Shaking Up The Manila Nightlife

Sampling the best of Singapore nightlife in Poblacion through SingaPob 2023 Pub Crawl.

There is a certain comfort and continuity in going out to a bar with your friends and ordering your favorite drink while basking in the Manila nightlife. But once in a while there comes a time to shake things up and try something new . 

And thankfully, an opportunity to do that just came to Manila. 

The Spirits Library at the heart of Manila nightlife
Starting the night at The Spirits Library / Photo by the author


The SingaPob Pub Crawl is a unique initiative of the Singapore Tourism Board, designed to shake up Manila’s nightlife with a two-weekend bar takeover, with some of Singapore’s world-class watering holes taking up residence in Makati’s most happening neighborhood: the ever-evolving and forever fun-loving scene of Poblacion. 

Inside The Spirits Library celebrating the Manila nightlife
The Spirits Library / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

For two weekends this August, carefully selected hotspots in Poblacion play host to some of Asia’s best bartenders. They will not only be plying their home bar’s signature drinks, but will also be collaborating with their local hosts in creating exciting new cocktails that aim to be a true fusion of the best of both Manila and Singapore. 

Ruby Liu Singapore Tourism Board Area Director
Singapore Tourism Board Area Director, Ruby Liu / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

READ ALSO: Taste Outside The Box: Four Unique Luxury Dining Experiences Around The World

Embark on an upscale urban adventure of alcoholic delights as you traverse the coolest clubs serving the hottest drinks in town, on a pub crawl like no other!

The red SG sign shows how alive the nightlife is in Manila
The red SG sign shows you the way / Photo by the author


Now just like on any night out, one must have a plan, and if you want to make the most of this epic experience. Here are a few pointers you may find useful on the SingPob Pub Crawl:

  1. Start the night out with a bar you are familiar with and comfortable going to. It’s always best to start things off on the good foot.
  2. Set either a maximum time limit or a specific number of drinks per bar. That way, you’ll be able to make it to the next one, and take in the entire crawl as one experience. Think of it as actively participating in the scene, instead of just passively hanging out. 
  3. Depending on which bar you choose to start with, chart your course for the night, and do not stray from the path you’ve chosen. This way, even after a few drinks, you’ll still have a plan in hand. 

REPUBLIC BAR SG at The Spirits Library (4963 Guerrero Street)

The Spirits Library is already quite legendary, known for their own unique cocktails, a thriving jazz and blues music scene, and for you vinyl afficionados, there’s even a record store on the first floor that also doubles as a really comfortable lounge. The main feature in this hot spot is the bar itself, boasting a huge collection of premium bottles that make up the whole back wall, cleverly placed on a two-storey bookshelf, complete with a ladder for access. 

Republic Bar SG’s Karina Lugtu whips up the Discotheque / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

The collab drink I started out with was the Discotheque, a frothy concoction comprised of Johnny Walker Black Label, cold brew coffee, pandan, and kaya foam. Perfect choice to start the evening with, giving me a good buzz and a strong kick.

SMOKE & MIRRORS SG at Run Rabbit Run (4991 P. Guanzon)

Run Rabbit Run possesses a contradictory nature because despite the name, the whole vibe of the place just makes you want to park on their plushy armchairs or classic barstools and see just how deep the rabbithole goes. Quite cozy and with a clever use of their space, one can almost imagine that this is where the Mad Hatter comes to hang up his hat and relax. 

The Katong Lasa is a bright and refreshing drink reminding one of the beach
The Katong Lasa proved to be refreshing and bright, bringing up the feeling that I was on a beach somewhere / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

The collab drink I tried was called the Katong Lasa, which proved to be refreshing and bright, bringing up the feeling that I was on a beach somewhere, hanging out with a blue caterpillar smoking a hookah. 

NUTMEG & CLOVE SG at Bar 55 (5903 Matilde)

Bar 55 is off the beaten track, away from the maddening crowd, and is the farthest walk on this pub crawl. But it certainly was worth all those extra steps. Tucked into a side street and having an unassuming frontage, entering the bar itself felt like stepping through a portal and being transported into quite a happening scene. Great music punctuated by the buzz of multiple pockets of conversation gave it an air of excitement as soon as you walked in, with the decidedly understated décor making one feel that great ideas were being hatched in this room. 

The SG@55 collar drink at the SingPob Pub Crawl in Manila
The SG@55 collab drink was lean and deceptively mean, with an edible mashup of both the Singpore and Philippine flags sitting on a layer of perfect foam / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

LAST WORD SG at OTO (5883 Enriquez)

The first thing that will catch your eye as you approach OTO is the clear window fronting the street, and the collection of vinyl records cleverly stored on their shelves. This is obviously a music lover’s place, which is apparent by their DJ booth taking up the prime spot inside the bar. It has a definite industrial vibe, which makes you feel as if you were hanging out inside a bunker, ready to ride out the apocalypse in style. 

The Disco Cosmo
Giap of Last Word SG serving their signature cocktail
Giap of Last Word SG, serving up their signature drink named after their bar, a killer take on a classic cocktail, made up of Tanqueray Gin No. 10, green chartreuse, maraschino liquor and lime, with the cherry on top infused with cognac, which topped off the bitters nicely with a sweet finish / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

SUGARHALL SG at Buccaneers Rum & Kitchen (5668 Don Pedro)

Buccaneers needs no explanation; as soon as you walk in, you know you’re in for a treat. Designed and outfitted like a 17th century sailing ship, and boasting an extensive collection of the best rum from all over the world, you’ll be drinking and swearing like a pirate in no time at all. One of the clearest and most thorough design concepts in all of Poblacion, you immediately get the vibe that in this space, absolutely anything can happen. 

Matamis Manis Colada is a wicked smoothie with ube cream liqueur, coconut, mango, and a healthy dose of Don Papa Rum
My favorite of the night: The Matamis Manis Colada / Photo by Belle Dinglasa

Their collab drink was my favorite of the night: The Matamis Manis Colada was a wicked smoothie with ube cream liqueur, coconut, mango, and a healthy dose of Don Papa Rum. A perfect reward for walking through the humid Makati streets. It was so good, I had two!


Your last chance to experience the SingaPob 2023 Pub Crawl is Saturday, August 26 from 8 P.M. to 11 P.M. There will be a whole new set of Singapore bars in residence; iconic bars like Sago House (at The Spirits Library), Tippling Club (at OTO), Night Hawk (at Run Rabbit Run), Employees Only Singapore (at Bar 55), The Elephant Room (at Banter & Jive), and Papa Doble (at Buccaneers) will be serving up their signature and collab drinks, and will certainly be upping the ante. 

Do yourself a favor: go out and get the best of both worlds. You might discover a new favorite drink, or even redefine your idea of a good time.  

Banner photo by Belle Dinglasa.

Shop for LIFESTYLE ASIA’S magazines through these platforms.
Download LIFESTYLE ASIA’s digital magazines from:
Subscribe via [email protected]