More than most Asian cities, Manila has thoroughly embraced the cult of craft cocktails, with some impressive results. Makati’s Central Business District was once a ghost town come sundown, but it’s now the favored haunt of the city’s booze aficionados. Follow in their footsteps on a speakeasy crawl through Legaspi Village. Kick things off at the Blind Pig, a Prohibition Era–inspired lounge. Reservations are required, so have the concierge ring ahead, then settle in like a regular with a negroni and an order of chorizo-and-mozzarella arancini. Move along to The Curator, an industrial hideout tucked inside the Cyrano Wine Bar. It’s known for attitude-packed cocktails like the Rafiki’s Shoulder—a sweet-sounding but well-balanced blend of whiskey, Cocchi Americano, crème de banane, and Peychaud’s bitters that delivers a serious punch. What’s next: whiskey or gin? If the former, find your way to Mandalay Whisky. In true speakeasy fashion, locating the place is half the fun. First, enter the rowdy sports bar Belle & Dragon, and make a beeline for the restrooms. Look for the massive armoire, open it, and step inside. No, this isn’t Narnia, but rather a delightful whiskey-and-cigar lounge evoking Manila’s colonial era. Order a smoky Laphroaig, sink into a leather couch, and watch the cigar smoke drift by like fragrant clouds. If gin is your choice, cap the night off at The Bon Bon Club, an intimate 30-seat lounge with rare and coveted bottles from around the world. The vibe is more house-party than posh gin joint, as guests are welcome to sift through the bar’s vinyl collection and spin records—no password required.
Legaspi Village is a 20- to 40-minute drive from the hotel, depending (as ever) on traffic. Avoid going on early Friday evenings; instead, wait out the rush by having dinner at or near Conrad Manila, then head out to Legaspi around 9:30 p.m. after the traffic quiets down.
BLIND PIG: 227 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati; +63917-549-2264; facebook.com/Blind-Pig THE CURATOR: Inside Cyrano Wine Bar, 134 Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati; +63916-355-4129
MANDALAY: Inside Belle & Dragon Pub, OPL Building, 100 Don Carlos Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati; +632-834-5292 ;facebook.com/mandalay THE BON BON CLUB: Tropical Palms Building, 16 Gallardo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati; +632-801-4840