For men and women of a certain age, it’s difficult to find a bar where you can down a few drinks, nibble on good food, hear each other while pleasant background music plays. But there is such a place.
It doesn’t mean it’s not a place for the young. But since the youth have a different time frame, we of a certain age will be gone when the young arrive.
Time frame is important at 20:20 in Makati. The parking area at its Chino Roces Avenue entrance is available only after office hours.
Tapas is standard fare in most bars, but at 20:20, the choices go beyond a bowl of peanuts or a plate of olives. Proper tapas is a perfect repast for those who want to eat a little but taste a lot, what my age group would call pica-pica. And tapas usually implies appetizers of the Spanish kind.
And so a tortilla de patata con tomate made its appearance, two wedges with a splash of aioli. What can be more welcoming than croquetas con jamon which the bar makes big enough?
The piquillo pepper stuffed with goat cheese may look dainty but is big on flavor. The shrimps for the gambas al ajillo are not puny like some restaurants and bars are wont to serve, but medium size and fresh.
There are empanaditas as well if you want your fill of carbs. The chorizo con vino is so rich, you’d want to temper it with some plain bread.
Again, time frame is a factor in this bar. From 7 to 10 p.m., Wednesdays to Saturdays, all the tapas are priced at P100 each. At that price you can have your fill and forget dinner.
But then 20:20 wanted to show off some orders beyond the tapas, in a section labeled “Provisions.”
The hamburger should be a carnivore’s delight—tall and big, at least to me. Chicken wings can come coated in Jamaican spices with mango salsa sauce, or even hotter with the the Portuguese-African piri sauce with chimichurri.
The tacos have a filling of pork belly confit with chorizo.
The chicken wing cracklings served with buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese are really sinful.
There are two kinds of pizza, one topped with shrimps and curry sauce, and the other, Cajun sausages with a white barbecue sauce made with horseradish.
The seafood selection includes fish ceviche, grilled or fresh oysters, or mussels stewed in wine and beer.
But my choice is the popcorn, one served with crumbled manchego and chorizo, and the other, sweetened with caramel and topped with nuts like macadamia, pistachio and almonds. They are light and flavorful and contain all my favorite food groups. It gives a happy note to the occasion—a drink, repast and repartee with friends.
I haven’t mentioned the ambience. It’s a signal to my friends that I like the food. Well, it is a bar, not too dark that you can’t see your feet or your companions. The wall paintings give the impression of a perpetual Halloween with its ghost and skeleton figures.
The main bar area is, of course, the center of the place, but you can sit around tables which are really more comfortable. And like any bar, there is a myriad of drink choices. I know my friends and I stick to the basic beer and good wines.
Our cocktail choices are what one can expect of people of a certain age, old fashioned—gin and tonic, vodka tonic—nothing sweet.
When we were leaving, the DJ was just warming up for the younger crowd expected in the late hours. There is also a club adjacent with another entrance, but that wasn’t within our time frame. 20:20 is open only from Wednesday to Saturday.
20:20 is at La Fuerza Plaza 1, 2241 Chino Roces Ave., Makati.