On top of almost everyone’s list for a great night out is the buzzy Poblacion area.
Because its joints are only walking distance from each other, it’s no surprise that people from different walks of life frequent this place. And while having a long list of places worth trying may be overwhelming, its variety of options may just be the charm that Poblacion brings.
Sure, each time spent here is unique, but how can you be sure you’re getting the full Pob Crawl experience? Luckily, these Poblacion regulars have a couple of insider tips and tricks to share!
Meet Noel Bugia, a college student who is no stranger to the music scene. He has been spinning in the metro’s hottest clubs, bars, and parties since 2011, and it was only a matter of time before he landed gigs in what may now be the trendiest nightlife destination.
Rebekah Reyes always knows how to have a good time. Whether it’s the newest restaurant, a well-loved neighborhood bar, the quirkiest third wave coffee shop, or even the craziest workout, trust that this dancer, digital marketing strategist, and social media personality has tried it all!
Up and coming graphic designer and photographer Poj Gaerlan has an eye for style and aesthetic. Late last year, his photos of Poblacion as visual translations of local music were featured in the first Johnnie Weekend Creators Lab Series.
On the business side of things is Sam Turingan, whose aunt’s passion project is arguably one of Poblacion’s most well-loved gems, Wantusawa. One who works for travel by day, this self-proclaimed explorer and photo junkie may be seen hanging around the bar at night.
In this DG Traveler exclusive, these Poblacion personalities share their thoughts to make sure your night out here is a night well spent!
What makes Poblacion a unique choice for a night out with friends and loved ones?
Noel: It makes both bar and food hopping so much easier. Everything is walkable and there’s something that makes every establishment intimate. Sure it’s a bit cramped at times, but that’s what makes it fun! As a DJ, it challenges me to play songs that would always make the crowd sing along. It’s all about the good vibes!
Rebekah: With the country’s best cocktail bars, craft beer, and a great community vibe, it surely gives you a quality night out.
It’s not your typical dress to impress setting: you come as you are, and that’s what I love about it!
Another thing is the Pob Crawl experience. Not only are all the bars just within close distance, but each one is unique in its own way. There’s a bar that’s perfect for whatever mood you’re in!
Poj: What makes Poblacion unique is its whole vibe. Everything is so close to each other and they all have so much to offer—great food, great drinks, nice places to just sit down, and spots to watch sports. It’s a great place to take photos, day or night.
It’s not too overwhelming and it’s not boring—it offers that perfect in-between.
Sam: It’s special because you’ll never run out of places to go! It’s unlike other bars as each one has managed to create its own personality. Even walking along its streets is a memorable experience—kids rap for you and there’s the idea, too, that some of the bars used to be houses.
Describe your usual night in Poblacion.
Rebekah: You’ll usually find me hopping from Polilya, OTO, Apartment, and The Wild Poppy with a cocktail in hand—or sometimes taking a few shots—swaying to good music and having great conversations with friends. When I’m in the mood to dance, my friends and I hit up Pura Vida, Z Hostel’s rooftop bar or Fyre Rooftop Lounge. After a long night of fun, you’ll find us in the middle of the street having fun with newfound friends over some squid balls.
Poj: Finding strategic parking and walking to a place with good food! My friends and I go from bar to bar, ordering food and checking out their best drinks. Nights in Poblacion are a breath of fresh air and a break from the busyness of other places I’m used to.
Sam: I’m usually there to help my boyfriend with his shifts at Wantusawa. A typical night would start with the restaurant already in full swing. You’ll probably catch me running up and down Tambai Alley serving drinks, taking orders, and making sure people never get hangry! At the end of the night, we settle down and have a beer to celebrate another successful and crazy day at Wantusawa.
What is/are your favorite spots in the area?
Noel: I would have to say that Fyre Rooftop Lounge would be one of them because it’s everything you could ever want in a rooftop bar—great drinks, affordable finger food, and enough space for a great crowd. Of course, they have the best DJs that play anything from throwback jams to today’s Top 100!
Poj: Definitely Dulo because they have amazing food and drinks! Plus, it’s a significant place for me in my journey as a photographer.
Sam: Wantusawa of course! But I also recently got to go to Apartment, and I really enjoyed the vibe of the place!
When you're in the mood for something for filling, City Garden Grand Hotel is right in the area! Head over to their Firefly Roofdeck Bar for a Filipino Dinner Buffet that will surely fuel you up for the night!
What is a place that you think everyone should know about?
Noel: Definitely Wicked Dogs! They have the best hotdogs around and it’s comfort food for anyone who’s a huge fan of sandwiches and hotdogs.
Rebekah: OTO—if you love Legazpi Village’s The Curator, you’ll love this, too! They’re known for their good music (they have their collection of vinyl records on display!) best paired with quality cocktails, of course. The whole vibe is very real, nothing pretentious, and the perfect recipe for a good night!
Poj: Tambai—it’s a place that perfectly lives up to its name! They exude a super chill ambiance and have great, affordable food and friendly staff. It’s pretty hidden, so there isn’t much going on around it, just people there for good food and a great time.
Sam: Wantusawa!!! It’s really a unique experience! If you’re lucky to get a seat at the bar, you can watch all the food being made—which usually ends up with curious foodies ordering more than they intended to. The Aklan oysters, which are really underrated, are amazing!
The menu is small, but everything is made to ensure that you’ll never leave the restaurant unhappy (or hungry)!
What is your one insider tip for anyone planning to spend their night out here?
Noel: It’s always hard to find parking in Poblacion, so keep an eye out for kuyas who can help you find a good spot, as long as you give them a good tip!
Also, don’t be afraid to explore. If you stumble across a place you’ve never heard of yet, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something worth checking out!
Rebekah: Finding parking can be a hassle. Park in Powerplant Mall and just take their shuttle or golf cart to and from Poblacion—it’s a lot of fun!
Poj: Stretch your legs! A lot of places are walkable and hopping from one place to another really gives you the full enjoyable experience—that’s how you can find that place you’ll always come back to. Finding great parking early or carpooling is a plus, too!
Sam: Never wear heels because you’ll probably do a lot of walking! Go around—have dinner in one place (Wantusawa), beers in another (Joe’s Brew), then enjoy the cool night air at Z Hostel’s rooftop bar and dance the night away! Plus, don’t forget to stop by Kampai for a couple more drinks to cap off your night. You’ll be extremely happy and you might already start planning your next night out in Poblacion!
To save yourself from finding parking or commuting, why not check out our stays in The A. Venue Hotel and Y2 Residence Hotel—they put you right in the middle of the action! How’s that for the ultimate Poblacion experience? Browse through our other Makati exclusives while you’re at it.
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