Top Manila Bars To Check Out, According To The 2019 Asia’s 50 Best Bars List

#37: The Curator

Best bar in the Philippines

Consistently on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list (it peaked at number 16 in 2016), The Curator is a third-wave coffee shop by day and cocktail bar by night, starting at 6.30pm . The bartenders here -— led by Jericson Co, David Ong, Bernice Tiu and Tiffany Yu — treat their ingredients and drinks as an art or science, and can pretty much make anything you ask them to, and they’ll do it extremely well.

134 Legaspi St, Legaspi Village, Makati; open Monday to Saturday from 7am to 2am, and Sunday from 7am to 7pm; fb.com/thecuratorcoffeeandcocktails

Price point: Cocktails start at 450

What to order: Ube Milk Punch, a delicious blend of purple-yam-infused Maker’s Mark bourbon, Xocolatl Mole bitters, amontillado sherry and De Kuyper butterscotch liqueur

#47: Oto 

New Entry

The second bar by David Ong on the list is a listening room in Poblacion, Makati. Furnished with high-end turntables, vinyl records, speakers and amplifiers (and with a DJ set that starts at 10pm) the bar often packs a young crowd. Here, cocktails are divided into signatures, classics and modern classics.

Update as of July 10: Oto will be closing temporarily to prepare for their move to a new location in Poblacion. Their last day is July 14 at their current address: 5880 Enriquez St, Poblacion, Makati; open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 2am; fb.com/ototo.ph

Price point: Cocktails start at 350

What to order: #ReligionBlack, a rum, lime, black sesame and shiso concoction named after David’s sister’s Instagram handle

#50: The Back Room 

New Entry

The Back Room opened in late 2018 as a ’20s-style speakeasy at Shangri-La at the Fort. It has over 120 brands of gin in its collection, including its own house-distilled pour, Bee’s Knees; and 18 signature cocktails with cheeky names like Jag Juice and Giggle Water.

Find the door near the 30th St entrance of Shangri-La at the Fort, Taguig; open daily from 6pm to 1am, except Sundays

Price point: Cocktails start at 450

What to order: Ransom Note, a sour and nutty mix of tequila, pistachio, agave, lemon and hazelnut

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The annual Asia’s 50 Best Bars Awards is selected by academy members from 14 countries, comprised of travelled members of the bar industry, drinks media and mixology experts from across Asia. It is the first regional event of The World’s 50 Best Bars brand. worlds50bestbars.com/asia/list/

Cheryl Tiu is a taste-hunter for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Bars, and founder of Cross Cultures, an events platform that promotes cultural exchange through food. Visit cheryltiu.comor follow her on Instagram @chertiu.

This article first appeared in the July 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Cheryl Tiu

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