MANILA, Philippines–If Dracula could check out the scene at 71 Gramercy on a Saturday night, he would’ve been jealous: a couple on the sofa getting so intimate it’s almost embarrassing to look at; more couples at the patio apparently having a good time while sipping wine; and groups of friends, many of them females, swaying to the music.
The patio, which offers an exhilarating view of the Makati skyline, is where most of the crowd congregate cheek by jowl. The entire edge of the patio looks like one long bar fully occupied by guys nursing their drinks. The music’s volume is just right, not too loud or too soft, very much conducive to pleasant conversation.
The sound gets louder at the main hall, where the DJ’s booth and the sofas are; it’s here where the couple making out elicits jokes from our friend. Soon the couple is gone—where they went becomes the subject of hilarious speculation by our friend.
In any case, it’s good to know that, contrary to perception, 71 Gramercy is not a strictly-by-invitation elitist club. Anybody can go there, provided you’re not dressed too casually.
The most important thing is, bring enough cash—say, P5,000—if you have a date.
The Stella Artois beer on tap tastes great, especially with margherita pizza and salmon sashimi.
71 Gramercy, 71/F, Century City, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati; tel. 0917-8094093
Mario’s Kitchen on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City (between White Plains and Ateneo), is a nice cozy bar and restaurant that features live acoustic gigs.
On a Tuesday night, the featured performers are singer Gail Blanco and guitarist Buboy Manalo. They’re pretty good; their covers of “Human Nature,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Ironic,” “Buses and Trains,” “To Be with You” and “Don’t Stop Believing” can brighten one’s mood—except that the volume level gets too loud for comfort, considering the place is rather small.
But the margherita pizza’s soft, thin crust and the beef salpicao’s garlicky flavor are so delectable they somehow compensate for the aural discomfort.
There’s also Super Bock beer, a Portuguese brand, whose classic edition is malty good.
Mario’s Kitchen, operated by the Gweilo group, is an offshoot of the popular Mario’s restaurant. The “kitchen” puts a different spin to the famed Mario’s Spanish cuisine but retains its roots.
Mario’s Kitchen has three branches: Unit 1 Marmico Bldg., 223 Katipunan Ave., Proj. 4, QC (tel. 0915-6956200); G/F, F and M Lopez Bldg. 2, 109 Carlos Palanca St. Makati (tel. 8462430); and The Exchange Regency Hotel, Exchange Road cor. Jade Drive, Barangay San Antonio, Pasig (tel. 4253695)
A new bar called Mow’s, at the basement of Kowloon House on Matalino Street in Quezon City, is receptive to young indie bands performing its own songs.
One such band, Cygnet, sounds very confident playing a soul-blues-funk mix. Composed of lead singer/guitarist Mavi Lozano, lead guitarist John Hiro, bassist Josh Tulagan and drummer Russel Andres, this group deserves a good break.
The San Miguel Pale Pilsen at Mow’s is so cheap at P41 that a budget of P500 is good enough to even buy you siomai and other dimsum at Kowloon.
Mow’s, Matalino Street, Quezon City