Get your groove on at these 4 Manila jazz bars

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Manila Jazz Bar

Feeling the blues? There’s no better way to unwind than topping your night off—and tapping your toes—at these Manila jazz bars



We’re no strangers to foreign musical influences and even less to making them our own. The same can be said about the origins of jazz in Manila.

The first recorded Filipino community in the United States settled in New Orleans, the home of jazz. However, the genre’s earliest forms were nurtured by African-American troops who were transferred under Emilio Aguinaldo’s wing during the Spanish-American War.

Immediately loved and adopted by the local community, jazz in the Philippines flourished to heights similar to its golden age in the United States. Filipino musicians borrowed foreign jazz songs and composed new ones inspired by European performers, including the works of renowned instrumentalist Federico Elizalde. However, it wasn’t until Filipino composer Angel Peña created the first local jazz composition, “Bagbagtulambing” (Igorot Rhapsody), that sprouted the Philippine jazz identity.

Today, modern pop influences the resurgence of jazz, justifiably piquing the interest of the youth. After the pandemic threatened all kinds of establishments, it’s a relief that the local jazz scene remains alive and well. They are nestled within their own corners around Manila, you just have to know where to look. Here are some of the best Manila jazz bars. 


Tago Jazz Cafe

Tago Jazz Cafe Manila jazz bars
Open jam night at Tago Jazz Cafe. Photo: Ashley Valderrama

Neither is Tago Jazz Cafe a, well, cafe nor is it a typical bar; it is more a sanctuary that has proven its dedication to honor Philippine jazz. The small space may be a cause for concern but all doubt dissipates as you step inside this intimate vessel of magic. Standing since 2012, this classic jazz joint continues to place its guests in a state of reverie. Tago is a gateway ticket to the heart of jazz in the country, welcoming guests from Fridays to open jam Sundays.

Tago Jazz Cafe is located at 14 Main Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila.

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78-45-33 Manila jazz bars
The exterior of 78-45-33. Photo 78salcedo

A combination of both live jamming and record playing, 78-45-33 is a testament to musical versatility. The classy yet cozy spot is conveniently open daily from 4 p.m. onwards. Surely a place to drop by if you’re in the mood for a night full of tapping, nodding, swinging, and swaying.

78-45-33 is located on the ground floor (rear) of 44, LPL Mansions, San Agustin St, Makati.


The Backdoor

Manila jazz bars The Backdoor
Project Yazz performing at The Backdoor. Photo: Ashley Valderrama

A hidden gem located in a sequestered space along Maginhawa, The Backdoor holds midweek jazz nights on Wednesdays and occasional blues nights on Saturdays. For those looking to decompress after grabbing a bite along the food junctions of Maginhawa, this is the perfect hang for a jam or two or three.

The Backdoor is located at 154 Maginhawa, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, 1101 Kalakhang Maynila

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Mono by Phono

Manila jazz bars Mono by Phono

Sound session at Mono by Phono. Photo: Mono by Phono

Mono by Phono generously holds themed nights—jazz included—as its DJs spin wistful tunes. Some days, they encourage guests to bring their own vinyl, too. Call it the city’s own snazzy listening bar. 

Mono by Phono is located at 9654 Pililia St, Makati, 1207 Metro Manila

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