By day, Manila is a picture of a bustling cityscape. But as soon as the sun goes down, the Philippine metropolis takes on a whole new vibe.
Filipinos love to party, whether it’s a friendly gathering of neighbors sharing a drink at home (with the mandatory videoke, of course) or an all-out lavish party in a luxury hotel, you can count on locals to show guests a great time.
If you’re new to the city or still planning your visit, follow our star-studded guide to enjoying an unforgettable cocktail in Metro Manila.
For a bewitching time in Entertainment City Manila after catching a show or trying your luck at the casino, this sleek Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star retreat has you covered.
Head for the 24-hour Dragon Bar or the recently opened Cigar Bar & Poker Room to imbibe in three new myth-inspired cocktails designed to tantalize your taste buds. Take a nip of Witches Brew, a classic libation with a twist of coffee and mint; Blushing Beast, a rose-colored drink infused with sweet nectarine; and Dragon’s Elixir, an elegant yet unexpectedly playful tipple made of top-shelf spirits, candy corn and butterscotch.
Perched right in the center of the Makati Business District, this Five-Star stunner’s palm tree-lined lobby has been a meeting place for Manila’s movers and shakers for more than four decades.
Get a taste of the finer things by flagging down the old-school beverage trolley, serving up gourmet gin and tonics in the hotel’s iconic foyer. Infused with herbaceous extras like grapes and dill, orange and coriander, or pineapple and basil, these G&Ts are best enjoyed alongside the live music that fills the grand space daily.
If you prefer your spirits straight up, take advantage of the Rum Diaries flight, available until June 30. Savor three golden pours (Matusalem 23 Gran Reserva from the Dominican Republic, Dictador 20-year from Colombia and Clement VSOP from Martinique) and learn about how the terroir affects the flavor of each.
There’s nothing like enjoying the famous Manila Bay sunset with a cocktail in hand, and this waterfront beauty serves up two new pours to complement the Philippines’ color-streaked skies.
Inspired by the stunning view from this Four-Star resort’s Sunset Bar, bartender Reggie de la Cruz came up with Rising Manila Bay, a delicious representation of Filipino culture using local flavors like pineapple rum and mango liqueur combined with French almond syrup, Italian amaretto and blue curacao syrup. Topped with tangy green mangoes and sweet dried pineapple, it’s a gorgeous drink that’s only rivaled by the spectacular sunset.
Meanwhile, bartender Ed Deveza of Sofitel’s Le Bar also came up with a new libation, Sinag (Filipino for “sunrays”), an homage to the country’s bright future. This positivity in a cocktail contains whiskey, crème de banane, soda water and lemon juice. It’s garnished with housemade mango-and-orange caviar and mint leaves. The sweet flavors of local fruits cut through the oaky depth of the whiskey, making every sip a refreshing taste of Pinoy pride.
If you find yourself weary from an afternoon of shopping in the thriving city of Makati, head up to the newly launched Mistral rooftop bar at this timeless Four-Star stay.
From 5 to 8 p.m., unwind with your choice of happy hour offer: free-flowing beer, select cocktails and the lounge’s wine of the month, or 50 percent off tipples and tasty bites like potato churros and crispy rosemary chicken wings. Either way, you’ll enjoy your snacking with a side of skyline views.
When you want something more casual but equally fun, spend the evening at the property’s legendary Long Bar. Happy hour (also 5 to 8 p.m.) here includes your fill of local and imported beers, unlimited rounds of cocktails (try the gin-based Classic Singapore Sling), and endless pours of wine. Soak up all those sips with a complimentary chef’s sampler platter.
If there’s one thing that chef, restaurateur and hotelier Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is known for, it’s his impeccable talent for creating Japanese-fusion cuisine. At the talented toque’s eponymous Four-Star hotel within City of Dreams Manila, sample his skills in a new drinks menu.
Looking for something sweet? Try the Calamansi Shiso Mule, a combination of calamansi (the Philippines’ ubiquitous tart citrus fruit), shredded shiso leaves, ginger and Nobu’s signature Hokusetsu Junmai sake.
Should you prefer a cocktail with a kick, go for the Japanese Bloody Mary. Nobu’s sake-based version of the brunch favorite carries robust flavors from tomato and calamansi juice, tonkatsu sauce (similar to Worcestershire), shichimi (seven-flavor chili pepper spice blend), wasabi, grated ginger and Serrano pepper.
Pair your pour with the chef’s Japanese-Peruvian dishes like black cod miso, tiradito-style (Peruvian carpaccio) whitefish, and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño.