Shake the stress away and bring on the booze! Find out the best way to experience the Manila nightlife.
Metro Manila, a global city, is not only teeming a youthful workforce and after-hours traffic. It’s also a fertile ground for the partyphiles.
The ways to spend the night here are as vast as the entire population. Each city in the metro has a unique personality that caters to various preferences. You’ll find them all when you do a Manila city tour, but you gotta know where to look.
Contrary to popular belief, there is more to Manila nightlife than just red light districts and adult entertainment. But let’s face it, the country is also famous for its beautiful women, that’s why I won’t hesitate including them here! Wherever you are in the Philippines, you’re sure to find one that suits your taste.
We now zoom in to Manila, the capital city:
Where to find Manila Nightlife
Often just a short ride away from the airport, hotels, malls, and major roads, you’ll find the Manila nightlife clustered together. Partying here tends to be more expensive, however, because of its proximity to business districts where the cost of living is much higher. But you’re sure to get many ideas on how to spend the night.
Makati City and Taguig City are central business districts where much of the workforce is concentrated. In Makati, you can find the superclubs and the classy pubs. Just pass along Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue, and Pasong Tamo to see what you like. Meanwhile, the budding nightlife scene in Taguig can be found in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and The Fort.
Though nightlife in Makati and Taguig can get quite pricey (cocktails costing $5-6), these two cities are great places to enjoy the upscale clubbing experience. Most of the crowd here is composed of young professionals unwinding after a stressful week at work.
Manila City nightlife is a rather old-fashioned destination to go to, reminiscent of the glory days of the capital city. From Remedios Circle going towards Nakpil Road, there is a cultural mix of modern and traditional Filipino lifestyle.
Malate, Ermita, and Baclaran are known for cheaper pubs and bars, as well as adult entertainment. Go-go bars where scantily-clad girls dance onstage and visit guest tables can be found here. As such, majority of the crowds consist of older local and foreign men.
If you want to get a taste of Manila without the bar girls, you can go for a relaxing stroll and visit the bars near Roxas Boulevard. Tipped by a Manila-dwelling friend, you can also find a revival of the city’s nightlife in Escolta and Intramuros.
Quezon City is where you can enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere away from the capital city and the business districts. Entire streets in certain parts of the city are lined up with a combo of restaurants, bars, and pubs.
QC is the place to run into local celebrities, because this is where the country’s major television stations are. You can also find students from the nearby universities enjoying the night with their friends. Notable go-to places for nightlife are Tomas Morato and Eastwood.
Meanwhile, Quezon Avenue is the place for adult entertainment and even street prostitution. Here’s an interesting fact: male hookers can be found in the QC Circle, and females are at Quezon Avenue. To tell them apart, just ask them what time it is. If they respond in a weird way, like saying it’s 8 AM at close to midnight, it’s a green light (My undergrad was sociology btw!).
Being nearest to the international airport, you can find massive malls here where you can dine at fancy restaurants, watch concerts and plays, and try the Filipinos’ favorite pastime – shopping!
What You’ll Find in the Manila Nightlife Scene
Manila nightlife caters to your fancy. Are you the low-key pub drinker or the chronic party-goer? Do you rock out in alternative music or get loose in trance tunes? Or would you rather be the one behind the microphone?
Here are your choices:
Music Bars. This is where you can watch live performances from local bands. Younger crowds often hang out in hip bars featuring indie bands, where vintage items and art galleries go hand in hand. Sometimes, there are also “spoken word” poetry in selected restaurants or house basements. By nature, of course, the locations of these places are not disclosed unless you do deeper research about the community.
Quezon City is the place to find these hipster joints. Meanwhile, an older crowd, ranging from young professionals to businessmen, often hang out in music bars within the central business districts such as Makati and Taguig. You’ll find a variety of genres here, such as jazz, reggae, rock, and indie.
KTV. Karaoke singing is a must-try in the Philippines. As such, KTV Bars are found anywhere in the city where students, young professionals, and families usually celebrate or unwind. Don’t worry if you’re practically tone deaf. Filipinos will applaud for effort and confidence!
With KTV, groups of people typically reserve an entire room packaged with food and drinks. So it might be best to know friends beforehand. Although, another way to try the karaoke for the adult entertainment experience are girlie KTV bars. You can expect instant company there!
Food Parks. One of the budding places to enjoy the night in the city are the night markets and food parks! These offer an alternative dining experience from the malls and restaurants, and are particularly popular among the youth.
Often held outdoors in large tents, these food bazaars, night markets, and food parks are found along eat streets, in parking lots, and empty lots next to buildings. They feature a variety of stalls of different food choices. In night markets, you’ll often find cheap grilled street food and other local delicacies. In food parks, you’ll find more expensive and fancy choices of drinks and Instagrammable desserts.
Casinos. A growing form of entertainment in the Philippines is in the gaming industry. In fact, an entire highway that leads to amusement and gaming centers are being constructed from right outside the airport!
You can find various resort-hotels with casinos on the ground floor in Pasay and Parañaque. The crowd is usually composed of families and businesspeople leisurely trying their luck at slot machines, card games, and table games.
Sports Bars. This is the sports enthusiasts’ dugout. It’s the ultimate place to convene around great food, cold beer, and wide-screen TVs playing live sports footage.
Basketball and boxing are particularly popular in the Philippines. As such, you might want to brush up on your knowledge about Manny Pacquiao and Gilas Pilipinas. But you can find other team sports fans here too!
Dance Clubs. Partying in the Philippines won’t be complete with exclusive access to dance floors, the best DJs, and sophisticated club vibes. There is a handful of clubs in the business districts of Makati and Taguig. Be sure to dress to impress because you’ll find the hottest ladies and gentlemen in this Manila nightlife scene!
How to Meet People in Manila
Knowing where to go is just the first step to experience nightlife in Manila. If you’re looking to enjoy the rest of your nights here, be sure to make friends with the locals and talk to strangers.
Thanks to social networking sites which Filipinos are active in, meeting locals have never been more easy. Soon, you’ll find the right people to hang out with. Here are some suggestions:
Join Facebook travel communities. There is a handful of travel groups that cater to foreigners traveling together, backpackers, expats and more. Just about any form of travel is nurtured in these FB groups! So search for them, click join, and don’t be shy to introduce yourself. You’ll be surprised that a lot of people will actually want to show you around and give you tips about the Manila nightlife.
Meet the local Couchsurfers. Visit the Couchsurfing website and their subsequent Facebook pages are events (there is one for Manila and Quezon City). You’ll find meet-ups that you might want to join in. You can also take the initiative to invite people over beer, or attend the Thirstday events held weekly in Makati!
Search online for upcoming events. There are many pop culture blogs and websites that list down the latest happenings and offerings in the Manila nightlife. Examples of these are Spot.PH, Click the City, and WheninManila.
Use dating apps. You’ll be surprised that apps and websites such as Tinder can also be used for travel. Talk to people, set up a date in the nearest Manila nightlife you wanna see, and get to know more than just your date.
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