This lounge in The Peninsula Manila is inspired by the fictitious Madame Ning, a 1930s Shanghai socialite who hops around the globe, frequently bringing her finds back home. Her worldly tastes reveal themselves in the bar’s décor, from the deep-red door with handles made of carved carabao (water buffalo) horn; to upside-down parasol chandeliers; to the Shoe Room where glass cabinets house 240 pairs; to a fantastical section that recreates the silver, gadget-lined interior of a Zeppelin airship. Try the signature Ning Sling, a fruity mix of Belvedere orange vodka, lychee liqueur, passion fruit purée and orange juice.
Open for less than a year in the emerging neighbourhood of Poblacion, Makati, this bar unfurls over two levels of a former house, the original façade still visible out front. Interiors on the ground floor are hip yet welcoming, while upstairs is a lush terrace stacked with planters – a retreat from the gridlock of Manila. For drinks, expect plenty of tipples anchored by gin.
3. Bank Bar
The entrance to this speakeasy in Bonifacio Global City is unorthodox and unforgettable; but we won’t ruin the surprise. Once inside, the scene oozes glamour: high ceilings, plush upholstery and grand mirrors create an atmosphere that’s part loft, part storied cathedral. The spirits selection is impressive, as are the trolleys laden with small-batch craft cocktails.
A hidden entry via an antique lift shaft leads drinkers to this bar, whose name stands for Alcohol by Volume. The watering hole recreates a 1920s American speakeasy, with dim lighting and chequered floors, plus leather bar stools and banquettes. Order from an extensive menu that features beloved classics such as Negronis as well as avant-garde takes on favourites.
5. The Curator
The only bar in the Philippines to feature on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, this coffee shop by day leads to a small bar out back by night. With a capacity of 32 patrons, it doesn’t serve beer or wine; the drinks menu of classics (and clever riffs on those) is curated by flavour, helping customers to choose the concoction that matches their character.
Singapore Airlines flies direct to Manila four times daily. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine