If you’re visiting Manila for a short or extended time, you’ll want to know where to spend your weekend nights (and probably some of your weeknights, too) around the town.
Manila’s size allows for a wide variety and quantity of nightlife hotspots. Whatever your needs, Manila can provide. From karaoke-bars to sit-down bars to billiard rooms to high-end night clubs to casinos to comedy clubs – the list goes on. Manila is always open and never sleeps. Whatever your travel or work schedule, there is a place to accommodate you.
Karaoke bars are very popular in Manila. The locals love to sing, especially old and new American songs. At a typical karaoke bar, a medium to large room (seats 10-20) can accommodate your group or party for several hours. Several microphones are hooked up to the main stereo and your group simply has to choose what songs to sing and the fun begins. Drinks and food are affordably available, depending on the specific bar. Red Box in Greenbelt 2 (Makati Area) is a good pick.
Many sit-down bars can be found in almost any area of town. Higher end places are common in the Greenbelt area (Makati). Cafe Havana, Ice, Temple, and Masas are all good examples. San Miguel Pale Pilsen’s go for between Php60 and Php90 at these bars. Absinth is a unique place as well, where absinth – illegal in the United States – is served.
Also in Makati is the foreigner nest named Heckle and Jeckle (after an old American Cartoon). Drinks and pool are quite affordable here. The bar often has a live band, and always has multiple sports channels on air. There is poker outside on most nights. WG’s Diner, just down the road, is one of the most affordable (and still nice) places in the Makatia area. With San Miguel Pale Pilsen’s running for Php25 (about $0.55), you can’t go wrong – not a bad place to kick off a night on the town.
In Malate, north from Makatia and Ortigas, there are also many sit-down bars. Among the most unique include the Hobbit House (where you are served my midgets), and the Library. Malate is labeled as the gay part of town, though perhaps unfairly. Still, if you are uncomfortable with this aspect, stick to the Hobbit House.
Metrowalk in Ortigas is a great place for sit-down bars. Aruba and Elbow Room are good examples. Elbow room also doubles as a pool hall and hosts several poker tournaments.
Embassy is the most famous high-end night club in Manila. Entry fee is about Php600 (with two drinks on the house), but it is well worth it if you are into the disco-style night club. Music here is very modern and the atmosphere is very good. Wednesday’s are traditionally hip hop night, a fan favorite. If you know a VIP member, the VIP free access is another convenient perk. Embassy’s sister club is next door, called Cuisine.
Casinos are also easy to find if you’re one to gamble. Tournaments are held weekly in Malate and near the international airport (at the biggest casino in that area). As mentioned before, Elbow Room and Heckle and Jeckle each hold poker games, too.
Finally, if you want a real laugh, attend one of the many comedy clubs in Manila. Laff is a good choice, in the Quezon City area. Comedy clubs are different from what you’d find in the States, so be prepared. There are not really any planned routines are stand-up comics. Instead, the comedians tend to pick out a few foreigners from the crowd, bring them up on stage, and proceed to make fun of them. This entire episode is definitely worth it (unless, perhaps, you are the one being made fun of), although most of the jokes are in the local tongue, Tagalog.
At the end of the day, Manila’s nightlife scene as much to offer. Enjoy.