Caught in the bottleneck that is Edsa in heavy rains during the evening rush hour? Don’t have a cardiac; make a detour instead to the nearest bar for a drink or two to allow traffic to thin out before hitting the road again.
Here are your best choices for a refuge from the dreaded Edsa crawl that—at P500 to P1,000 for two people—won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Quezon City area
Historia’s (5 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue; tel. 3766520); ample space includes a main area for live gigs by contemporary artists, and a separate room for more privacy and less noise, but which still allows you to see the action onstage.
The old bungalow that was converted into My Bro’s Mustache (68 Scout Tuason corner Scout Madriñan) has been torn down to house a brand-new but still intimate folk-house setting. The live gigs feature classic and contemporary folk, rock and blues acts.
and 4. While Gerry’s Grill and La Vie Parisienne do not offer live performances, their respective menus are enough to give you a satisfying good time. Gerry’s (Morato corner Eugenio Lopez Street; tel. 4159514) is widely known for its grilled seafood and meats that go well with ice-cold beer. La Vie Parisienne (Hotel Rembrandt, Morato Avenue; tel. 0906-3063714), meanwhile, is a cozy place to enjoy wine and cheese.
Crossing Edsa from Timog to East Avenue will lead you to Matalino Street where stands the venerable Trellis (Matalino Street corner Kalayaan; tel. 9241057)—a favorite hangout since the 1980s and which still offers its famous sisig to go with beer.
Near Trellis is another institution, Kowloon (20 Matalino; tel. 9286851) where beer is available, along with its standard siopao and noodles, 24 hours a day.
Turn right to Kalayaan and you’ll find Jay-J’s (121 Kalayaan Avenue; tel. 9901148), a restaurant that serves good barbecue and other grilled items.
In the Ortigas area is the newly opened Sapphire Bloc (Sapphire Road), a restaurant complex that includes a branch of Cable Car where beer is served in regular and pint glasses.
There are also lots of options at Metrowalk (Meralco Avenue) whose center courtyard hosts free live gigs.
At the back of the old Edsa Central in Mandaluyong is a newly developed bar-restaurant row, where stands Primos (The Hub, Mayflower Street Greenfield District)—a nice place with a superb sound system for its live music performances.
Crossing Edsa on the other side of Mandaluyong on Shaw Boulevard is Bunk (8th floor, Jovan Building, Shaw Boulevard)—an open-air bar at the rooftop of an old building. Beer is cheap at P50.
Burgos area of Makati are three cool drinking joints: Filling Station, El Chupacabra, and H&J.
Filling Station (5012 P. Burgos; tel. 8972053) is a 24-hour American diner that serves tasty burgers and ice-cold beer.
El Chupacabra (5782 Felipe; tel. 8951919), a Mexican-style “cantina” that boasts a popular menu of tacos, burritos and enchiladas, though its bestsellers are lean pork sisig and barbecue. Cheap beer at P55.
Directly across El Chupacabra is H&J (Villa Building, 5781 Felipe Street; tel. 9541130), formerly called Heckle and Jeckle, whose crowd is composed mostly of foreign tourists who like to play billiards or watch sports programs. Its bar has a wide selection of beer, wine and liquor.
Now this is quite far from Edsa, but if you find yourself near the Sucat side of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), don’t miss 19 East (Km. 19, East Service Road, Sucat; tel. 8376903)—perhaps the best drinking destination of them all because of its spacious area consisting of a music hall that showcases some of the most popular and upcoming Filipino bands, a garden, and a second-floor deck that overlooks Laguna de Bay.