Before we let you in to the list of speakeasy bars in Metro Manila and other places in the world, let us take you to a little journey back in time. Alcohol and drinking culture have a long history, and part of it was the Temperance Movement that began in the 1800s. The movement focused on limiting the consumption of alcohol in some ways and changing a standard drink measure to limit the amount. In 1918, the 18th Amendment banned the sale of “intoxicating liquors,” thus the emergence and widespread of speakeasies in the United States during the Prohibition era. In the 19th century, the word speakeasy came in many names such as “blind pig,” “blind tiger,” and “gin joint.” The controversial word first appeared in a newspaper article in March 1889 and referred to “speak easy” as the name of the saloon in the western Pennsylvania town of McKeesport that “sells without a license.”
When Ferdinand Magellan’s crew first came upon the Ladrones Island of Zamal now known as Samar, it would be a couple of days before a boat with nine men approached the crew. “The captain-general, seeing that they were reasonable men, ordered food to be set before them, and gave them red caps, mirrors, combs, bells, ivory, bocasine, and other things,” Pigafetta, an Italian scholar and explorer who joined the expedition to the Spice Islands led by Magellan, wrote in his journal. The natives reciprocated this gesture of goodwill with gifts of their own, including fish, figs, coconuts, and a jar of palm wine, which they called arack.
It’s surprising and at the same time ironic, to find Filipinos looking back to the roaring 20s with nostalgia. The geniuses behind Manila’s roster of stylish bars and restaurants came up with the idea of reinventing speakeasy bars beginning with the very first speakeasy bar in 2011 near Shang Salcedo Place address, The Blind Pig. Speakeasies have carved a discreet niche in Manila’s nightlife.
5 Extravagant Speakeasies
Makati and Bonifacio Global City is home to a cluster of fancy speakeasy bars that are hidden from plain sight. Whether you are looking for a lounge where you can have a private space with your family and friends to enjoy the night, here are some of the best hidden bars in the Metro Manila and around the world that are definitely worth the visit.
Photo Credit: sandundermyfeet.com
Location: Icon Plaza, BGC
Before you get to this secret bar, it will lead you to a short hallway designed to look like a stock room behind a 7-Eleven convenience store. Bank Bar’s overall feel is modern and industrial with its exposed ceiling and is said to be a “cross between old world loft and cathedral left in ruins.” Guests can enjoy drinks at the bar, at the corner of the room, or even order from the trolleys.
Photo Credit: Primer.ph
Location: Serendra, BGC
If you are in for an outstanding bar that serves an excellent wide selection of Japanese spirits, specifically Japanese whiskies including, then LIT Manila is an oasis of genuine drinking refinery. LIT Manila is tucked in the corner and has a nondescript door making it hidden from the naked eye.
Photo Credit: The Rooftop Guide
Location: Paseo de Roxas, Makati
This rooftop lounge overlooks Ayala Triangle and the rest of the Makati central business district. Its style interiors are inspired by the roaring 20s known as the Great Gatsby era, a period in time where lavish parties, visual arts, and the glitz and glamor surfaced into the scene. This rooftop bar is located in Lepanto Building, making it a favorite late-night spot among yuppies.
Photo Credit: Delicious.com.au
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Tucked in a laneway just off Little Bourke Street, Serai is the latest addition to Australia’s vast speakeasy portfolio. Guarded by three black and white murals that give a subtle nod to Philippine landscapes and living, the restaurant is sealed off by two industrial doors painted in a deep red. Filipino dishes at Serai are reimagined and cooked over a wood-fired grill, recreating the spirit, vitality, passion and sense of fun of the Philippines.
Photo Credit: Facebook.com
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Acclaimed as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, Floreria Atlantico boasts of beautiful bouquets and houses a hidden bar behind an antique fridge door. The impressive basement bar is owned by an inspirational bartender Tato Giovannoni and is decorated in the style of the first decades of the 20th century. This Argentine speakeasy bar offers a cocktail menu and a curated selection of wine accompanied by tapas, grilled meat or fish dishes.
Photo Credit: Fribourg Region
Location: Gruyères, Switzerland
Less of a hidden bar and more of a world’s hidden wonder, this mesmerizing piece of immersive art is created by HR Giger, a Swiss artist and Academy Award Winner for his design work in Alien. This “biochemical environment” is characterized by a cavernous skeletal structure that crisscrosses the vaulted ceiling like that of an ancient castle and puzzles every eye to look like a labyrinthine lair. With jaw-dropping views around every corner, you’ll find the drinking experience here absolutely surreal.
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