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5 Secret Bars in Makati with the Best Cocktail & Music Pairings

by Annicca Albano
March 25, 2019

Makati is rife with watering holes to hit any day of the week, whether you’re hoping to drown the Monday blues or loosen up on a Friday night.

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At the center of the country’s nightlife, you can easily find a club, lounge, or party that fits your style. But for the retired party animals, music that will keep them in their seats is already half of the bar experience. Pub crawls are no longer limited to happy hours, Ibiza-like nightclubs, and a round of cheap drinks. There's suddenly a fascination with speakeasy-style bars that are so, so hidden, only the lucky ones are rewarded with intoxicating cocktails and tunes that elevate any night out with friends.

Like you, we love hanging out in cool bars and obscure drinking dens around the metro—before everyone else! So sit back, relax, and take a peek at these hidden bars in Makati that will surely satisfy your cravings for brews, booze, and beats.


1. 78-45-33

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Inspired by Japanese kissatens, which translates to a tea-slash-coffee house, 78-45-33 is a jazz bar tucked underneath a barbershop in Salcedo Village—it’s so discreet that if you blink, you might miss it. The brainchild of November Hi-Fi Show founder Tonyboy de Leon and Grey Market owner Jay Amante, it’s the place where audiophiles with discerning palates for craft cocktails gather.

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Like liquor that gets better with age, 78-45-33 exudes an old-timey spirit you’ll love. Besides Tonyboy’s prized collection of vinyl records on display, a pair of JBL Hartsfield speakers from the ‘60s, and lighting fixtures and furniture that belong to a ‘70s bachelor pad lend an air of luxury and coziness. Munch on popcorn in between sips of creative interpretations of jazz music like the fine In A Silent Way, a harmonious blend of I.W Harper whisky and orange liquor, topped with apple slices.

78-45-33
LPL Mansion, San Agustin Street
Salcedo Village, Makati
(0920) 927 6436


2. 20:20

INSTAGRAM: 2020bar

When it opened in 2016, the underground bar 20:20 along Chino Roces Avenue stood out from the rest for its weekly film screenings called Cinema Silencio and a curated playlist with a focus on house and techno. Today, you can still enjoy the same tradition with the addition of themed nights such as Drag Disco and the crowd-favorite Sideshow, featuring ‘80s downtempo, soulful R&B, smooth jazz classics, and old school hip-hop.

INSTAGRAM: 2020bar

Unlike its rowdier sister XX XX, 20:20 plays the slightly wiser big brother, serving as a place to wind down after a hard day. This casual hangout spot screams steampunk Americana all throughout—dimly lit floors, communal table set-up, industrial bar stools, art-filled walls, and a mix of disco thumping beats and indie hits give the place an underground feel. Two hundred bucks can get you a decent glass of Skinny Margarita but if you have moolah to spare, we suggest you try the coconut rum-based In Love With The Coco and vodka-infused 20:20 Mule. Insider tip: You can also order lambanog (or Filipino moonshine) like Barik Puro and Barik Ginger Sour!

20:20
20a, La Fuerza Plaza 1
2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue
San Lorenzo, Makati
(0917) 634 8764


3. OTO

INSTAGRAM: oto.ph

A name that means “sound” in Japanese, OTO is a café by day, bar by night, and a music mecca all the time. From African folk and neoclassical to experimental music, owners Miguel and Martin Ledesma’s unique vinyl collection-cum-mementos from around the globe has something to please music lovers. With interiors that are acoustically treated with rockwool and diffusers, OTO is designed to take your listening experience to new heights. Playlist curators need not be shy—you’re free to sift through their records and play what tickles your fancy.

INSTAGRAM: oto.ph

Ordering booze here should be oto-matic. Drown in music as you down their signature Smoke & Coffee made with two types of Scotch, coffee-infused sweet vermouth, and honey. If you’re lucky, you can sample unique drinks by award-winning bartenders that often take over the bar.

OTO
5880 Enriquez Street
Barangay Poblacion, Makati
(02) 728 2433


4. ABV Bar

INSTAGRAM: abvph

Though this bar has unfortunately closed for good, it still deserves a spot on this list. The iconic neon light that spells “long live bacon” inside the bacon ‘n’ burger joint Lazy Bastard will clue you in on where the secret drinking den ABV Bar (short for Alcohol by Volume) is. Give a little knock, say the password “a glass of giggle water, please,” and you’ll find yourself transported to the Big Apple in the prohibition era. Dapper bartenders dressed to the nines, beautiful pendant lighting that invites conversations, and tufted leather banquette complete this speakeasy-style cocktail bar’s vintage look and feel.

INSTAGRAM: abvph

Gin and jazz are their secret ingredients so don’t leave without trying the Bee’s Knees made with Bombay sapphire gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey, before ordering other signature cocktails such as the absinthe-infused Morning Glory Fizz and Kentucky Bourbon Trail mixed with triple-aged bourbon. They’re not afraid to share their recipe for success, too. They invite top bar men in the Philippines to hold mixology classes for those who’d like to be behind the stick. (Side note: it’s a great date idea, don’t you think?)

ABV Bar
(Inside Lazy Bastard) Basement Floor
22 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati
(0917) 704 0942
info@abv.ph


5. The Odd Seoul

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If anything Korean excites your Seoul, this obscure soju bar inside Gaja Korean Kitchen will give you another reason to visit Poblacion. Hidden behind one of the resto’s intriguing paintings, The Odd Seoul departs from the traditional speakeasy with a blinding display of Jinro soju in every corner, funky colored lights, and sleek counter stools and lounges. A massive Seoul Metropolitan Subway Route Map at the cocktail bar beckons young urbanites who are ready to be betrayed by SoKo’s national spirit.

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While hip Korean music thrums in the background (don’t worry as their DJs like to keep the volume down low), drink up their signature Soju cocktails starting with the Kimchi Sour, followed by the Yogurt Lady and Smoking Tiger. Prepare for good times with friends and workmates—and make your usual night a little odd (the good kind!) with their shooters aptly named ODD.

The Odd Seoul
(Inside Gaja Korean Kitchen)
2F 8445 Kalayaan Ave.
Poblacion, Makati
(0906) 493 0799

Where’s your secret drinking spot? Let us know in the comments sections below!

For tips on discovering the best spots in the city, check out DG Traveler’s Manila section.

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About Annicca
Always the designated trip planner but never the navigator, Annicca loves crafting travel itineraries with a mix of city, island, and cultural exploration. At age 21, she authored an ethnography on spoken word poetry in the Philippines, the first of its kind in the country. Follow her Instagram @anniccalbn to know her whereabouts.

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