Agimat (that comes with a literal ritual)

Bonus: Excellent food

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Alamat

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Vibe: An elevated Filipino pub serving modern Filipino dishes, local craft beers, and cocktails

Crowd: Large groups of friends pre-gaming before bar hopping or grabbing a few beers

Is there a dance floor: No

What to drink: Sisig shots (trust us)

Bonus: A laid-back vibe

Annex House

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Vibe: A huge house party with drinks crafted from exclusively local spirits and wines

Crowd: Large groups of friends, interesting regulars (lots of them), the odd couple on a date, and maybe even your literal family

Is there a dance floor: Absolutely

What to drink: Mango rum with a hint of hot sauce

Bonus: Annex House serves some of the most budget-friendly drinks in Poblacion

Futur:st

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Vibe: An intimate, chic, dance-forward party paradise

Crowd: Stylish, young creatives making serious moves on the dance floor to techno and trance beats

Is there a dance floor: Of course!

What to drink: Anything by the bottle

Bonus: Very LGBTQIA+-friendly

Apotheka

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Vibe: An intense rave of epic proportions that hosts monthly Drag Balls

Crowd: Energetic, fashionable, chic but always dressed to let loose on the dance floor

Is there a dance floor: The entire place is a dance floor

What to drink: Anything by the bottle

Bonus: They have open-to-all categories during their monthly events where you can sissy that walk

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