10 Poblacion Makati Spots Where You Can Eat, Drink, And Be Merry
While it was the infamous Burgos red light district that put it on the map, Poblacion Makati has definitely come a long way from its seedy beginnings. Those who frequent the area have nicknamed it “Williamsburgos,” after Brooklyn’s hipster capital. A fitting name, considering the outcropping of establishments that cater to all manner of hipster proclivities: latte art, jukebox music, multicultural cuisine, locally brewed craft beer, and everything in-between.
On any given night, be ready for run-ins with a rice cake vendor blasting Pinoy hip-hop from his rundown cart, backpackers on a bender, the odd red light butterfly who will ask for a cigarette, and tipsy ad agency yuppies who will engage you in an in-depth discussion of the artistic value of porn. All this, to the tune of ’90s rock, jazz, or world music, mixed with the inebriated laughter of your new friends, the Poblacion crowd—what more can you ask for in a neighborhood?
So whether you’re on a mission to violently assassinate your diet, drown yourself in booze, or simply enjoy a night out that’s different from the see-and-be-seen scene, here are some of the places you should hit up in the neighborhood where all these things are possible:
1Crying Tiger Street Kitchen
If you’re in the mood for Southeast Asian street food, this is the place to go. They’ve got a menu that will take you all over the region, from Malaysia to Singapore to Thailand, through dishes like Satay, Mee Goreng, and Pad See Ew (which we highly recommend). Overall, the place is chatty and vibrant and is a good place to enjoy a rolling conversation with friends.
Crying Tiger Street Kitchen
Guanzon Street, Poblacion Makati
Open daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and up to 3 a.m. on weekends
No Poblacion Makati guide would be complete without this Mexican dive bar, which has been serving up cheap beer and street tacos even before the ‘hood earned its Williamsburgos rep. A Poblacion institution, El Chupacabra used to be just a small canteen but has since expanded to include more seating and a secret upstairs room, which just goes to show how much people love it here. When you go, order the grilled chicken skewers (put in your order early because it takes a while!). All at once juicy and smoky, these babies go best with a cold beer. Also, El Chupacabra has been known to celebrate their anniversary and Cinco de Mayo by offering Cuba Libres and Margaritas for the cost of spare change (as in less than 10 PHP), so be sure to follow them on social media and stay updated.
Felipe Street, Poblacion Makati
Open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12 m.n.
As its name suggests, Tambai (a play on the Filipino word tambay, which means “to hang out”) is the perfect place for a chill drinking session, with seats right on the street and a selection of yakitori for sustenance. At Tambai, it feels almost like you’re drinking out of your friend’s garage, and the easy vibe and smallness of the space makes it almost inevitable for one group to befriend the next. If there’s any place you can go to where you’re almost 100 percent sure to meet new people, this is it.
Felipe St. Poblacion, Makati
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 12 m.n.
4Commune Café + Bar
While Poblacion Makati is a great place to mix and mingle, it is also very introvert-friendly, with little nooks and crannies where you can wind down with a strong cup of coffee and a good book. One of these places is Commune. Its cozy interiors will make you want to stay all day, while the selection of brews will satisfy any budding coffee enthusiast. Not to mention, they do pretty rad latte art, so every cup is as pretty as it is delicious. Aside from the coffee, try the Cookie Shot, a shot-glass shaped cookie, filled with your choice of milk or Carmen’s Best ice cream. It’s a mini indulgence you won’t regret taking.
Commune Cafe + Bar
Polaris cor. Durban Streets, Poblacion, Makati
Open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 m.n., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
5Bean & Yolk
Its industrial interiors are very on-trend, making it every hip young person’s Instagram dream. The main attraction is, of course, the menu. As the name suggests, they specialize in coffee and eggs, so it’s basically heaven for anyone who loves breakfast food. Also, it’s located on the quieter side of Poblacion Makati, so it’s ideal for a casual but intimate coffee date.
Bean & Yolk
Bel Air Soho Suites, Polaris St., Poblacion, Makati
Open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
6Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli
Your Pinoy pride will definitely swell once you step into Alamat, where the bar takes the form of a tiny jeepney, and the drinks menu includes a variety of locally brewed craft beer as well as cocktails with distinctly Filipino flavors such as Salabat and Sago’t Gulaman. Even the bar chow represents the different provinces in our archipelago, with several heirloom dishes from Filipino tribes, as well as a variety of longganisa (sausages) from Cebu, Vigan, and Alaminos. Along with Alamat’s woody interiors bedecked in capiz lights and “Craft Beer For The People” spelled out in neon lights behind the bar, you’ll feel like a revolutionary with every swig and bite.
Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli
Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati
Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays, and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
Located right along Burgos Street where the red light district is located, this diner provides a quirky escape from all the red light bustle. It’s dressed up in the style of a ‘50s diner and comes with a vintage jukebox ready that plays your favorite lola tunes. For that alone, it’s worth the visit, but the food itself is rather good too. The Presley’s Pasta (shell pasta in white sauce and veggies), the chocolate cake, or the chocolate milkshake are must-tries.
P. Burgos Street, Poblacion, Makati
8A’ Toda Madre
You may think you’ve outgrown tequila, but not until you visit A’Toda Madre. At this bar, tequila is more than just that drink that has resulted in 90 percent of your walks of shame and 99.5 percent of your nasty hangovers. With 105 varieties of tequila, and a tequila expert behind the bar, this place will make you realize that this notorious drink is in fact as distinguished and nuanced as wine. There are no body shots to be had here. At A’Toda Madre, tequila is sipped slowly and enjoyed with food. Who would’ve thought tequila could be so sophisticated?
A’ Toda Madre
Sunette Tower, Durban St. cor. Makati Ave., Poblacion, Makati
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
One of the new kids on the Poblacion Makati block, Bar Mathilde’s intimate, jungalow-style interiors, classy comfort food, creative cocktails, and the overall air of laid-back elegance add yet another dimension to the neighborhood’s multi-faceted nighttime scene. It’s the perfect setting for an intimate dinner date or any hangout where endless conversations are to be expected. Their brick-oven pizza has earned a lot of raves already, so be sure to try it!
Kalayaan Avenue cor. Mathilde st., Poblacion, Makati
Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
As the first Costa Rican reggae lounge in Poblacion Makati—and maybe even the entire Metro Manila—Pura Vida is definitely one-of-a-kind. Here you can get to know the obscure (Costa Rican cuisine) while enjoying the familiar (cold beers), all to the tune of reggae music that will keep you in a bright, head-bobbing mood all night.
Don Pedro St., Poblacion, Makati
Open daily, from 4:20 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Mondays to Saturdays, and 4:20 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays
Right in the heart of the red light district, this bar may be rather seamy, but that’s only part of the experience. Ringside’s big draw is midget boxing, and if it sounds bizarre and politically incorrect, that’s only because it is—but it is also rather entertaining. If you’re lucky, you may even get the chance to referee a match, which is something you probably never thought you could do in your lifetime.
P. Burgos St. Poblacion, Makati
Open daily from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.
It may take one or several visits to check out all these places, and even when you’ve hit them all, there’s still so much to explore in Poblacion Makati. Which is just as well. The more you get to know this eccentric little area, every visit will make this ‘hood feel more and more like home.